Post the Snowden affair we discovered just how much our governments were spying on us. We have heard about the iCloud leaks and various big companies who have had their databases hacked, so security is very much in the news. People are talking about using Tor to surf the net, and phones are being sold & developed on the basis that they are less susceptible to government spying. At the same time we have the threat posed by organisations like Isis and many reasonable people will think “We need to protect ourselves from these kind of threats.” In fact, I caught myself thinking something very similar the other day. Today I came across this video, from Glen Greenwald, which is one the TED talks.
He certainly makes a good case for resisting this kind of intrusion, but it also got me thinking. One of my main jobs is to facilitate meetings which are designed to find the best solution to serious problems. When there are strong leaders present people naturally tend to censor their opinions to avoid criticism and appearing stupid. Instead of sharing their insights or concerns, they will remain silent. However, the very purpose of meetings is (or at least should be) to mine the wisdom and collective knowledge of all present, so putting people in a place where they self-censor is self-defeating. Using an external facilitator is one way to help mitigate this risk. There are also various tools including modern technology that enables people to vote and input anonymously that can help counter this tendency.
We all know people who are ‘out spoken’, and that phrase tends to carry an implicit judgement, but it takes a brave man to just bluntly say what they think. Those opinions may or not be correct, but once in the open they can be explored and addressed and consensus built upon them.
I don’t want terrorists killing innocent people, but neither do I want to live in a country that changes itself into the kind of oppressive state we started resisting in order to protect me.