Transparency seems to be the word of the decade. More and more, the public is demanding to know details about government salaries, anonymous charitable donors and anything else that was once deemed to be classified. While the benefits of transparency can’t be denied, some are saying that transparency is a double-edged sword which all too often sacrifices privacy and personal rights.
Then there is information overload. It’s largely accepted these days that it’s our right and responsibility to be inundated with massive amounts of information in our daily lives. In fact, I just Googled “information overload” and received over 10 million results. It would take me decades to read all of that. Add to that our email, voice mail and text messages and that’s enough to make anyone want to either take a technology vacation or succumb to technology addiction.
The internet remains an incredibly easy to access and easy to use medium for distributing useful data. And as more people view the internet as an open medium for communication, more openness is the result. However, we may be valuing transparency over other values. For example, knowing how much money a politician makes may not necessarily inspire citizens to improve politics. But it could very well cause them to become more cynical.