Announcing: Harper’s Law

by on May 23, 2007 · 6 comments

Mine is a simple – dumb, even – adaptation of Metcalfe’s Law.

“The security and privacy risks increase proportionally to the square of the number of users of the data.” – first quoted in this eWeek article about the electronic employment verification system included in the current immigration bill.

I actually suspect that Briscoe’s et al’s refinement of Metcalfe’s law is more accurate, but that’s just so complicated.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Some people have to over-complicate everything. The only thing that matters is that the larger the network, the greater its value to its users. We can never say whether the value increases quadratically or linearly or by leaps and bounds, nor to we need to. The larger the network, the greater its value. Value breeds like bunnies.

    Similarly, the larger the number of eyes on a database, the greater the risk of abuse. we already have a federal new-hire registry for child support enforcement, and it’s already been co-opted for other purposes. Once you invite the government into your house, it never leaves. And it breeds like bunnies.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Some people have to over-complicate everything. The only thing that matters is that the larger the network, the greater its value to its users. We can never say whether the value increases quadratically or linearly or by leaps and bounds, nor to we need to. The larger the network, the greater its value. Value breeds like bunnies.

    Similarly, the larger the number of eyes on a database, the greater the risk of abuse. we already have a federal new-hire registry for child support enforcement, and it’s already been co-opted for other purposes. Once you invite the government into your house, it never leaves. And it breeds like bunnies.

  • george

    i am inquiring about court cases involving spying using psychic esp to obtain information. i believe that this is intellectual theft. i have looked and could not find any court documents pertaining to this. do you know where would be a good place to start thank you

  • george

    i am inquiring about court cases involving spying using psychic esp to obtain information. i believe that this is intellectual theft. i have looked and could not find any court documents pertaining to this. do you know where would be a good place to start thank you

  • Ryan

    Admiral Greer from Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, “The likelihood of a secret being blown is proportional to the square of the number of people who’re in on it.”

  • Ryan

    Admiral Greer from Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, “The likelihood of a secret being blown is proportional to the square of the number of people who’re in on it.”

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