Three nuns and an Archbishop

Some of the most interesting meetings at Davos take place over dinner. These happen away from the Congress Centre, in the hotels scattered around this picturesque town. They are small informal events, usually with about 30 guests and three to five speakers with topics ranging from The Future of Entertainment and Preparing for a Pandemic to Leadership Lessons from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
This evening I was a speaker at a dinner entitled “What Was Privacy?” Alongside me were, among others, internet luminaries such as the A-list blogger Robert Scoble, Reid Hoffman, chairman and founder of the social networking site Linkedin, and the Archbishop of Dublin. Yes, that’s not a typo, it was the actual Archbishop of Dublin, who turned out to be remarkably well informed about a range of privacy issues.

A lively discussion ensued, moderated by the leading French blogger Loic Le Meur. The bloggers took a fairly strong “privacy is dead, get over it” line arguing that the benefits of exposing yourself online (literally in the case of Scoble’s pictures of himself in the shower) in terms of support from friends out there on the web, far outweigh the loss of privacy. I took a strong privacy position arguing that individuals must take control of their online identities.

Following debate over dinner at the five tables, we fed back our views. However, to bring it to life a bit the chap feeding back from the Archbishop’s table unaccountably kicked off his comments with the phrase “Let me tell you an anecdote about three nuns….”

Tom Ilube is chief executive of Garlik, who advise on security on the net

Davos blog 2009

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