***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Maybe some of you will think I have been drinking the Kool Aid, but I think SNA will do more to restore than threaten democracy. Some of the discussion seeks to elevate the right to privacy or the right to assembly to a right to anonymity, which the constitution does not guarantee. On the one hand the literature on social capital has everyone worrying about the collapse of civic society, due to anonymity, and on the other we are concerned about surveillance of our PUBLIC activities. In the "good" old days, when communities were small and "strangers" were recognizable, SNA was done heuristically. SNA only tracks associations, and only those that are made "public" in some way. Of course as citizens of the world we must be more and more conscious of which of our activities are public and which are private, as that is changing. Our attention should be focused on those question: Is using a telephone to speak across boarders public? Is participating in a virtual discussion on troop deployments on the internet public? Nonetheless, tracking associations to uncover patterns dangerous to the community will allow us to be more not less free to safely engage in the type of relationships that can strengthen democracy. Can SNA be misused for nefarious purposes? Of course! Every technology has a downside. So? The problem is not the tool, it is the use or the user of the tool. Focusing on the tool misses the point completely. _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.