...if attention as an idea is now part of the public domain, isn't its product also worth the same care? I see no reason why Google, or Microsoft, or Yahoo!, or Skype, or any hive mind just now being born doesn't have the right to mine the data they collect for their own economic purposes. But shouldn't that metadata, the gestures that we render as information flows through us, be recoverable, and if so, why can't it be mined by the user (or users) as an economic force just like the publicly-traded or private company? We are in the age of empowerment, where the power of the Church, of the emperor, of the nation state, of the town crier, of the fourth estate, of the talking box we call radio, is now equally in the hands of the individual.
[Updated 2:18 PST 7/14/05]