Plenary given at the 2022 Conference of the Society for Open, Reliable, and Transparent Ecology and Evolutionary Biology https://www.sortee.org/upcoming/ **Transparency is Surveillance** **11 July 1900-2030 UTC** **Abstract:** In her BBC Reith Lectures on Trust, Onora O’Neill offers a short, but biting, criticism of transparency. People think that trust and transparency go together but in reality, says O’Neill, they are deeply opposed. Transparency forces people to conceal their actual reasons for action and invent different ones for public consumption. Transparency forces deception. I work out the details of her argument and worsen her conclusion. The drive to transparency forces experts to explain their reasoning to non-experts. But expert reasons are, by their nature, often inaccessible to non-experts. So the demand for transparency can pressure experts to act only in those ways for which they can offer public justification. Transparency, it turns out, is a form of surveillance. By forcing reasoning into the explicit and public sphere, transparency roots out corruption — but it also inhibits the full application of expert skill, sensitivity, and subtle shared understandings. The difficulty here arises from the basic fact that human knowledge vastly outstrips any individual’s capacities. We need both trust and transparency, but they are in essential tension. This is a deep practical dilemma; it admits of no neat resolution, but only painful compromise.