Trading Privacy for Convenience
Ray Wang makes an important point about trust and our data:
This is the paradox. The companies contending to win our trust to manage our digital identities all seem to have complementary (or competing) business models that breach that trust by selling our data.
...and by turning it over to the government.
If the government demanded that we all carry tracking devices 24/7, we would rebel. Yet we all carry cell phones. If the government demanded that we deposit copies of all of our messages to each other with the police, we'd declare their actions unconstitutional. Yet we all use Gmail and Facebook messaging and SMS. If the government demanded that we give them access to all the photographs we take, and that we identify all of the people in them and tag them with locations, we'd refuse. Yet we do exactly that on Flickr and other sites.
Ray Ozzie is right when he said that we got what we asked for when we told the government we were scared and that they should do whatever they wanted to make us feel safer. But we also got what we asked for when we traded our privacy for convenience, trusting these corporations to look out for our best interests.
We're living in a world of feudal security. And if you watch Game of Thrones, you know that feudalism benefits the powerful -- at the expense of the peasants.
Last night, I was on All In with Chris Hayes (parts one and two). One of the things we talked about after the show was over is how technological solutions only work around the margins. That's not a cause for despair. Think about technological solutions to murder. Yes, they exist -- wearing a bullet-proof vest, for example -- but they're not really viable. The way we protect ourselves from murder is through laws. This is how we're also going to protect our privacy.
EDITED TO ADD (6/18): The Onion nailed it back in 2011.
Posted on June 13, 2013 at 4:06 PM • 32 Comments