3 responses to “The Near Future of Privacy

  1. Gayle Parker

    It is a bit hopeful to see entrepreneurs popping up to try to protect our privacy and to bank on the public being concerned enough to want to purchase their products. Like you Amy, I am skeptical because if government wants to access our information, I believe they will find a way. They of course have endless resources.

    The fact that many online companies are beginning to rely on this metadata for their own marketing enhancements is discouraging as well because their compliance to government data collection is serving their own purposes. Therein lies the deepest root of the problem. As long as we do not have a complete separation of government and the economy, there will not be a protection of individual rights, in particular, property rights. A marketing firm has the tools to invade your computer whenever it wants to try to influence you. That puts the consumer on the defensive and creates a scenario where the consumer must spend his time and money trying to control information flow in and out of his computer. Think about how many times a day we get “suggestions” in the form of email or web about what we want to read, watch, listen to or buy? How many times a day are we asked to give a “free” (at our times’ expense) online survey to help the business evaluate their success? Even if you close that survey, you have still had to take time to do it. That is a direct result of the distortion of a mixed economy. In a true capitalistic system, there would be no need for these invasive practices. Companies who tried to use them would likely not survive because consumers would find them too annoying, inconvenient and costly and would go elsewhere. When a website is purposefully trying to manipulate your keystrokes to sell their product by trying to trick you into clicking here or hiding good tools to save time in navigating a site, I believe that is a form of force and a violation of property rights. We should have the freedom to control our information flow in an efficient, non-invasive way.

    The general population are lazy and like suggestions rather than thinking about what movie to watch for example. That will be another barrier to the new privacy companies. Perhaps only thinking people are concerned about their own privacy and how many of us are there left?

    • The Forbes piece about AnchorFree said that they have customers from all over the world. I suspect that there are enough people, worldwide, to make services like this profitable. In addition, as you say, many people object to even private companies collecting their personal data. Something like AnchorFree should appeal to them as well. Time will tell, of course.

  2. Carine

    I am not as pessimistic as Gayle. There have always been bright minds to counter evil ones and I do not see why this should change in the near future. Look at how quickly technology has evolved in the past 10 years only. Yes, the NSA will probably end up breaking into new security programs, but programmers will create new ones. And the NSA might not always prevail but it will be a constant fight.

    You might be interested in these two articles if you haven’t seen them yet:
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-01-23/tor-anonymity-software-vs-dot-the-national-security-agency
    http://www.storyleak.com/tor-developer-fears-nsa-interception-amazon-purchase/

    Also we have to keep in mind that it is in their interest to keep us paranoid and in fear 😦

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