We live in two worlds now: the natural one where we have bodies that obey the laws of gravity and space/time, and the virtual one where there is no gravity or distance (though there is time).
Rather than talk about that here, I’ll direct you instead to my TEDx talk on the topic, which I gave last month in Santa Barbara:
Next I visited the same topic with a collection of brilliant folk at the Ostrom Workshop on Smart Cities. Among those was Brett Frischmann, whose canonical work on infrastructure I covered here, and who in Re-Engineering Humanity (with Evan Selinger) explains exactly how giants in the digital infrastructure business are hacking the shit out of us—a topic I also visit in Engineers vs. Re-Engineering (my August editorial in Linux Journal).
Now also comes Bruce Schneier, with his perfectly titled book Click Here to Kill Everybody: and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World, which Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times sources in A Future Where Everything Becomes a Computer Is as Creepy as You Feared. Pull-quote: “In our government-can’t-do-anything-ever society, I don’t see any reining in of the corporate trends.”
In The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, a monumental work due out in January (and for which I’ve seen some advance galleys) Shoshana Zuboff makes both cases (and several more) at impressive length and depth.
Privacy plays in all of these. In reverse chronological order, here’s just some what I’ve out out there on the topic:
- The first two podcasts we’ve done so far at Linux Journal.
- Privacy = personal agency + respect by others for personal dignity (10 July 2018 in ProjectVRM)
- Let’s Make May 25th Privmas Day (16 May 2018)
- Privacy is still personal (4 May 2018 in Linux Journal)
- Privacy is personal. Let’s start there. (2 May 2018 in Customer Commons and in Medium)
- For privacy we need tech more than policy (2 April 2018)
- More thoughts on privacy (13 December 2015)
- Privacy is personal (2 July 2014 in Linux Journal)
- Thoughts on Privacy (31 August 2013)
What it comes down to is that we still pretty much naked in the virtual world, just like we were in the natural one before we invented clothing and shelter.
So that’s the challenge: to equip ourselves to live private and safe as well as public and endangered digital lives.
And I’m optimistic about our prospects.