This article was first published on @iotex - Medium
“Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is like saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” — Edward Snowden
“Alexa, tell me a joke” sends a shudder through the intergalactic transmission web. Amazon servers bank the speech-to-text snippet. The algorithm belches a response after feasting on a data buffet where the Library of Congress is hors d’oeuvres and 90 million dinner conversations is the Rib-eye. The chronic, bone-deep privacy invasion by always-on location tracking, always-listening smart speakers, and always-watching surveillance cameras is a cliche of modern life: Who cares? Knowledge is power, and a data shared is a joke or a health tip earned.
“Privacy,” the term, needs a makeover. Privacy is not a smoke-screen to protect pedophiles who dredge the internet’s most despicable depths. It’s a shield for the anorexic teenager assailed with ads for weight-loss pills that dump gasoline on her burning anxieties. Privacy is managing boundaries through control of personal data, handing you the keys to your mind’s gate — stormed by social media, online news, and increasingly, physical devices like Amazon’s Alexa, and smartwatches that are doubling as palm-sized shrinks.
If you accept that our every step or click is propelled by infinite inscrutable forces, then you know how easily humans are manipulated. When your cell-phone buzzes, does your hand plunge into your pocket before you register what’s happening? Embracing privacy is an act of humility; it’s the acknowledgment that targeted ads and notifications affect you in subtle ways that you may not understand or control. Privacy means self-control; it means setting mental boundaries. Let’s talk a little bit more about what that means in practice.
Brittany Kaiser is the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, the star of the Netflix documentary The Great Hack, and the Own Your ...
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