WHY PRIVACY MATTERS EVEN FOR LAWFUL PEOPLE
In previous post, we showed how to access to the data collected on your behalf. But, if OS provider gave access to their tracking methodology, this transparency doesn’t solve the problem, but merely underlines it. Here’s why privacy matters, even if you have nothing to hide.
As a good and lawful citizen you may not worry about your data being shared—after all, you have nothing to hide. In an excellent Ted Talk, Glenn Greenwald (1) explains that, in fact, you should care. Indeed you would never give the password of your email account to your best friend or give them the right to share it with an unknown third party. If you are not ready to do it with someone you know so closely, why would you willingly give it to thousands of unknown people? Privacy is important to you—you have curtains and locks in your house on rooms and bathrooms. For each individual, privacy is a personal inside, a medication cabinet, a space of total freedom where we can be ourselves.
In some case, your data can be used in less appropriate ways. Revealed by Buzzfeed, the threat from a recent Uber exec is the latest example: “Over dinner, [Michael] outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.”
Preventing tech company from abusing their power is a perfect example as to why privacy matters.
History has demonstrated individuals who don’t always adhere to the law accomplish progress for civilization. The US is full of those heroes from Andrew Jackson (7th President of the USA – 18th century) fighting against the “English legal government” to Mark Felt (Deep Throat, secret informant of the Watergate), to Martin Luther King. If government organizations have the ability to access all data of all individuals, they are more likely to limit and control activists, whistle blowers, and engaged citizens. This mass interception goes against the progress of civilization.
“Neither Side Is ‘Fundamentally Wrong’ in Privacy Debate”
As the Head of NSA said at Stanford University last month (1) “Neither side is ‘fundamentally wrong’ in privacy debate.” It is the mission of each state to guarantee security for citizens. And it is the duty of each citizen to contribute to the safety of all others, and therefore collaborate with state agencies. To do it in appropriate way, requests to access to information has to be regulated by a fair and lawful framework under specific laws. It is obvious for us. So what has changed? Why this debate is open?
The short answer? The Internet. Specifically, three disruptive factors, will continue to bend rules:
1. The Internet has brought data to a massive scale, unique to this time in history. Wearable gadgets, Internet of Things and the continued proliferation of connected devices will only increase this gigantic trend.
2. Private companies harvest the data now. Facebook, Apple, Google, AT&T, Akamai, Oracle… are the new sources of detailed and accurate information. They are the microphones, the cameras, the informants about each of us. De facto they become the mandatory partner for government agencies. In a more trivial version they are the new version of the intelligence service but at a massive scale.
3. The third disruptive evolution is on the innovation side “The day Department of Defense drove technical innovation for the US are way behind us” NSA Director Admiral Michael Roger admitted (2). If 30 years ago, Silicon Valley was seeded by military innovation, roles switched. For the first time innovation is not on the civil organization side. Private corporations are the most innovative across all platforms from wearable gadgets to space exploration.. From Proxdynamics’s drones to Space X’s rocket launcher to Chipset’s GPS software, or to iRobot company, private sectors are the leading forces of innovation.
We now need a new lawful framework to account for these massive shifts and continue to the protect citizens and states against criminal activity and infringements on their privacy and civil liberties.
– – – – – – –