An article published by the New York Times addresses the possible outcomes of the announced changes in the US privacy legislation that allows a free sales of people’s Internet “life”, and advise to use TOR, VPN or similar tools to “protect the right to privacy”.
I actually think that the best privacy protection tool is to comply to what the latin poet Orazio said: Nescit vox missa reverti (Once you said something, it is useless to say “I didn’t want…”) Or, to put it short, “what you want to keep secret, don’t tell Google” 🙂
Kidding apart I think that the privacy hysteria led us much beyond any logic thinking.
Like a Pavlovian reflex, as soon as something is announced that might slightly interact with us, a rant shouts out: hey! This infringes my privacy!
Sure, Google and companies are snooping into our private lives, but it is every single of us that allow for that. Google (Facebook & C) are companies that seek for profit, and since there is no free lunch, somebody has to pay the bill (in terms of personal data.)
I don’t like this status quo but I have to face actuality: if we care about our privacy, we should start using these tools in a more aware way, by selecting what we want to share. We can’t throw our life into the wild and then complain that somebody else took it away.
So, privacy protection starts from ourselves.
Do we have a right not to be “blamed” for some specific interest or personal inclination (as soon as it isn’t criminal?) Absolutely. But the Internet it is not the only place where we can cultivate our personal interest. It is an oxymoron to call for privacy protection when we are withdrawing this right in the very moment we hit “search” on Google. I may dare to say that on the Internet, as in public spaces, there is no “reasonable privacy expectation”.
What scares me more is the State surveillance because in this case I have neither a technical nor a legal protection to enforce. I can avoid to give Facebook some information, and I don’t care if Amazon gives somebody else my shopping history (dind’t buy bombs or mass-murder weapons to be shipped to Middle East) but I can’t stop a spook to dig into my life.
So, “shouting fire” every time something goes remotely “personal” is the best way to pollute the notion and the value of privacy.