📑 What Does Privacy Really Mean Under Surveillance Capitalism?

Bookmarked What Does Privacy Really Mean Under Surveillance Capitalism? (lithub.com)

We are not witnessing the death of privacy. Even though privacy is in distress, we are in a better place now to defend it than we have been for the past decade. This is only the beginning of the fight to safeguard personal data in the digital age. Too much is at stake to let privacy wither—our very way of life is at risk. We need privacy to be able to protest anonymously, vote in secret, contact doctors, lawyers, and journalists in confidence, read whatever we are curious about; all these things and more make up the foundations of freedom and democracy.

In an extract from Privacy Is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data, Carissa Véliz talks about the importance of privacy and how it comes back to owning our own data.

Here discussion also includes an addition to the ‘data is‘ debate. Véliz makes the comparison with asbestos:

The surveillance economy is not only bad because it creates and enhances undesirable power asymmetries. It is also dangerous because it trades in a toxic substance. Personal data is the asbestos of the tech society. In many ways, asbestos is a wonderful material. It is a mineral that can be cheaply mined and is unusually durable and fire resistant. Unfortunately, in addition to being very practical, asbestos is also deadly. It causes cancer and other serious lung conditions, and there is no safe threshold for exposure.

Like asbestos, personal data can be mined cheaply. Much of it is the by-product of people interacting with tech. Like asbestos, personal data is useful. It can be sold, exchanged for privileges, and it can help predict the future. And like asbestos, personal data is toxic. It can poison individual lives, institutions, and societies.

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