An Oversimplified but Necessary Case for Privacy

Our right to privacy is disappearing. Some practical, but necessary, ways to modernize privacy rights include:

· Improving private interfaces that protect identity and private details, similar to the ‘hide my email’ feature available when you sign in with your Apple account and using Public-key cryptography.

· Making sure that modern technology like natural language processing and biometric identification like Face ID can still be developed but ensuring a higher minimum standard of privacy. We can have both innovation and privacy, similar to how innovation will mean a world with targeted ads but without the excessive tracking of cookies.

· Demanding our government’s increase transparency about when and how it tracks citizens, for example with the help of contractors such as Palantir.

· Privacy that comes as second nature thanks to LAWS not the generosity of the one or two companies that are the anomaly for actually protecting your privacy. This type of privacy would work for our grandparents and the elderly without them having to know how or why. It simply ensures that our apps and websites get built with a layer of safety protecting our private details and ensuring virtual STOP signs 🛑 that are built into every apps/websites user interface by law. These would ensure people don’t fall into traps of scammers and that you only share your private information like websites you visit when you actually want to, and only when you want to.

· Laws preventing dictatorial-style rule by the non-elected executives of social networks and online marketplaces. Soon, virtual reality will become just as important, if not more important, than physical reality. We must make sure those we elect are still deciding what’s right and wrong in that world too.

· Accountability and transparency with how tools are built. Someone should be able to ask how and why something popped up on their feed, or search result, without social media or search companies shrugging and saying someone very smart built the algorithms a long time ago and they couldn’t tell us anyway because that’s the ‘secret sauce’ that makes them their money to start with.

Although we struggle to observe our loss of privacy, rest assured it is happening. Privacy rights make us feel safe at home with our families and insulated from the dangers of the world. This is taught to us at a very early age. The idea of continuous surveillance should remain in the world of horror movies. It is not only the CIA or NSA that is watching you. It is also foreign governments and all types of companies around the world. We are interconnected by ubiquitous technology, with or without our consent. There are plenty of examples of spyware that are used for ruthless purposes, like Pegasus.

We need to protect privacy rights and we do this by confronting the challenges and costs, but also by realizing the critical need for privacy. We must push our elected officials to support legislation that keeps companies accountable to a sensible baseline. We need to talk about it more. A modern approach must also work with modern technology. We don’t need to give up our privacy in order to have modern technology and comfort in our lives.

Sandworm hacking group’s repurposing of TV show “Mr. Robot” and an image created by the show’s hacking group