Contrary to widespread belief, privacy is more than just personal identifying information, medical records, and personal communication.
Privacy, by our definition, includes any digital information you decide is worth keeping private.
As owners of digital property, just like physical property, we should have autonomy in determining who can use it, and who benefits from it.
How does privacy differ between the physical and digital world?
If a neighbor knocks on your door and you let them into your house, there is a mutual understanding of privacy and boundaries.
Though unspoken, you trust that they won’t go rummage through your stuff or steal anything. You also wouldn’t let them install a video camera in your living room to record what you say and do.
It’s easy to take this for granted because it’s encoded into the very structure of our physical and social structures, but this same trust is not encoded digitally.
In actuality, these boundaries are completely absent in the digital world.
Have you ever had a conversation about something, then seen an ad for whatever you were talking about appear on your phone? How’d they know?
Digital privacy (and property) deserves the same fundamental rights to protection as physical property.
And in an increasingly virtual world, our right to privacy in digital spaces is more at risk than ever.
By ensuring and enforcing digital ownership as privacy, we create a world in which people and businesses can thrive.
Information is currency. Your information belongs to you, and, therefore, is your currency. Without privacy, your information can be monetized by others without your consent.
What you don’t protect you have given away.
Information is being produced and collected at astronomical rates – smartphones, wearables, medical implants, etc. are interconnected mechanisms for data collection, at mass scale.
Much of the data that is currently stored about you is information you didn’t even know was collected.
Keep in mind –
If you aren’t paying for the product, chances are, you (your data) are the product.
Facebook, Amazon, Google and other major tech companies use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to guide (and manipulate) human behavior. In order for the AI/ML technologies to work, they need massive amounts of information – your information.
Your information is the driving force behind the algorithms that determine what news article you are most likely to click, what product you are most likely to buy, or what YouTube video you are most likely to watch.
When you click, buy or watch, those big tech companies gather that information and feed it back into the AI/ML system.
To put it plainly, your individual information is used to train machine learning systems which produce insights and actions to generate profits.
The exponential growth of captured data isn’t inherently problematic – but you should have a choice because it’s your information.
Maybe you don’t want big tech companies tracking your every move, reading your stuff and subtly influencing your behavior.
You shouldn’t have to exchange the harvesting of your personal data for the ability to interact with friends and family, make purchases, or watch a video.
Today, you do – because privacy and digital property rights were never part of the design of the apps and websites you likely use every day.
It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to stand up for privacy.
While it’s easy to feign indifference at your data being used in this way, the dynamic changes when you realize that your data is a valuable resource in the information economy.
Our data is continually exploited, making trillion-dollar tech companies richer while we actually lose money and control.
If your time online created a physical product that could be sold at a huge profit, would you give it away for free?
It’s time to rethink the way we store, share, and protect the personal information we share online.
We must protect the privacy of people and businesses to create a fair and safe digital world that drives innovation and a thriving global economy for all – not just a few big tech companies.
In this current system, information will not be private unless we decide to protect it.
If you’d like to join us, download LockDown.
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