I am fed up with people declaring the ‘death of privacy’. The day we all throw away our clothes, curtains and locks I will accept that we have nothing to hide. Until then, privacy is alive and kicking. Gruesome, scary things come out every day, I agree, but that is because we do not know about it, do not care or don’t do anything about it. But we can still fight back. From changing your own privacy setting, to supporting advocy groups that raise awareness and take legal action, to writing letters to your representatives — there are ways to keep privacy alive.
This is hard though, and scary and it takes time and I fully understand if you do not want to do it. There are a lot of causes and you have to pick your fights. And I mean it. I am happy for you to give up your privacy, I am happy for you to not care. But I do care if you cop out with a fatalistic “Privacy is dead”. Because that gives power to those who develop and use exploiting tech.
But I have grown a bit tired of making this case when someone throws the line in my face. So from now on, I will tell them a story. The story of: “The Death of Privacy”
My father has told me the story of the hunt so many starry nights that I will never forget it. I will tell you as he told me:
“I was not allowed to go on the hunt. Only men who had fulfilled the rite were allowed to go. I stayed behind with the women and children. With the women and children I went about my daily tasks while listening to every sound, every sign that they might come back. With the women and children I waited — the whole day and the whole night. We had to wait until the next day for the men to come back. They arrived at the camp, sweat glistening on their bodies in the high midday sun. They arrived with bloody marks on their bodies, telling us that there had been a fight. The men came back, laughing, excited, full of stories of the fight. They told us how they had lured her away from her favourite hiding place. They told us how they had chased her to the Lake of Technical Advancement, how they nearly got her, but she had used the upcoming night to hide away. They told us how they had chased her through the Woods of Human Rights, the dark, impregnable woods we normally stay away from. They told us about the men who had been lost there, not to be seen again. Those who persevered followed her through the dark woods. All the way through the dark woods to the Gorge of Fascism. They told us about the great plan they had deviced, how they had cornered her. Triumphantly they opened the bag and pulled her head up by her hair. And we all knew that Privacy was dead.