Personal Privacy – A Dangerous Concept! –by Tech Thoughts

September 21, 2009 · 5 Comments

It seems rather strange to think of privacy as a dangerous concept. But governments, worldwide, would have you believe that it is, and generally have been highly effective in convincing their citizens that privacy has limited individual benefits. Moreover, governments have been successful, in large part, in convincing people that too much privacy has serious social and security implications.

To experience this erosion of individual privacy in action all you need do is walk anywhere, drive anywhere, and you will be recorded with, or without, your knowledge or permission. Your behavior and your activities will be noted, and in many instances stored for later retrieval. You need go no further than your own home town.

Police in London, England, despite its thousands of CCTV cameras, estimated last year that just 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV. All the while however, restrictions on invasion of individual privacy were thrown out the window. Despite this lack of effectiveness, London continues to add more cameras.

Virtually ever method of communication, including telephones and computers, can be, and are in fact, monitored by governments for “trigger” words or phrases. Web sites, email chats, and VOIP conversations are monitored for “suspicious” conversations, or activities.

It seems that most people (particularly younger people), have come to terms with living in this climate of little or no privacy; of uber surveillance – since we have been conditioned to believe that there is nothing we can do to change this reality.

The aftermath of September 11, 2001, has guaranteed that resistance to the government enforced surveillance society we now live in, is viewed with suspicion and hostility. Not only by government, but by individuals themselves. We are now the dogs in a Pavlovian experience – conditioning works.

I count myself amongst those who are genuinely concerned that the massive amounts of government data collection presents threats to our civil liberties and human rights – with good reason, I believe.

The idea that social control in the guise of patriotism, enhancement of security, and the protection of democracy is effective, is not new. Propaganda is a well established tool used to convince people to subvert their own best interests.

Those who are aware of history, a diminishing percentage of the population it seems to me, are familiar with Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels’s skillful use of propaganda ( a lie by any other name), helped Adolf Hitler acquire and maintain power, leading ultimately to World War 2.

In the final analysis, allowing government unrestricted control of our lives has proven, and will prove once again, to be disastrous. Thomas Jefferson, 200 years ago, had something to say on this issue of government power when he stated, “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”.

The continuing erosion of our right to privacy cannot lead to a positive outcome. Democracy, as many of us have defined it in the past, is undergoing profound changes as we stand by and watch; participants in our own demise.


About DigitalPlato

Poch is a Bookrix author and a freelance writer. He is a frequent contributor to TED Conversations.
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6 Responses to Personal Privacy – A Dangerous Concept! –by Tech Thoughts

  1. pochp says:

    It seems you are psychic too.
    I was surprised that both the topics you mentioned –effect of tech on different generations (controversial!) and race –I have just posted about too!

    I hope you visit Plato 0n-line at pochp.wordpress so I can have your intelligent opinions and comments.
    Thank you very much sir.

  2. Benjamin Steele says:

    I found Bill Mullins post on the Tech Thoughts blog. I re-posted my comment there.

    Thanks for the compliment. I wasn’t aiming for either prophetic or sublime, but I’m glad that my humble views were an honor to you. 🙂

    I often think about where the world is heading. I sense a major shift that is happening and which hasn’t fully manifested yet. Specifically, I suspect that there is going to be a technological explosion in the near future that might resemble the post-WWII boom. As always, time will tell.

    Going by my studies into demographics, there are several factors that are shifting in the US. Some of those shifting demographics might apply to other countries.

    Boomers were the largest generation and they’re retiring very late in life (having dominated media attention for about half of a century). The generation coming into the workforce right now is even larger than the Boomers. The very small generation in between (Gen X) is finally coming into power (in delayed fashion because of Boomer domination of leadership positions).

    Gen X is the first generation to grow up with computers. So, fairly soon there is going to be a major technological shift in the corporate world (and probably in politics as well considering Obama is a GenXer according to Strauss and Howe).

    Another interesting shift is race. Caucasians will be the new minority in the US and they already are a minority in the youngest generations. The kids that are in college right now (or recently left) grew up without much concern about race and are fairly liberal in some ways. On the other hand, this generation grew up in the era of the War on Terror and all they know is the surveillance state.

    We live interesting times.

  3. pochp says:

    ‘Eventually, there probably won’t be one internet network. Various people and groups will develop their own networks (as technology develops). People of like minds will band together to ensure their own privacy. I think there will be a resurgence of libertarian values which originally were a part of democratic values.’

    Sir Steele,
    Your comment is by far the most prophetic and one of the most sublime
    ever submitted here. And I agree.
    I’m very honored by your presence so you’re very welcome to submit your own essays here.


  4. Benjamin Steele says:

    I don’t think democratic value of privacy will have much of a future. With technology, the ability to invade people’s privacy is too easy. Also, it’s impossible for the average person to even know that their privacy has been invaded. We live in a world where we are forced to assume that someone is keeping tabs on every single thing we do. I doubt there is any way to reverse this trend. Some genies can’t be put back into the bottle.

    If there is a future for privacy, it will be private companies who will sell it to you (or the appearance of it) rather than government. But who wants to trust a corporation to ensure one’s privacy? The futher problem is that the separation between big government and big business always seems to be eroding.

    I suspect there will private citizens who will come up with various solutions, but the powers that be will have the upperhand for some time to come. Eventually, there probably won’t be one internet network. Various people and groups will develop their own networks (as technology develops). People of like minds will band together to ensure their own privacy. I think there will be a resurgence of libertarian values which originally were a part of democratic values.

  5. pochp says:

    Bravo Bill!
    I never knew you could write like an expert pro until now.

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