The cost of privacy


If you’re one of those people who equates cost with cash alone you probably think that your privacy has no value. And, let’s face it, you wouldn’t be alone.

But even as far back as Karl Marx (over 150 years ago) philosophers and economists have been talking about exchange values … so we are not talking about something completely new here.

Think about this. There are, let’s call them activists, being pursued by governments around the world for publishing information online with no intention of charging readers.

Yes, but it’s government secrets I hear you say.

Really, but isn’t our own personal information also secret.

What’s the difference?

Every minute of every day personal information is being collected online without our personal knowledge or authorisation.

What’s more, the information gatherers are not Australian and their activities (servers based overseas) are not covered by our country’s laws.

And the US based corporations behind this are not bound or inclined to tell you what data they have … but they can on-sell the information to whomever they like and however inaccurate, without any fear of prosecution.

At the risk of appearing alarmist I would have to say, when it comes to personal privacy (or more precisely the lack of same), the current situation online is worse than George Orwell or Franz Kafka ever dreamed or wrote about.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t we ask for a slice of the action?

Every time Google or Facebook (and all the others) on-sell our personal information a percentage should be remitted to the people on the lists. I’m thinking 40-50% here.

And I’m talking about meta (big) data as well, i.e. information about information in a massified format.

What is happening now is reminiscent of what the early (now discredited) colonisers did hundreds of years ago when they convinced uneducated natives to accept brightly coloured and virtually valueless baubles in exchange for large tracts of land and/or other valuables such as gold.

In the years to come we will look back and say how could we have not understood what was happening?

That’s all I’m saying for the moment.

If you want details .. comment below.

EDITOR – Andrew M Connery: A pioneer in social media and active online since early 2001 heads up the Editorial team. Andrew is currently undertaking doctoral research on disruptive technologies at the University of Wollongong. A B2B marketing practitioner by profession his specialty area is local online search and until July 2011 he was a Senior Trainer for the Federal Government’s Small Business Online program.


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