When I read the book Privacy Lost by David H. Holtzman in 2007 it really put all the pieces together. Privacy has been important to me since I was a kid, even before I had a computer. The right to be let alone, regardless if you are offline or online, is something I have always valued and felt to be important.
Privacy is not only a right everyone should have. It is a right everyone have to protect. Not just for themselves, but everyone around them.
Of course, a book like that was most likely only read by people with an interest in privacy and knowledge and foresight how the Internet would evolve. In other words, speaking to anyone about this book outside of the privacy and security community fell quickly on deaf ears.
That book would be very relevant after the Snowden leak in 2013, and still are. However, Kevin D. Mitnick’s The Art of Invisibility is a bit more relevant and in-depth. I would of course suggest both.
It is both fascinating and scary how a book from 2007 about privacy is still relevant.
Unfortunately most people seemed shocked for about a week or so. When it had cooled down a bit everyone was back on Facebook sharing every minute detail about their life. Allowing Facebook to build their profiling of their users further.
Most of us have been in a bit of denial regarding privacy. We have refused to accept that we have lost our privacy, even though we encrypt everything that can be encrypted. Too bad we cannot block and encrypt stupidity.
As an example. You can think that you have avoided Facebook your whole life by not signing up, but if you have friends that are heavy users of that thing, you can be sure they have posted about you and even have a photo or two of you on there.
Something that is often forgotten when privacy is discussed. That it is not enough for you to protect your privacy. Those around you need to protect it too.
We often think that privacy is under attack from governments and corporations. That is one of the attack vector. The other are people, you and me.
Privacy is attacked from two sides. One side is attacked by governments that wants to monitor us and corporations that want to sell our profile to the highest bidder. The other side is attacked by regular people who do not understand that sharing something online makes it accessible to the world.
You might think you have nothing to hide, you are wrong by the way, but that does not mean those close to you consent to you sharing their information. That your account is set to private is meaningless if more than two people can see that information.
We really have not lost our privacy because governments and corporations harvest our information. We have lost it because we think sharing personal details about ourselves and close ones is being social and that receiving a Like from someone we have never met boosts your self-esteem.
How we are over-sharing details about ourselves would be a dream come true for Stasi. They would not need to wire-tap houses as they used to. Just log on to the Internet and people give away everything about their lives.
Case in point, I have never doxxed someone as I oppose it, but without breaking any laws, nor systems, I have found people by following the digital paper trail. It is scary how easy it is to find the identity of someone online, where they live, who they are related to and where they work.
If you claim that privacy is important to you, yet still use services like Facebook, Google and non-encrypted email and messaging services. Print out everything you posted online last week and post around town. Even go up to people and read out some of the stuff in verbatim to them.
If you are not comfortable doing that. If you think that will affect your privacy. Do not worry, you have already done it, online. As said, what is posted online, regardless of your privacy settings, everyone can access it.
It is sad that a Like is far more important than privacy.