I started paying attention to privacy when I read 1984 during the quarantine. The lack of privacy that the proles lived in stunned me. They were constantly being surveilled by Big Brother and I saw a lot of parallels. I started to realize that, in many ways, we are living in a surveillance economy.

I used to be somebody that didn’t see the point in taking privacy seriously. I felt like so much of my information was already out there. I subscribed to the idea that I had no secrets and nothing to hide. …

Image by Malachi Diaz

The state of privacy today

Privacy is what allows you to keep certain things from the public — your thoughts, experiences, conversations, and your plans. Privacy is how we can explore new ideas. If we can’t speak without fear of repercussion, we can’t formulate our ideas, or test them against alternate perspectives. Our lives, translated into data, are the raw material of the surveillance economy. Knowing everything about our behavior allows the holder of this data to shape it. This is a huge threat to our autonomy. Autonomy is the ability to govern ourselves, and we can only do so if we have accurate information…

Image by Malachi Diaz

When we buy a new tech product, we often return to what we’re used to. As we continue to learn more about the societies that surveillance capitalism creates it’s time to think about upgrading to privacy-focused products.

Data leaks happen. Unfortunately, they aren’t stopping anytime soon. There is nothing you can do to prevent them. It is up to the company to be responsible for our data by having the best security measures possible because our data is that important. We shouldn’t stop using technology out of fear that our personal information may get leaked. Taking steps to protect your…

Image by Malachi Diaz

Tech companies that request data, like location, on our mobile phones are considered the norm nowadays. Until relatively recently, what was being done with it was not well understood, but we are starting to get a clearer picture of how our data is being used and who has access to it. If we truly knew how easy it is to be identified in an anonymous data set, we would, first, take away our children’s phones. Then we’d stop using our own. So you might wonder how these companies are even still in business. They’re not only in business, they’re big…

Image by Malachi Diaz

If a stranger came up to you on the street and asked for your home address, would you give it to them? You’d probably ignore them and walk away, right? Imagine, for a moment, that’s not an option. A stranger will let you walk away, but the Internet does not allow nonanswers. Everything you do is tracked whether you like it or not. This is one of the hallmarks of surveillance capitalism. That’s where obfuscation comes in. Obfuscation is intentionally adding ambiguous, confusing, or misleading information to interfere with surveillance and data collection. Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum wrote the…

Malachi Diaz

I enjoy writing about privacy tools and finding ways to take down the surveillance economy. Also learning to play the guitar.

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