The End of Privacy Rursus Lege
It’s game over for things like human rights online, here’s why:
Even as BigTech companies like Facebook and Apple are pivoting into encrypted privacy chat and services, let’s make no mistake — a 5G world will be even more prone to cybersecurity attacks, ID theft, fraud and facial recognition and biometric scanning that signals the end of privacy as we know it.
Rursus is Latin for ‘again’, and Lege is ‘by law’. I don’t speak Latin, but privacy is something I’m a bit passionate about.
Cybersecurity is right up there with wealth inequality and global warming as impactful and dangerous for corporations and big banks in the years going forwards. The Internet has been totally hacked by data-sharing companies that monetized our innocence on social media.
The world, the internet and the future of privacy is changing faster than regulators, global laws or ethics committees can handle. The 4th industrial revolution will mean a new era of data transparency and an internet even further dominated by digital Ad giants pretending to be something else.
Social credit systems in China linked to ubiquitous facial recognition will usher in a new era of state control, censorship and (un)freedom of our human rights in the arrival or legit surveillance states and new layers and levels of surveillance capitalism. Blockchain won’t save us, self-sovereign identity (SSI) systems will be comprised. The future of trust and privacy online and in our real lives won’t be bright.
The actual incentives of bad actors including corporate schemes to cheat you out of your own data and get ever more intimate access to your health, financial and social networking data (to name just a few) means we’re entering an era where privacy realistically, will no longer exist as we once knew it.
Meanwhile, AirPods with Alexa, Siri, Bixby and Google Assistant “hitching a ride” means we’ll be constantly ‘augmented’ by AI. IoT will mean less privacy, as devices and the human layer remain hackable, where our data remains “always on” in a constant stream of data and micro interactions. If data is the new oil, predictive analytics will have a steady flow of information and not just our static preferences. The weaponization of our data vs. Privacy, in short, will be augmented too.
It may not be time to panic about privacy, because the evidence is out and most of us don’t really care. We’ve become desensitized by Facebook anti-PR movement. Algorithms still rule our lives in apps. Dopamine still does it’s digital-thin on us, we are predictable creatures after all. We still fall for the same gimmicks, and the internet while it’s changing (banning memes), it still a captive attention economy that’s only duty is monetizing us as the product and the consumer.
Privacy is not a thing we all want. There’s no charter that says privacy is a human right online. In fact, the entire evolution of the Internet has been against this idea that privacy is something we control or within our power to influence. If you own a phone, own a smart speaker or have ever been on social media, you have already been compromised.
It’s nearly 2020, we no longer get mad or feel invaded when our privacy has been compromised. We may use ad-blockers or get annoyed by Snapchat Ads within its games, or feel puzzled by reminders to subscribe to YouTube premium, but it’s nothing we haven't’ seen before. We survived pop-ups on websites, I think we can handle Ads within video stories.
We’ve already been hacked. We’ve already traded our privacy away for other benefits, incentives and things we consider more valuable. Like access to a network. LinkedIn and Facebook has preyed upon us. Everything we say on WeChat can be monitored. Apple at least does seem more genuine when it talks about our privacy.
The very idea that the concept of privacy will survive a 5G world is somewhat dubious, that’s how Silicon Valley and the Chinese Government have given the internet a product timeline. There’s no place for privacy in the end-game they envision. I’d argue whatever they say publicly is somewhat farcical. We know for example from Uber’s history the lengths and black hat tactics businesses will go to, to get ahead even if it compromises our data or privacy.
Privacy is a lie we tell ourselves when we don’t understand what the internet is or is becoming. While the issue of online privacy is front and center after debacles involving data breaches and mishandled personal information, Facebook’s stock has never been better, the reality and the idea of self-protection in a world where data is the new currency, is a bit absurd.
No, I mean yes, well — look it, our privacy continues to be compromised in ways we can’t imagine. We can’t imagine how AI will be the intermediary between all of our activities. What AI knows, by definition won’t be private but owned by the corporations who build the AIs. Living ‘off the grid’ even for a conspiracy theorist becomes a hopeless task of living in the past.
2019 is the Year the Privacy Myth Became Mainstream
Silicon Valley and the Chinese Government will ensure in the years ahead, that privacy will be seen as a myth forever. This way in their captive attention economy, data and people are fully easy to manipulate. It’s profit over people and control over freedom in new ways as technology evolves.
Apps don’t just invade our privacy, they hack our brains and steal our time. Facial recognition doesn’t just spot you there, it knows your emotions by your facial features and micro expressions. Not having privacy actually means an invasion of your preferences, mental health and even your most intimate motivations and behavior.
With the invention of stronger AI, privacy becomes impossible.
We may continue to claim we want it, certainly companies will continue to pretend they provide it, but it will be no more, privacy will go extinct. Just as many blockchain or decentralized solutions don’t or won’t actually augment trust and security. There’s an end-game to privacy called data transparency and with the advent of neural interfaces, it will be fully and totally achieved.
With the extinction of privacy, anything becomes possible.
AI is being weaponized, will be weaponized and cybersecurity will reach degrees of control and manipulation hard to fathom.
The latest innovations in tech don’t just obscure our rights to privacy, they enable moral, ethical, social, economic and political problems to manifest like never before in a black-hat universe that’s more Black Mirror than we can even hope to conceive of yet.
Big Brother Doesn't Have a Name, but AI will be Everywhere
The smart home and connected 5G cities sound fun, but we are gifting companies our lives. We are assuring an acceleration of wealth inequality that we cannot imagine as a consequence of the demise of privacy and rights to our data. No laws known to humans can protect us from the advent of surveillance capitalism, it’s a stage every species needs to go through. It’s part of the information age growing pains. It can last between decades and centuries.
In a world of ubiquitous AI, we are not a person, we are just a number. We are both subject and object, we have no inherent value. Ethics in AI will lean to male bias. It will not be inclusive, it will be a machinery of the corporations and the state. Privacy will seem like an outdated legacy concept of rugged Baby Boomers, who will die off in a big-bang memory of what it might have been like to live before the advent of the internet.
There’s enough data to arm bad actors for all of eternity on this matrix we’re creating.
People will be profiled. Predictive analytics will alert other groups to our behavior. Our reputation will follow us around like never before, quite literally. Everything we do or have ever done will have magnified consequences in such a world. Not only will privacy not exist, but we’ll be naked in our data of everything.
Never mind for a second that Amazon’s facial recognition is flawed or China’s use of social credit systems include travel bans and other punishments. As citizens we will be powerless to do anything but adapt to a world of facial recognition and the systematic stripping away of our identities as private citizens with rights. Wait, that sounds crazy. You’ll just want peace of mind that your family is safe.
Since 2017 broadband companies in the U.S. can track your digital data including all your smart home data. So everyone will have access to it, Google and friends. G-MAFIA overlords, not so surprising. We didn’t sign up for what Silicon Valley has orchestrated, we might not agree with what China is becoming, but there’s a dark side to technology and the 4th industrial revolution is not all good. There are some dire risks.
Gambling with your DNA in an age of BioTech, you just wait! Your location and your online activities is a small play. The control of your future behavior, not so much.
In the U.S. with Ad-Giants or in China with government censorship, the end of privacy is near. It doesn’t actually matter how you feel about it, this is happening. You won’t likely suddenly decide to care more about your digital privacy, you’ll forget this article moments after you skim it.
This story was inspired by a NYT column that was part of The Privacy Project, a series from The New York Times Opinion. Their story was by Farhad Manjoo, with illustrations by Ariel Davis. Design and development by Jessia Ma and Sahil Chinoy. While I don’t agree with their conclusions, I expect our descendants not to be privacy conscious at all as our reality is warped by the weaponization of AI.
Privacy is a thing that’s disappearing for all of us and the Internet really isn’t giving us a choice. Surveillance capitalism is very real and it’s about to scale augmented by AI.