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Stop Thinking the Government Can Fix Privacy

Relying on laws to keep your private information safe is like relying on a dog to guard a plate of bacon.

Some would say that there’s not enough outrage over the privacy violations made by governments and companies around the world. Some would be correct. The outrage isn’t being voiced in ways that one might expect considering the circumstances, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

The outrage is out there. It’s in here. It’s everywhere. The people of the world are fed up with the activities of our “leaders” who consistently demonstrate a lack of understanding and concern for privacy. Why, then, do we turn to politicians to try to fix things?

They won’t fix it. They can’t fix it. The avalanche started long ago and it is now self-perpetuating. It would take an upheaval of revolutionary levels in order to fix things from the top down and that simply isn’t going to happen. It can’t happen in America. It can’t happen in Europe. It is possible in some countries where the people hold enough anger towards their government that they’re willing to lose everything in order to gain something else, but they have bigger problems to worry about than whether or not someone knows who they emailed last week.

Some would say that the tech companies need to step up. If our private information is the bacon and the governments of the world are the dogs, then the big tech companies are the butchers carving up the pigs. They have absolutely no interest in handing over their cleavers any time soon.

Apple is one of the only major tech company out there that really doesn’t have a stake in the privacy war. They don’t need private data to be successful, while companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon all rely on it like it’s a life-giving IV pumping dollars into their veins. That’s not to say that Apple is more trustworthy or under less influence from the government. Their sins are different. They cannot help us in this situation.

If we can’t look to the government and we can’t look to the tech companies, where can we turn for help? Who can fix this?

The Man in the Mirror Cliché

Here it comes. This is the part where the author writes an inspiring segment pulling in quotes from Michael Jackson songs and for some reasons starts paraphrasing Smokey Bear with “privacy” as the new punchline. He may even start referring to himself in the third person.

Thankfully, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to harp on the concepts that your privacy is yours, that in many places around the world such as America in Europe we are empowered with the resources and technologies to keep our personal information private, and that it’s our responsibility to let others know what they can do and why they should do it.

Nope, not going to do it. Instead, I’m going to talk about pigs.

If the Governments are Dogs and the Tech Companies are Butchers…

…wouldn’t that make us the pigs being slaughtered?

Yes. Yes we are.

This really is a war. It’s not going to stop. Whether you want to see the writing on the wall or stick your head in the sand is up to you. Today is not the day to follow the other piggies who are learning to accept the age of Big Brother in order to keep their privileges and comforts. Some pigs are willing to stand tall and hide their ham hocks in places that the tech companies and the government can’t find. Those are the pigs that won’t be slaughtered as easily. Those are the pigs that will run from the butcher, evade the dogs, and live to oink another day.

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorizing New World Order hunter in order to see the benefits of going dark. You may not even care that much about whether there are people spying on you or not. If you’re either one of those people, you really aren’t the concern here, nor are you the target of this article.

The people who are doing the most harm are those who are fighting for political action to be taken, the people that will be satisfied about the victories that are coming down the road in the form of new laws and more safeguards. These people are going to be doing harm because they are the ones who will lull the rest of us into a state of complacency.

The “victories” that are coming down the road will not fix the situation. If the tech companies have their cleavers taken away, they’ll find new ways to slice our data. If the NSA has its head chopped off, two more will pop up in its place. We aren’t going to be able to stop the governments from getting the data. Through political action, we will be pushing them deeper into the shadows. They won’t cease their activities. They’ll only find new ways for their activities to manifest, ways that can evade detection. It’s an unquenchable hunger. They’ve already tasted our bacon and they won’t accept anything less.

Remember this: none of these things are new. If it weren’t for the revelations of Edward Snowden, most people would have no idea the depth in which the governments of the world are watching everyone and each other. If they got away with it for so long, what makes anyone believe that they won’t do it better next time?

If you think there won’t be a next time as long as we find a political solution, then it’s too late for you. The dogs are already chewing on our pork chops.