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Privacy is a dead concept

Previous: Die RaukenkriseNext: Augmented Reality is the next big thing
Assigned keywords: Computer, Gesellschaft

I came to the conclusion that, in the wake of today's and tomorrow's Information Technology, privacy is a dead concept. It will be ultimatively impossible to protect, much in a way it was ultimatively impossible for the hunter/gatherer lifestyle to compete and survive in regions which have been claimed by agriculturists.

People tend to conjure the ghosts of Big Brother when it comes to information technology; they paint scenarioes how your future human resource manager will search for your name on the internet and find all those pictures where you're laying on the floor in your own puke, dressed in a leather harness. But they fail to see the impact technology has on society.

I'll of course believe that HRM people might search for those pictures, but I also predict that they won't care. What's wrong with wearing a leather harness and getting drunk anyway? People do that all the time, but the difference nowadays is that they can uphold the illusion of not doing anything unusual after all. Yet this barrier will ultimatively fail, and when you search for people, you probably find something for anyone. And if you don't find anything, you probably get suspicous because said person must be some kind of freak which stays most of his time indoors.

Now what about "Big Brother" and total control distopias? Sure enough, there is a danger that surveillance might be used to opress people more easily, but let's not forget that humanity was able to uphold one gruesome dictatorship after another without sophisticated Information Technology. People should be far more afraid of other people and their potential to commit atrocities and support a dictatorship than of technology.

This said, technology is not the problem, but any entity which is able to claim too much power in order to abuse it is. Actually, I believe that "states" and "nations" in today's sense will vanish in the future and be replaced by smaller entities, such as city states. I also believe that people will more and more stop to identify themselves with a certain regions and turn to subcultures instead. Even today, a german and japanese Emo may feel more closely related than a german Emo and a german horse breeder.

People have a tendency to fear change. People feared the railroad because they thought it would kill cows grazing next to passing trains, not to speak that it would kill passengers or at least make them mentally ill because of the high speed they have to watch.
None of this actually has happened and we tend to laugh about these "stupid" people. But yet, as strange and disturbing this may sound, I came to the firm conclusion that future people will laugh about us, our attachment to "privacy" and our fears about "big brother".

That said, please don't tell me that I should be first to publish my bank transactions combined with pictures showing myself naked. I'm talking about a natural development which will affect all human societies in the time to come, so there's no need for me to make the first step.


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