Dan Solove, perhaps the leading legal scholar on privacy, has an amazing collection of magazine covers on his TechPrivacy.com website. One after another, they all lament that “Privacy is Dead.” The stories date from 2015….2010…1994…..1970! He calls this collection “the undying death of privacy.”
“I am growing weary of hearing news of the end of privacy or the death of privacy. Like news of the apocalypse, it seems as though declarations of the looming end of privacy are endless,” Solove writes. Mind you, this was *before* the current wave of Facebook privacy scandals.
The stories are funny — I adore that Newsweek cover — and so is Solove’s column, but there’s a deeper point: People have been worried about technology “killing” privacy for a long time. So why do incidents like Cambridge Analytica or the 2016 election manipulation seem to take us by surprise? Over and over?
Despite years of fretting about privacy, no one has really done anything about it. And that neglect has created the situation we have today. There are thousands of data brokers collecting deep information on everyone with essentially no guardrails on their activities. Drones flying over backyards. Airplanes flying over cities, filming citizens 24 hours a day. (No kidding!)
In this episode of No Place to Hide, called “Mistakes Were Made,” we go back to the beginning of “Internet time” and talk about the cascade of errors that prevented the past generation’s regulators, legislators, and corporations from dealing with the privacy problem. Then, we tee up the next episode, where we will discuss what will happen if we fail to act now.
As I’ve mentioned before, No Place to Hide is brought to you ad-free by Intel, but it had no editorial control over the content.