Privacy Is Dead? – What will you do?

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We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the constitution says, but everyone made equal . . . A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind.” [1]

In Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury in 1953, books are illegal and burnt by the fire department. It is often concluded that the books represent the power to information for the general public in this novel and that burning them represents the control the government wishes to gain over the people.

An article by Hans de Zwart titled “Ai Weiwei is Living in Our Future”, compares the Chinese artists life under house arrest and surveillance to the life we possibly may lead in the future. Ai Weiwei’s outspoken behavior towards the Chinese Government has lead him to lose his freedom and privacy. After 81 days in a cell under 24/7 personal surveillance he moved to his house where cameras were set up in every room.

This is the trailer of the documentary by Andreas Johnsen on Ai Weiwei’s first year under house arrest:

In the documentary you can observe Ai Weiwei’s coping mechanisms.

“…he decided to put up four cameras inside his house and livestream his life to the Internet. This made the authorities very nervous and within a few days the ‘WeiWeiCam’ was taken offline.”

You can examine how the people on the different sides of surveillance behave. The guards in the cell who were monitoring Ai Weiwei were also not allowed to talk, yet they would whisper questions to connect with one another.

Even in the most confining situations we strive for freedom. We try to find a way, a loophole to beat the system and take back control of our privacy.

The information age, like the internet itself has a hunger for knowledge for the newest technologies that will improve the efficiency of our lives. In turn we have shared big data with large corporations that promise to use the information gathered for developing technologies to further our lifestyles.

As we gain awareness of how corporations and governments are creating detailed personal profiles on us we start to educate ourselves on the repercussions this has on our freedom and privacy.

One technology columnist at Backchannel has gone to great lengths to take back his freedom when using technology. He has forsworn all major software companies, such as Apple and Google and runs his laptop, notepad and Android phone all on crowdsourced, free and security enhanced software. He writes:

“Those values [ of technology ] start with a basic notion: We are losing control over the tools that once promised equal opportunity in speech and innovation—and this has to stop.”

This is a natural reaction, for when we have tasted freedom we demand privacy as a human right. This is the reason wars are started.

In order for us to keep our freedom we have to go off radar like ‘Montag’ in the aforementioned ‘Fahreneit 451’ and ‘John Preston’ in the Hollywood Blockbuster ‘Equilibrium’. We have to install privacy software that will block trackers and disguise our IP address for us to keep sole ownership of our data.

Currently we do have to go through a lot of effort when we aim to safeguard our data and browse online securely, however many companies like Privacy Shell are making great strides in developing technologies that will one day bring us into an era where the people hold ownership of their own data.

Is it worth the effort? Are you interested in making the information age grow further? The more we gain privacy awareness, the more blatant the decision will be whether we keep using technology or whether we go off grid. Are you prepared to loose the freedom of connectivity and go back to a time of slower manifestation or will you grab your freedom by the horns and create a secure online environment with effective privacy tools.

About Amy Rudolph

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Amy is a well traveled web developer. With a love for technology and appreciation for freedom she is very keen to carry out Privacy Shell’s mission, to encourage the use of technology with a heightened privacy awareness.

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