Is Privacy Too Expensive?
I don't know if you ever think about your privacy, but if you do, you realize that it is getting scarce - and maybe, expensive.
LAST year, I spent more than $2,200 and countless hours trying to protect my privacy.
Some of the items I bought — a $230 service that encrypted my data in the Internet cloud; a $35 privacy filter to shield my laptop screen from coffee-shop voyeurs; and a $420 subscription to a portable Internet service to bypass untrusted connections — protect me from criminals and hackers. Other products, like a $5-a-month service that provides me with disposable email addresses and phone numbers, protect me against the legal (but, to me, unfair) mining and sale of my personal data.
In our data-saturated economy, privacy is becoming a luxury good...
This quote is from an interesting recent NYTimes article ("Has Privacy Become a Luxury Good?").
Science fiction writers have thought about it - writers like Philip K. Dick was obsessed with it. For several hundred highly focused and relevant links, take a look at my section on Surveillance in Science Fiction. Here are some choice bits:
But I'm more interested in whether or not we can do something about it. Isaac Asimov described an anti-spying device in his 1951 novel Foundation.
Fans of William Gibson may recall that privacy was very expensive indeed in the world of his 1984 novel :
[He] saw that it was a solid sandwich of circuitry, nearly a centimeter thick. He helped the man lift it and position it in the doorway. Quick, nicotine-stained fingers secured it with a white velcro border. A hidden exhaust fan began to purr.
"Time," the man said, straightening up, 'and counting. You know the rate, Moll..."
"... we'll want full screen for as long as we want it."
"Hey, that's fine by the Finn, Moll. You're only paying by the second."
They sealed the door behind him, and Molly turned one of the white chairs around and sat on it, chin resting on crossed forearms. "We talk now. This is as private as I can afford."
(Read about Gibson's privacy screen)
I don't think I recall any sf authors (or anyone) predicting that we ourselves would be the source of the problem. The biggest cost to privacy today is what you'd need to give up to have the privacy you wanted:
I'm sure there are many other examples.
- No cell phones
They track your position to within a hundred feet or so. And of course there is the metadata from your phone calls, not to mention the content of the calls. Add to that your texting, pictures and so forth.
- No credit cards
Your credit card transactions provide endless trackable bits of information about you and about how your tastes have evolved over your adult life, not to mention where you've lived and traveled.
- No cities, no towns
Too many CCTV cameras associated with businesses, ATMs, gas stations, etc.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/5/2014)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
China's Drone Fleet Flies In Formation
'Programmed to hang... in a hexagonal grid pattern.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.
RFID Chipped Employees Of Three Square Market
'About a third of the people in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip...' - John Twelve Hawks, 2015.
SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...' - Manly Wade Wellman, 1938.
Cyborg DragonflEye At Your Command
'The dragonfly responded like a toy airplane, taking off and heading east...'
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'
iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.
Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'
Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.
RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.
Seasteading Floating Cities
'It was a remarkable island, circular, about half a kilometer in diameter.'
Tesla Semi 'Electrotruck' Unveiled
Elon Musk unveils yet another technological marvel.
Watch What People Are Seeing Via Brain Scanning
'had managed to see through the other man's eyes as the other man, all unaware, washed their Zis limousine sixteen hundred meters away...'
Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
'...a shirt that displayed email on its sleeve.
Interstellar Asteroid Visits Our Solar System
'This asteroid had whirled in from the cold of the interplanetary space...'
PRIMA Bionic Vision Restoration
'The VISOR... was a medical device used in the Federation to aid patients who have suffered loss of eyesight...'
Audi Traffic Jam Pilot Knows If You're Sleeping
'Even here, riding a garbage truck to eternity, the machine watched him...'
UM Hall Thruster Breaks Records
Someday, we'll see an ion drive used to get to Mars.
Ionity Ultra-fast Charging Station Network
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'
VAuth Voice Security Wearable From University of Michigan
'Siri, I gave you a voice command...' 'Yes, but do I know you?'
Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
Why be choosy? Just upload your whole life to the Internet, and be done with it.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories