Monday, May 3, 2010

Choose Privacy Week, May 2-8, Don't read this.

There is a massive push going on in my part of the library world to educate the public on how to be safe online.

But if you're online, it's already too late.

I've been teaching online safety for many years, since probably 3 B.G (years before Google). One of my "lessons" was to treat online like any other place you might visit. And I probably made some joke about not forgetting to get your shots (vaccinations). Hardee-har-har.

But now it seems like online isn't just another place you might visit, but a place in the middle of a military coup. Privacy policies for even trusted companies change at a whim and for not-so-trusted-companies, you might as well just throw them your wallet and pray.

Part of my spiel was to ask, "Do you really need to go online? Why?" Because there once was the option. But not now. Now you can't do much without online. And clearly, online is unsafe.

What better proof than the Privacy Revolution site.
Since you rarely revolt until you're suffering.

Yes, there are precautions you can take. But online is everywhere. Digital is everywhere. You can't use a phone without creating a record of the call. You can't make a photocopy without leaving a copy on the hard drive. You can't shop online without being options to buy more crap with a single additional click.

And all this is data. About me and you. There is no way to get this back.

We are living as serfs in the digital world. We work the land and produce the goods, but we don't own the fields.

So it seems like a good time for a revolution, but I'm not sure how well we're armed. Privacy education is more like a rake than a sword.