We had Data Privacy Day last week, but did anyone care?
Privacy is the big white elephant at the media party right now. He’s kind of like that friend that wanders around the party aimlessly, and nobody is quite sure who invited him. This is because privacy is subject to The Effect Theory, which holds that when new forms of media are invented, an unexpected effect will inevitably arise. Privacy is the effect of inventing free media platforms, Gmail and the like, which turned out to require consumer data to stay free via advertising revenue.
Now that we see this effect we are at a moment to make choices about who will be subject to the effect. But we seem to also be at a moment of debate about whether we care about the effect now, later, or only after we've been Sony-ed -- the verb we should just start using for any time our personal lives are hacked. If timing is everything like they say, I wonder what the time will be when we begin to care to make these choices?
Hardware makers are going into full speed in order to get a product ecosystem in place for us to discover once we begin making decisions. I think this is smart. They’re going to create products that have the protections we will want baked into the devices, which will be waiting for us at the time we begin making choices about privacy. In a recent blog post, the CEO of Blackphone, which is one of these products, says the best place to start with privacy is at home. I agree. The phone is home in the digital world. If you want to start making choices now, start there.
Here are a few ideas how to make the choice to care now, rather than after getting Sony-ed:
Search "encrypted phones" or "encryption" and "phones" and just start learning.
Turn off your geo for now when you can.
Don’t sync everything to everything.
Sign up for services using email rather than signing up with Facebook or Twitter.
Turn off auto updates and instead update when you have enough time to read about what's being changed in the update.