on prescribed privacy

I recently read this article with relevant angles on the privacy in relation to ubiquitous surveillance.

Indeed, given the known or yet unknown implications and scope of big data surveillance, whether done outright unconstitutionally or clad as consumer data collection at a supermarket checkout, our rights and freedoms in the broadest sense need to be at the core of any discussion of it, rather than vague derivations of privacy protection on an individual basis. The latter only means stepping on a playfield that surveillance actors seem to be eager to create in order to hijack the public discourse on the dimensions of unlawfulness.

The state and corporations have been attempting at setting the stage for discussion of an elusive harmless version of the matter, instead of the giant surveillance (control) machinery itself, drawing attention away from the unilaterally posed threat by state-private complicity to citizenship and freedoms of a constitution-based society.

We people are on a new terrain, obviously. Here it is no more about the secrets and intimacies that used to be selectively kept away by us in relations with our immediate surrounding. As regards the interviewees in the referred article, I tend to think of this as the reason for their confusions or varied degrees of permissiveness in privacy-centered questions; not knowing what they were faced with, hence, understandably, evaluating the act in terms of their customary perception of personal privacy. Inferring from the fact that the author’s submission of the paper dates at the pre-Snowden times, the interviewees’ answers and comments can with reasonable certainty be expected to have been highly altered since.

‘I have nothing to hide’

The same state of not knowing what to make of the newly emerged situation possibly manifested itself in this known stance for a time. This hinted at a lack of orientation to correlate the hidden capabilities of the giant machinery with their possible outcomes for the life as one knew it. before Mr. Snowden exposed the naked truth and instantly spurred this correlation on the part of people, the surveillance mechanisms evidently implanted and operational in different facets of our lives were regularly reported by organizations like EFF and FSF, yet did not present a warning that was tangible enough for many to prompt a collective action at large.

The objective and subjective privacy conceptions mentioned in the article seem to point to the same missing element: the bigger picture. the state deliberately keeps it out of its surveillance-compatible tale of make-believe privacy protection. whereas the citizens used to be unable to make an accurate, realistic assessment of it, due to the absence of its full scale from their sight.

All took place in transparency asymmetry, as the author duly refers. The underlying technology has been devised and used to gain asymmetric information advantage over people, the ends ranging from economic to oppressive, as Edward Snowden revealed, ‘these programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation’.

Stating that one has nothing to hide presupposes a knowledge of the whole purpose and scope of surveillance. Zealous extensive debate within the confines of individuality reinforces this deluded view. Whereas, in fact, the nature of the problem requires societal action.

terms of service, privacy policy & co.

the dual existence of these shop-window placebos of juristic personae and the invisible, ever-growing big time breach of law guaranteeing civic rights and freedoms is a vivid analogy in making the distinction between the official discourse on privacy protection and its alibi role in the desire to mask the perpetuation of control. We’ve been conned all along.

One remembers those uproars each time facebook changed its TOS in what was regarded as blatant violation of privacy..The article concludes with the rightful statement that a sanctified notion of individuality is a clear obstacle to grasp and act on violations that pose a threat on a public level. Another cited scholar says, “the idea of an ‘invasion of privacy’ has actually become too limited to account for what turned out to be a worrying and recurring issue of modern life”. we need to assert our right to transparency and to have full command and knowledge of systems affecting our lives, and design ones that do not spy on us. Any other talk of ‘control over own privacy’ merely reproduces officially crafted narratives, in other words, is outright fictional. 


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