Control, not privacy


In the discussions re privacy, there seems to be only two alternatives: Absolute privacy, with any individual holding complete, total and continuous control over who gets to see (not take in) any data point that may be, even in the remotest of ways, be recombined into anything useful for anyone – or Absolutely no privacy, everything being considered lost anyway and all one’s data being out there somewhere.

Which creates not some binary future state, but a bandwidth on which we should be able to choose. Because it is not privacy that people are concerned about, but the loss of control once data slips out of your hands. That is why everyone is so concerned when TLAs are found out to collect so much data on everyone (they have tried, and partially succeeeded, already for decades; nottoo many people were concerned) or when (not if) yet another credit card data processor looses some backup tapes. It is not the privacy in itself (one passes off the credit card number (and CVC) happily to just any unchecked device), it is not being able to get the data ‘back’, not being able to track the use in all the enormous amount of systems one knows is out there handling your data. Those systems ranging all the way from the benign to the crooked, always …

What we should have, then, is some mechanism by which we would be able to transparently and trasitively (sic) release the data we must (in order to get some service in return), and be rewarded for any data other parties earn money with (they are using your resource!), and not more. We’ll have control back; all we wanted.
Anything else, and we’ll end up in one of both extremes. To our own extreme detriment.

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