I’m not an advocate of privacy; I’m an advocate of being open to the world. You’ve got to understand, I was born and grew up in the ’90s, which was during the internet revolution – the mainstreaming of email over snail mail, online search queries over sifting throughout libraries, etc. Cell phones were starting to become popular in the late ’90s because people wanted direct communication with their friends and loved ones.
The idea of going back during a time in which privacy was actually achievable isn’t an option for me. I refuse to live in a world where family had no idea where their loved ones were; in a world where we had to decide days, if not weeks, ahead of time to decide when to send a letter to whomever living out-of-state or out-of-country; in a world where the concept of a community was localized in small sections, and hardly ever adhered to diversity.
In my house we have a large cabinet in the den. In this cabinet are mostly VHS tapes (VH what? Yes, VHS tapes!).These tapes are blank tapes which were used to record our life over the years, from the ’80s to the ’90s. That was our means of maintaining memory of our lives, privacy be damned. And you know what? We weren’t the only ones who did this!
Privacy was a given those days. Figuring out ways in getting the world to know you, however, was a struggle. Today is much different; today is the result of millions of people who wished to publicize their lives during the “right to privacy” era – a rebellion, of sorts. When I think of privacy, I think of what we were and the struggles we had to go through, not what we are today or what we should become.
There are some anarchists that remain, however, who’ve made it their mission to try and push the once-normative desire to dodge cameras. News flash: cameras are everywhere! They’re on our streets, in our lights, in our stores, in our cell phones, by our gaming consoles, in our glasses! Dodging a camera today is like trying to dodge waves during a tsunami. Instead of trying to find real solutions to addressing the surveillance state, we conjure up paranoid conspiracy theories and try pushing bills which’ll ban people from gaining access to the surveillance state themselves.
What is needed is what many before me have argued for as well, from Steve Mann to David Brin: neither a surveillance state nor a flawed “privacy for all” state, but a sousveillance state! We’ve got to let go of this archaic notion that privacy is still achievable in the digital age without negative ramifications as a result. Instead of trying to pull the cameras away from “the man,” provide open-source access to the surveillance state to everyone! Some states in the U.S. are already pushing sousveillance laws, forcing police officers to wear shoulder-mounted cameras, to address corruption.
That is our future! That is, if we abandon the absurd idea of privacy over a globally interconnected community. Don’t like the surveillance state? Then demand for a sousveillance state!
More info on sousveillance:
Articles of mine regarding privacy and cameras: