Privacy is overrated. The problems with the discourse around privacy are framing¹ (cached meanings of words in the minds of the populace) and pre-conceived guilt, resulting in secrecy by the data-collecting party.
- Two things:
(i) The regular use of words within certain contexts biases their meanings.
(ii) Deliberate framing: death tax vs inheritance tax, pro choice vs pro life, undocumented immigrants vs illegal aliens.
Surveillance by the state, and data collection by big orgs are means to information gathering. In the case of the state, to ensure security — of all kinds, and of all things within its territory. In the case of big organizations to (i) learn about the user so as to improve the product, and (ii), learn about the user to recommend better ads.
So, if the intentions are good, why is everyone wary of data collection by central organizations? The problem people have with constant surveillance or collection of data is creepiness, in three parts:
Any organization surveiling/data-collecting needs to re-define the discourse and attempt to shift the framing. They cannot admit to surveillance/collection of data. ‘Admitting to’ a thing already frames you as guilty. They need to get in front of the inevitable leak to the general public by:
(i) Explaining what they do and why they need to do it. They cannot call it ‘surveillance’. The cached meaning of ‘surveillance’ in the minds of the people is … erm … not good. They need to invent a new phrase. Cc: ‘global warming’ needed to be jetissoned for ‘climate change’.
(ii) Designing only non-creepy data gathering methods.
(iii) Doing whatever they need data collection for greatly, building trust from the get-go, and never deliberately violating it.