Rest in Peace, Privacy

Are there audio or video calls and recordings; personal biometric data; phone sms, social media chats or comments; shared and/or viewed articles, sites, photos or videos which you are worried of falling into the wrong hands or leaking to the public?

“If you have something you don’t want anyone to know, may be you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.“ That is the privacy setting of google, a noun that has become a verb.

With dictatorship of algorithms, privacy is the greatest casuality because it impedes against the business models of digital capitalism. Sun Microsystems‘ CEO, Scoth McNealy was emphatic when he said 19 years ago, “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.“ For Mark Zuckerberg, privacy should not be counted again as a social norm.

To understand curent economic model, take a look at google. Ordinarily, google as a search engine ought to be a noun but with over one billion searches a day using 450, 000 servers, it has imposed itself as deity to be consulted in every affair of man; hence, at least inquiry, the advice of friends is always: ‘google it.‘ Google has become a verb.

Today, google’s model is “Don’t be evil.“ Intel CEO, Andy Grove, onced called google, “a company on steriods with a finger in every industry“ Worth more than 200 billion dollars, it has in the last nine years annexed 30 companies with more than 187 patents with investment interests in software development, healthcare, biotechnology, cable connection and even in electricity that empowers your devices.

Google has colonized your phone, your email, your computer, your online life, your entertainment and news. Google wants to track from your bedroom to toliet, storing online for at least 18 months the record of everything you view, places you go, mails you write and receive, the calories you burn or add. Google gossips about your social media friendship and wants access to your health records and DNA. To be carried along, Google wants to know who and where you are, what you do and what you want; it wants you to surround your privacy.

Privacy concerns appeared first in the Garden of Eden episode. God had created first parents, Adam and Eve. God knew everything about them but they were said to be free. Adam and Eve sensed a consipracy, employed a bypass. Literally, they signed out of Eden’s wifi and sorted for their privacy. Since Adam went into hiding, man continually has built complex privacy structures with laws guiding them.

The new business model is reversing it by invading into our privacy. The digital capitalists assume the status of God demanding not avoidance of a particular tree of knwoledge but total surrender of personal secrets. With only one-sided dialogue like in Eden, they have transformed into iGods and subjected all digital natives under their sovereignty.

The iGods have invaded our bodies, our social interactions, shattering our homes and bedrooms which once stood as ivory coasts of privacy.  The once-private, closed-door acts are now available to commercial data collection, state surveillance and half-decent hackers. By consigning privacy to the pastoral past, they declared it dead.

But, it is not all bad; the death of privacy could pave ways for moral rejuvenation. Adam sought his privacy when he did evil because evil has perchant for privacy. If privacy is destroyed, evil loses its power.

Per chance, we might start ethical reconstruction by imbibing the maxim of google’s former CEO, Eric Schmidth: “If you have something you don’t want anyone to know, may be you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.“ Kiss good bye to privacy!