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A world without privacy: Inconceivable
or a blessing? The post-privacy
movement under the microscope

“You don't
have
  • Mi data es tu data – my data is your data: One could say that this expression summarizes the idea behind the post-privacy movement, according to which everyone soon loses their privacy in a world of increasing connectivity. A frightening vision of the future? "You don't have any privacy anyway. Get over it," said the former co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Scott McNealy, to a group of reporters as he introduced the company's "Jini" technology. That was back in 1999, mind you. The mere idea caused quite a stir even then. And today the issue of privacy is more topical than ever. Eric Schmidt, the long-time head of Google, said in a 2010 interview with James Bennet: "With your permission you give us information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches. We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about." Even the head of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, thinks that "privacy is old school." That today Facebook and Google probably know us even better than we know ourselves is illustrated by Ben in our interview about the transparent user.
  • The post-privacy movement believes that there's no's way to prevent the ongoing elimination of data protection and privacy in an era of connectivity. Christian Heller, author of the book „Prima Leben ohne Privatsphäre“ ("Live well without privacy") believes that data protection is to some degree obsolete. Rather than insist on data protection, we should instead accept the shifting privacy borders and view this as an opportunity to become a better society. In a world in which everyone shares everything with each other, there's no longer any fear of nakedness. In
  • essence, this is the post-privacy movement. Could a society without privacy actually be superior to the traditional one? Will we become better people if each person knows everything about everyone? For example, knowing when someone goes through a red light - as it is already happening in the Chinese city of Jinan, by the way. They use facial recognition software and cameras - and a notice is sent to the employer along with a photo. After all, since the measure was implemented in Jinan, fewer people have died from accidents at intersections.
privacy anyway.
  • Or, in complete contrast, would a fully transparent world without privacy be a psychological strain on us all? One where we would live under constant supervision and with the constant worry that we could only survive by adapting our lives perfectly, just like in the screen adaptation of Dave Egger's "The Circle"? Would a world in which each person knows everything about everyone really lead to more equal treatment? Or would it lead, in contrast, to more marginalization and discrimination?
  • Regardless of your views, there is one thing we must not forget: our data could still remain stored tomorrow as well. It is uncertain who in the future will swallow or hack an app or online service or make it bankrupt. Nor do we know which parties will come to power. Not to mention whether our collected data will then be processed to our benefit. Or whether the temptation to misuse it for political or financial purposes is too great. Whether we'll then have the opportunity to definitively delete our data is questionable. Since May 25, 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation at least offers individuals within the European Union a right to be forgotten as well as a right to erasure. The law obliges businesses to erase personal data upon informal request, or even to erase it automatically once its storage is no longer necessary for its original purpose.
Get over it” Scott McNealy, former cofound of Sun Microsystems

Media, sure! But secure.

Education is everything! That's all the more true for protecting our privacy online. With the initiative „Media, sure! But secure.“ we help people learning how to handle digital media competently and safely, especially in relation to privacy. More about the project here.

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