Privacy Idolatry

There is no privacy, so get used to it.

This is not the counsel of nihilism and despair, but of cynicism. You do not have privacy, particularly involving electronic communications. Start with that as your bottom line. As previously noted on this blog many times, the language of “rights” will get you nowhere. Let’s start with what actually happens.

The idea is not to claim some right to privacy, as if that’s a magic wand you can wave over your personal affairs. That is idolatry and doesn’t work. What works is assuming your privacy is compromised already and looking for ways to protect things that really matter. What can you actually do about it?

The price of reclaiming your privacy escalates quickly. You must decide how much you are willing to pay, in terms of both resources and effort, to get what you feel you must have. And the context itself is shifting, so you have to keep track of your personal target. As time goes on, you will lose more and more privacy, so be realistic with your goals.

Use encryption where it matters. Using it routinely will be a lot of work, both for you and for all of your correspondents. And keeping track of passwords and other keys to your privacy is becoming a major task. In order for them to work at all, they must be strong passwords, and a different key for each item. So be aware that encryption can become a silly obsession, and use it when it matters.

Given the legal climate in the US, you can be compelled to give up your passwords and keys, and the amount of hassle it causes the government is also quickly vanishing. Court precedents are marching in favor of the government every day.

Get used to this. Don’t let it stress you out; just be aware of it. This life is supposed to suck; otherwise, divine revelation and redemption mean nothing.

About Ed Hurst

Avid cyclist, Disabled Veteran, Bible History teacher, and wannabe writer; retired.
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