Is Privacy Too Expensive?

I don't know if you ever think about your privacy, but if you do, you realize that it is getting scarce - and maybe, expensive.

LAST year, I spent more than $2,200 and countless hours trying to protect my privacy.

Some of the items I bought a $230 service that encrypted my data in the Internet cloud; a $35 privacy filter to shield my laptop screen from coffee-shop voyeurs; and a $420 subscription to a portable Internet service to bypass untrusted connections protect me from criminals and hackers. Other products, like a $5-a-month service that provides me with disposable email addresses and phone numbers, protect me against the legal (but, to me, unfair) mining and sale of my personal data.

In our data-saturated economy, privacy is becoming a luxury good...

This quote is from an interesting recent NYTimes article ("Has Privacy Become a Luxury Good?").

Science fiction writers have thought about it - writers like Philip K. Dick was obsessed with it. For several hundred highly focused and relevant links, take a look at my section on Surveillance in Science Fiction. Here are some choice bits:

But I'm more interested in whether or not we can do something about it. Isaac Asimov described an anti-spying device in his 1951 novel Foundation.

Fans of William Gibson may recall that privacy was very expensive indeed in the world of his 1984 novel :

[He] saw that it was a solid sandwich of circuitry, nearly a centimeter thick. He helped the man lift it and position it in the doorway. Quick, nicotine-stained fingers secured it with a white velcro border. A hidden exhaust fan began to purr.

"Time," the man said, straightening up, 'and counting. You know the rate, Moll..."

"... we'll want full screen for as long as we want it."

"Hey, that's fine by the Finn, Moll. You're only paying by the second."

They sealed the door behind him, and Molly turned one of the white chairs around and sat on it, chin resting on crossed forearms. "We talk now. This is as private as I can afford."
(Read about Gibson's privacy screen)

I don't think I recall any sf authors (or anyone) predicting that we ourselves would be the source of the problem. The biggest cost to privacy today is what you'd need to give up to have the privacy you wanted:

  • No cell phones
    They track your position to within a hundred feet or so. And of course there is the metadata from your phone calls, not to mention the content of the calls. Add to that your texting, pictures and so forth.
  • No credit cards
    Your credit card transactions provide endless trackable bits of information about you and about how your tastes have evolved over your adult life, not to mention where you've lived and traveled.
  • No cities, no towns
    Too many CCTV cameras associated with businesses, ATMs, gas stations, etc.
I'm sure there are many other examples.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/5/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

Airnest Drone Flight Logging Tool
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'- Jack Williamson, 1931.

Snap Specs - Snapchat Spectacles - Are Video Glasses
'The old woman laid her wire-knitting aside and fixed them with the bug-eyed, opaque gape...' David Brin, 1990.

Bradbury's Method Used In Search For Bombing Suspect
'He imagined thousands on thousands of faces peering into yards, into alleys...' - Ray Bradbury, 1953.

Drone 100, Coordinated Drone Performance Team
'The real border was... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.



Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.






Current News

GyroGlove Idea For Parkinson's Was Suggested In 1926
'The gyroscope was revolving at the rate of three thousand revolutions a minute, and the slight humming was hardly noticeable...'

Otto Self-Driving Truck Kit Delivers Budweiser Beer
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

Airnest Drone Flight Logging Tool
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'

Untethered Drone Gets Wireless Power
'We'll use my 'broomstick'.'

ESA Plans Akon Projectile To Europa ala Jules Verne
'... might [it] not be possible to project a shot up to the moon?'

Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.

Shape-Memory Metal Transforms Millions Of Times
'Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'

Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...'

How Can Amazon Patent A Voice-Controlled Drone?
''Tight mid-shot...' he told it.'

'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'

proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...'

Robots And AIs Will Replace Humans At 7 Percent Of U.S. Jobs
'And Mike took on endless new jobs.'

Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
'Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs...'

FEDOR Humanoid Robot To Join Russians In Space
Am enjoying view of Russian robot.

BMW Self-Balancing Motorcycle - Never Put Feet On Road
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

MicroTug Is A Micro Robot Beast
'And it had been dragging something...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.