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 ó 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 ó 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 | del.icio.us | 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 ")

iBubble Scuba Drone Follower
'Hovered behind him like a large tame bee...' - Karen Traviss, 2004.

'Eye In The Sky' Movie Borrows 35, 80 Year-Old SF
SF writers don't have a problem seeing decades into the future.

Voice-Recognition Door DIY
'Almost all our locks are phonographic.' - Clement Fezandie, 1921.

The Eye Is Watching! Samsung Gear 360 Camera
'It scooped up the eye that had been witnessing its activities.' - Robert Silverberg, 1969.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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

SuperMeat - Crowdfunding Pohl/Kornbluth's Chicken Little
'Chicken Little, who would be sliced and packed to feed people from Baffinland to Little America.'

Martian-Grown Food Might Be Fine
'I donít want to come off as arrogant here, but Iím the best botanist on the planet.'

MARLO Robot Attempts Wave Field
'It is apparent that he will walk before his human brother.'

3RDiTEK Lifeblogging Headband Camera
'It's logging anyway - everything you see on duty goes into the black box.'

3D-Printed Biohybrid Is A Tissue-Engineered Robot
'The directing neurological tissue that forms the basis of the swibble is alive...'

Steerable Locusts Detect Explosives
Science fiction writers again provide a blueprint for the future.

No Human Drivers By 2040 - Israel
'It's been a criminal offense,,, to drive manually on a public highway.'

Graphene Ultracapacitor Airships For Heavy Lifting
'The war-balloons were to be kept for purposes of transportation of heavy articles...'

Uber Hires Robot Security Guard
'The robot studied the identification clip.'

Mind-Altering Drugs Administered Deep Into The Brain
'Happy to serve!'

Are There Diamond Planets?
'I believe the whole central portion of the earth is one great diamond.'

Robot Lawyers And Robot Judges Now Everywhere
'The law clerk arrived, a smallish robot with a battered stainless steel hide and dull coppery features.'

Roam-e Flying Selfie Drone Cam
'Tight mid-shot and pull out on but behind me...'

Chemputer To Grow Bespoke Drones Through Chemistry
'These are your rudimentary seed packages...'

Walmart Shopping Cart Robots Will Follow You
'...the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws...'

DoNotPay Lawyer Program Contests Parking Tickets
'I want my lawyer program.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.