A Collapse of Privacy

I wrote a piece for Quartz, about how the chang­ing roles and norms of pri­va­cy cre­at­ed unex­pect­ed fault lines in our pol­i­tics:

The ear­ly promise of the inter­net was that some­one would not need to be best friends with their phys­i­cal neigh­bors in order to be part of a com­mu­ni­ty. And indeed, for mar­gin­al­ized peo­ple like LGBT chil­dren strug­gling with unac­cept­ing par­ents, the inter­net was a god­send. Sud­den­ly there were spaces for new types of com­mu­ni­ties, and indeed many peo­ple expe­ri­ence stronger friend­ships with online friends than peo­ple they know in real life…

Shift­ing our lives online also lead to a fright­en­ing loss of pri­va­cy. It used to take a tremen­dous amount of resources and time to learn about a com­mu­ni­ty: intense anthro­po­log­i­cal stud­ies, embed­ded research­ing, sur­veys, and even phys­i­cal sur­veil­lance. Now our dig­i­tal foot­prints, which doc­u­ment what we buy, when and why we mes­sage our friends, where we trav­el, who we know, and even what we mas­tur­bate to, are indexed in mas­sive data­bas­es avail­able to the high­est bid­der.

This rever­sal of pri­va­cy in our soci­ety has cre­at­ed fault lines that were just wait­ing to be exploit­ed.

Read the rest over at Quartz.

Joshua Foust used to be a foreign policy maven. Now he helps organizations communicate strategically and build audiences.