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.

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