Over the last month, thought leader and founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, Rick Falkvinge, has been publishing a 21-post blog series about privacy rights in the digital age.
The blog, titled 'Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights: Our children should have the same rights as our parents' looks at how privacy slips through the fingers of the individual in the transition to digital.
Falkvinge questions to what extent liberty and privacy have been lost over three generations, from walking around town untracked to never knowing who's behind the 'third party' that's storing and analysing your personal data every time you buy (or almost buy) something online.
But the author goes one step further, he asks the readers a sobering question, who defends your right to make an anonymous political statement now that for authorities to find something they could use against you, they simply have to look back into your records, regardless of whether or not their findings would have been a problem at the time...
...The key takeaway is clear — it's not the slightest bit unreasonable that our children should have at least the same set of civil liberties and our parents, and today, they don't. They don't at all.
...our parents could buy a newspaper on the corner with some change. They would read a newspaper without anybody neither knowing that they bought or read it. As opposed to our children, where it is carefully logged which newspapers they read, when, what articles, in what order, and for how long – and perhaps worst, what action they took right afterward, and whether it looked caused by reading the last article they read.
"It’s a matter of liberty and self-determination."
Ah yes, cash at the newsstand. Cash anywhere, in fact. Several countries are trying to abolish cash, making all transactions traceable. Is a card more convenient? Maybe. But it’s not safer. Every purchase is logged. Worse, every almost-purchase of our children is also logged, something that would be inconceivable in the world of our parents. Even worse, every purchase is also permissioned, and can be denied by a third party...
The 11th post of Rick Falkvinge's privacy series is devoted to the Cash Debate and the dangers of trackable and permissioned debit cards [for] our children. While convenient, it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
This ability of our parents – the ability to conduct decentralized, secure transactions anonymously – has been all but lost in a landscape that keeps pushing card payments for convenience. The convenience of not paying upfront, with credit cards; the convenience of always paying an exact amount, with debit cards; the convenience of not needing to carry and find exact amounts with every purchase. Some could even argue that having every transaction listed on a bank statement is a convenience of accounting.
"But with accounting comes tracking. With tracking comes predictability and unwanted accountability."
It’s been said that a VISA executive can predict a divorce one year ahead of the parties involved, based on changes in purchase patterns. Infamously, a Target store was targeting a high school-aged woman with maternity advertising, which at first made her father furious: but as things turned out, the young woman was indeed pregnant. Target knew, and her own father didn’t...
China is taking the concept one step further...
Falkvinge, Rick. "Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights: Our children should have the same rights as our parents (1/21)". Privacy Online News. Electronically published December 26, 2017. Accessed January 15, 2018.
Falkvinge, Rick. "Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights: Our children should have the same rights as our parents (11/21)". Privacy Online News. Electronically published January 15, 2018. Accessed January 15, 2018.
Rick Falkvinge is Head of Privacy at Private Internet Access. He is also the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, travelling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. Additionally, he has a tech entrepreneur background and loves good whisky and fast motorcycles.