What Makes You Care About Online Privacy?

Photo by Dayne Topkin

I am very concerned about privacy on a micro-scale. Case in point: when I was in high school, I left a note from a friend in my coat pocket. Then, months later, when my dad was moving coats around he came across the note, opened it, and left it on the kitchen counter. I flipped out. I was SO MAD that he thought it was okay to open up ANY piece of paper he found in MY coat!!! And then leave it LAYING AROUND??? For ANYONE to read??? FURY!!!

These days, I may not react in quite so much fury, but if someone took it upon themselves to give more than a cursory glance to the notebook I fill with a combination of bland to do lists, writing brainstorms, and super-personal journal entries (which may or may not also be bland, but more intimately so), I would be pretty upset.

And yet, I don't feel any particular concern that, say, Cambridge Analytica may have accessed my Facebook data for an election that was not my own. Or that an unknown number of other companies may have done the same for their own nefarious means.

I know intellectually that it's all is pretty bad, but it doesn't get me in my emotions, and I feel no impulse to delete my Facebook page or really do anything differently. Okay, I did go and double-check which apps have permission to access my account and delete a few. That's it.

If I reacted with outrage at a totally innocuous note being revealed to my immediate family (something that I am no longer angry about, but I still think was a violation of my privacy), then why don't I care about a corporation that may have illegally farmed my data to create psychographic profiles in order to swing an election?

Okay, here is something: if something happened and other PEOPLE could read my private messages on Facebook, that would be pretty darn upsetting. But a company capturing and analyzing the data that is already, at least somewhat, publicly available? Meh.

I think I should care about this. Do you care about this? What specifically makes you angry in this situation?

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