So there’s an article in Forbes right now about The Hidden Cost of Privacy. It makes an interesting point which dovetail with my own thoughts about privacy in the corporate age. The article argues that most privacy laws achieve very little and actually desensitize the consumer: “On the one hand, laws designed to keep consumers apprised of privacy issues have resulted in a deluge of privacy notices, consent forms and security alerts into mailboxes, both real and electronic. You can’t see a doctor, sign up for a bank account or visit a Web site without collecting your share of this paperwork. Rather than making people more private, though, the torrent of notifications leaves most of them so desensitized that they stop caring.”
I completely agree with this. Nobody reads the privacy statements or terms of service when they sign up. As I argue in the Peep Diaries book and elsewhere, it’s not even clear we care about privacy at all, given how willing we are to trade it for attention, services and/or financial rewards. We’re also pretty eager to trade privacy for what we think might be greater personal protection in the form of surveillance.
Privacy officers at corporations are there to...
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