Is Privacy Possible?

Notes From The Anonymous World:
Are private hearts safe
in the modern world?

I often let my pen slide over the page or let my fingers dance on the keys, starting with some seed idea, perhaps an unfinished line or a set of key words. Free-form writing then floods the screen or page with images and words, often complete in themselves with rarely any need or desire to edit what appears. It is an exercise in self-awareness, a revelation of my unconscious worries and wisdom.

This piece was seeded by the line: "Notes From An Anonymous World." It was likely spurred from being the victim of fraud recently, requiring that I close my primary checking account. I am still dealing with the repercussions after a month. Fortunately, I caught the matter early enough to prevent too much damage.  Anyone who has had a home invasion or an account hacked knows the feeling of vulnerability and the loss  of a sense of safety. 

Privacy is more unlikely than ever in the digital universe where signals can be intercepted by unseen agents clued in to our systems without our knowledge: agents who can commandeer our cameras and open our accounts; who use algorithms to collect our interest and target us for their purposes based on what we want and what we fear; who can penetrate out lives behind the scenes and from across the world, breaking and entering our homes without ever shattering glass or picking door locks; and who do not need to lurk on dark corners in the cold or hang out in cars for hours cataloguing our habits and routines. 

© Nick LeForce
All Rights Reserved

Please share your thoughts
and comments below.

We are well-know to the world, regardless of our wishes. We are more fiercely watched than George Orwell ever imagined and so far beyond 1984 that the cameras of Orwell’s dystopia are laughable. No club thrown at the corporate screen can break the veil pulled over our senses. We have invited the spies and silent intruders into our lives. And this was mostly made possible, ironically, by the very company, Apple, that claimed to shatter the shackles of big brother!  Now, we leave electronic fingerprints everywhere, with every click of the keyboard and every stroke of the mouse, with every update in our automated homes from our programmed refrigerators, our ambient lights, and our bluetooth doorknobs; with every email we create and every app we use. All the binary bits of our lives add into a personal profile, a coded dossier that 1950’s spy agencies would have killed to get.  

Our online presence is easy pickin' for those with sinister nets no matter how well we live our lives, how closely we stay within the lines, or how innocent we may claim to be or may actually be. In the long ago, when people lived in small villages where everyone knew each other’s name, we could guess the tattletales and snips who put our lives on trial. Now, it can be anyone, anywhere, hidden in the invisible tangle of a digital jungle; anyone with web tracking skill and a command of code, anyone capable of backdoor hacks into our systemic lives; anyone can steal our face, cage our lives, put us in the hands of authorities either for protection or arrest, or send us off on a tormented journey to restore our damaged reputations and reclaim our lost resources. 

Now we are on the breach of a new wave of willing intrusion in wearable tech and cyborg biology. We already have prosthetics that link artificial limbs to neural signals allowing those who lost a leg to walk, that turn glasses into cameras that help the blind to see, devices that can read our physiology and turn it into signals used to pilot planes. All these great blessings come with a dark side. I am told that we may soon have technology that can read our thoughts and display the contents; that can show the images we see inside, repeat the inner dialogue, meant only for ourselves, to any listening ear. In other words, we are close to breaking the last barrier to the onslaught against intrusion, close to penetrating the last bastion of personal privacy. 

What is your take on privacy in the modern world?
How vulnerable do you feel to intrusion?
What do you do to protect yourself?