Should Privacy Be a Right?

A bit of a departure for me, but something that is very close to my heart, Privacy I don’t mean people not knowing what I look like on here or the fact that I choose to put pictures and my opinions on the internet for all to see, I mean the data that I do not choose to share, the buried tracking cookies, the carefully worded “terms and conditions” that essentially boil down to you agreeing to being tracked and profiled in order to use a service, and when that service is Google or Facebook, it is difficult to make the decision to not agree and to walk away from the service because they have become so ingrained in our society, life can genuinely be difficult without them.

I want to deal immediately with the first argument that people come up with when faced with this point “if you have nothing to hide what is the problem?” the problem is that I do not want to share ever aspect of my life and if you think about it I bet neither do you, secondly I want to choose what I allow people to know about me and my family, and third I want to know what information is being gathered about me and how much care the organisations that have that data are taking over it.

I work in network security and as such have always been one of the “tin foil hat brigade” because when you understand the nature of a thing you see just how powerful it actually is, that said the event that triggered my latest rant had me baffled as to the mechanism in the background that allowed the transfer of data, and it concerns the setting up of an account with the same avatar that I have on here, I like a lot of people run Plex media server at home, it is run on a local server not in the cloud and has three accounts on it, I will not name the site that this happened on and have only named Plex as it is important to understand that this was a local server, I created an account on the other site and added the avatar, the next time I went to log into Plex it had updated my profile picture (previously blank) to the new avatar, there is no discernible connection between the two and to this day the way it pulled that information is a mystery.

The Giants of the tech world log and track our lives By Default removing our ability to be in control of our own information, they use this information to shape the world we see and as we become more and more dependant on social media and devices to run our everyday lives algorithms are working in the background make sure we never see something that doesn’t interest us, but think about that for a minute, if we never see anything that they think would not interest us and the knowledge they have is only built from things that we have searched for or looked at previously then where is the diversity? where is the random nature that makes humans so interesting, all our visual cues while online will be similar and our browsing experience will be shaped to appeal to what the system thinks we want.

Computers like uniformity, they thrive in a binary predictable environment where an action equals a programmatic and logical response, and of course it is a marketers dream, consistent advertisements, news stories suggested feeds and search results that all point to a single direction will ultimately push an individual into a course of action even if the only reason is frustration at the seeming lack of options.

The boom in devices for children that require an account to tailor the results and media to the younger audience simply means that this cataloguing of the human race begins earlier, and our children provide information without a care in the world, a slightly more sinister way of looking at is with the ability to shape the content that they consume it is not a major stretch before you arrive at the ability to condition and influence an individual or in the case of YouTube and Facebook, a generation effectively allowing tech companies to provide the generation of the future, and the Best case scenario for this is that they shape consumerism, the worst case doesn’t even bear thinking about.

So the question really isn’t about privacy being a right, or about the ISP knowing what websites we are going to, it is far deeper and more fundamental than that, it is about the right to live your life as you see fit, to have the ability and the information at your hands that makes you equal to your fellow man both in freedom and opportunity, it is allowing your children to grow and choose their paths through their own experience and curiosity not through a pre-programmed journey based upon an unseen authorities view on what they should become.

I guess that for the most part this post is really “my two cents” but I urge anybody that has even a passing thought that I may have a point, to just look at the videos and content that is popular among your children, or take more notice at the lack of deviation in advertising on social media that you see as well as the difficulty in trying to search for a topic outside of your normal interest on Google, look past the inconvenience and think about the long term consequence.

You can’t hit an invisible target so how do you expect to reach an invisible goal?

So the first thing that I started to think about was “what makes a Superhuman?” and here we have the first of many questions that are completely personal in their reply, however there is a certain amount of commonality when considering this question, it is easy to say that a Superhuman has some extraordinary power or trait that sets them apart from the rest of the human race, but as we are nearly all slaves to the Hollywood machine that is about as far as it goes, they can usually fly and see through walls and lift cars as if they were toys,

as tempting as this was for me to be able to aspire too I was painfully aware that I was never going to fly without a plane wrapped round me and I am far to old to start trying pick up cars!

No I had to dig deeper into the question, for me (and it will inevitably be different for most people) a Superhuman had several traits, physical fitness, a caring selfless personality and financial freedom enough that they could live their life without the stress of money and enrich the lives through education and security of our children and loved ones, and it should be noted that at the beginning of this journey I tick none of the boxes.

More History

I realised sometime before my first catalysing event that I had to change my life but I did not look any further than the need for more money, what I didn’t realise was that I was looking for the wrong commodity, you see money in itself is pointless, money unspent is simply paper at most and a number on a screen at it’s least, if your figure is only double digits and you are unhappy then unless you change your environment that figure can become ten digits or more and you will still be unhappy.

I wandered from business idea to business idea with no direction and no idea of what I was looking to achieve as a result I gained nothing, sure I did get a better job but due to lack of purpose or goal I simply grew quickly into the increased income with no change in environment and thus stayed unhappy.

One observation that I did make at the time was that I never had any idea if what I was doing was getting me anywhere or not, progress through any scheme wasn’t quantifiable, I have now realised in retrospect that this was a direct result of having no end goal, ask yourself this, if you set off out of the house with no destination in mind how do you know how close you are? simple you don’t ! and I didn’t and so I wasted years just aimlessly existing and making no progress at all.

Time to Stop the waffle and make my point!

So I sat down and actually looked at my life, took stock of what was making me unhappy and used that to formulate my goals, they were as follows

  • Physical Fitness (I was hugely overweight)
  • Financial Security for me and my Family (we were broke)
  • Time with the people I love and for myself (I spent most of my time working for a pittance and trying out ideas to make a million)

The way I worked this out was to start at the top, what life would look like if I could wave a magic wand and change all that was wrong overnight, then slowly methodically working back from the top identifying what life needs to be before I can move onto the next stage, the process was long but I eventually had the issues in the brackets above, and the goals without brackets.

Now, there is no magic wand, no five minute montage to inspirational music, and here’s a real kicker nobody is going to help you (at least not for free)

So I encourage you to do the same, and before you start remember some key points to help you keep motivated along the way,

Concentrate on moving Forward

Anything in the past is in the past, this is true of any event that has gone before, agnostic of it being positive or negative we cannot turn back the clock we can and should only ever move forward, sometimes that will clearing up mistakes of the past, and that is perfectly fine, in fact the lack of courage to admit past mistakes is what holds a lot of us back, and of course facing the pain of whatever we need to do to fix the mistakes, I tell you something, it certainly kept me back for a lot of years.

You have not failed

A person can only be regarded as a failure if they do not get back up, on your journey, as in mine there will be things that do not go exactly as planned, that is life not a reflection of your effort, and it affects as us all, you have already begun to fight back by looking for an alternative to your current situation.

Don’t forget the cliche

You get out what you put in, it is old and far from original but it is true, 100 percent effort will give 100 percent return, careful though cos 1 percent effort will give 1 percent return, be vary wary of people offering quick fixes to all your problems.

Quick reminder

I am sharing my journey because I fell into every trap and went down nearly every rabbit hole before I learnt how to start putting my life back together, while I will never charge anybody directly for my musings through subscription or such, I do fully intend to make as much money as possible from advertising and affiliate schemes, and I completely encourage anybody to do the same.