John Lennon’s birthday was October 9th. He would have been 74 years old this year. His iconic song, “Give Peace a Chance,” (which you can listen to here) became an anthem for the antiwar movement and a positive plea for peace and open mindedness. In a time when the U.S. military industrial complex seemed like an insurmountable force and the Vietnam War seemed like it would never end, Lennon’s message of idealism helped millions combat their own apathy and consider the possibility of taking action to change the status quo.
We face a similar challenge now in terms of our own privacy and control over our personal information, but there’s no reason we have to allow our apathy to permit a post-privacy era to take hold. In fact, let’s look to Lennon’s message for inspiration: Let’s give privacy a chance.
We can live in a world where technology continues to advance and privacy remains protected, but it is up to us to choose that world. It means raising our privacy awareness and making mindful choices when we share our personal information online. It means becoming champions for privacy and influencing others to respect our privacy rights. “Give privacy a chance” can be an anthem for the Privacy for Humans movement.
The pro-peace movement in the 20th century centered on building common bonds across ethnic, socioeconomic, and political backgrounds. Organizing was key to bringing about serious social change, as was education on peaceful protest, the effects of the war, and the powerful forces invested in (and profiting from) the war. Just as it was then, the best way to give privacy a chance is to organize, educate, and recognize the key players on both sides of the issue.
The Zero Knowledge Foundation is one organization passionate about giving privacy a chance. (One of the Zero Knowledge Foundation’s members is SpiderOak, creator of privacy protective online file sharing and cloud-based products.)
From the foundation’s website:
“The ‘Zero-Knowledge’ Privacy Foundation leverages a worldwide community, innovative technology and resources to help promote the right to privacy online. We advocate that companies and individuals should retain control and ownership over their information online as well as greater levels of transparency around 3rd party data collection and usage.
The Foundation will serve to promote data privacy with the following efforts:
• Support and advise on the development of applications and products that promote data privacy and transparency.
• Certify products and companies who comply with the ‘Zero-Knowledge’ Privacy Standard.
• Work with advocacy groups in the fight to defend the right to privacy at a legislative level.”
The Zero Knowledge Foundation has published an informative presentation on Why Privacy Matters which can help communicate ways to think about privacy and security. The presentation addresses:
• The difference between privacy and security
• Why you should care about your privacy even if you have ‘nothing to hide’
• What privacy means in the digital age.
We can make a difference when it comes to the future of privacy. We can allow ourselves to be idealists, even visionaries when it comes to data privacy. Though we can’t speak for John Lennon, one imagines he would see the wisdom in protecting an individual’s right to privacy. All we’re saying now is give privacy a chance.