SecuriTea Leaves (Part Two): Privacy, Security, and Their Possible Futures

Tell the world!

The new Internet is one of openness and perpetual unfiltered documentation, not privacy and selective sharing. What impact will that have on the future of security, when the need for privacy lessens? If our dying generation is the last one concerned over privacy, what motivation is there for security enhancements?

In this series of posts I will describe the possible futures of the privacy plate shift we’re riding right now and how it relates to the landscape of security. (I will post each future separately so there may be comments on each.)

See SecuriTea Leaves Part One for more detail.

Future 1. No privacy. No security. Flying cars optional. (This future feels far away, but just how far I don’t know.)

 We have spent years sharing everything and voluntarily broadcasting our lives to the point where nothing is private. Who we know, how we feel, what we eat, our daily routine, are all available to the public. And if privacy is only a concern for the singular person, then a collective needs no privacy. Individuality is practically gone, lost amongst the vastness of so many people with so much data.

  Twitter (whatever repackaged variant it comes as) wouldn’t have a login. You would just tweet as a generic entry, possibly with demographic info tied to it, all performed automatically as you live. Whatever listening device you carry or is nearby, which is always on, will post your statement and question streams to join the river of worldwide conversation. Email won’t exist because there are only public forums for communication. Facebook and Linkedin (whatever face they wear) will auto update with every action and career move, complete with pictures you didn’t even initiate. 

 All data about you, including financial, medical, and family details are accessible by anyone, and you’re fine with that because community and government services to support needs or problems with any of these categories proactively extend their reach to your doorstep. You won’t care that every mistake you made or slur you’ve spoken is accessible as both an audio file and in transcript, or that everyone knows where you are at all times, because that is the way it is. 

 The upside of so much exposure is that it may provide more security. It will be more difficult to pull off financial fraud when every purchase by every person is documented publicly in multiple ways, matching shopping habits, visually recording the transaction, tracking an item in its full life cycle, not just shipment. Even clothes may require some ultimate biometric union with its intended owner, where no other person could successfully wear them. Financial spending could be restricted anyway, every dollar of yours so heavily tracked and tied to you personally that the initial fraudulent purchase could never happen. 

 In this future your health is constantly monitored, and with no delay in medical history or current condition, medical response and effectiveness could be vastly improved. Small changes in your health can inform your doctor while immediate changes can alert the hospitals. The likelihood of one person to harm another may be much lower when the whereabouts of every person, especially in proximity to everyone else, is well known.

 Sure, like any sci-fi movie tells us about dystopian totalitarian worlds, there will be a resistance. However, with everything public there is no need for login credentials. Everything and everyone knows who you are at all times so access is wide open. With little privacy and little security needed for that privacy, the ability of that resistance to be disruptive to the status quo may be incredibly easy, but ultimately pointless.

 Apart from a destructive “reset” of civilization, even a disruption of the system won’t change it. It only sounds like a dystopia from our current point of view. The people are happy to live in the world they’ve helped create. It wasn’t forced on them by the government or even put to a vote, other than the tiny “allow” vote made every time you accept the terms and conditions of the services and software you use. A building wave of “allows” created this new shoreline and the seaside residents moved closer together preventing any possible outliers. They even take comfort in the lack of privacy. Like confessing your sins, there is a cleansing effect to revealing your secrets, and in this future you’ll never have any.

 Do you think this is a possible future? Thinking about this future as a complete world, what doesn’t fit or what did I miss? Could complete lack of privacy provide total security?

Posts in this series will continue with other possible futures. See SecuriTea Leaves Part One: The Introduction.

-Matt Sully

Tell the world!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *