Een coronapas is repressief, niet progressief.

De coronopas was dus toch geen tijdelijke noodmaatregel. Sterker nog, de noodmaatregel wordt aangescherpt naar 2G: alleen gevaccineerden en mensen die eerder COVID-19 gehad hebben krijgen een geldige QR code, die bovendien op meer plekken (winkels, universiteiten) moet worden getoond. Een sterk staaltje function creep. Ook een lockdown doemt weer op, want het is dweilen met de kraan open. Maar de roep om de kraan weer dicht te draaien klinkt wel steeds holler als er al die tijd niets is gedaan om de afvoer (op zijn minst provisorisch) te herstellen, die bovendien verstopt is geraakt door jarenlang neoliberaal beleid.

Is gegevens-bescherming nou echt zó moeilijk?

Het lijkt bedrijven en overheden maar niet te lukken om digitale diensten op een privacy vriendelijke manier aan te bieden. Is gegevensbescherming nou echt zó moeilijk? Of is er iets anders aan de hand?

Privacy Is Hard and Seven Other Myths. Achieving Privacy through Careful Design.

Nobody at the turn of this century, except perhaps a few die-hard civil rights activists, expected privacy to become such a dominant news item a decade or so later. But after the Snowden revelations, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and many other incidents and data breaches, tech companies have finally come under growing scrutiny. Hardly a day goes by without yet another news story covering how this or that company tramples our privacy in such and such ways. As a result, legal protection of privacy has started to improve. Unfortunately, this has so far not really led to any significant changes in the way technology is designed and used. Apart from isolated efforts and fringe services offered by enthusiasts, the bulk of the services we use are still privacy invasive at their core. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to suddenly do everything online, we were forced to grab the first tools we could find. Alas, the privacy invasive ones were closest at hand. This needs to change.

(This is the main message of my book Privacy Is Hard and Seven Other Myths. Achieving Privacy through Careful Design, that appeared October 5, 2021 at MIT Press. For all other posts related to my book see here.)

Privacy Myth 8 - Privacy Is Hard

A common myth is that privacy is hard. Indeed, designing totally ‘private’ systems is next to impossible even under ideal circumstances. (The same is true for designing 100% secure systems by the way.) But we should not let perfect be the enemy of good. A little bit of effort and consideration can actually prevent a lot of privacy harm. In fact, just as technology can be used to invade our privacy, it can also be used to protect our privacy by applying privacy by design. Existing privacy-friendly technologies and privacy by design approaches can be used to create privacy friendly alternatives to the systems we commonly use today.

(This is the eight myth discussed in my book Privacy Is Hard and Seven Other Myths. Achieving Privacy through Careful Design, that will appear October 5, 2021 at MIT Press. The image is courtesy of Gea Smidt.)

Privacy Myth 7 - Privacy and Security are a Zero-Sum Game

Security and privacy are often seen as opposite, irreconcilable goals; as a zero-sum game. Because the stakes involved are high, the debate is often heated and emotional. Privacy advocates and security hawks cling to rigid viewpoints, fighting each other in an aging war of trenches. As a result, measures to increase our security scorn our privacy. And privacy-enhancing technologies do very little to address legitimate security concerns. This is bad, both for our privacy and our security, and for society at large: “It is highly unlikely that either extreme—total surveillance or total privacy—is good for our society.”. But are privacy and security really a zero-sum game?

(This is the seventh myth discussed in my book Privacy Is Hard and Seven Other Myths. Achieving Privacy through Careful Design, that will appear October 5, 2021 at MIT Press. The image is courtesy of Gea Smidt.)