Get over it

In 1999, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy famously commented “Get over it” to consumer privacy online. Ten years later, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says to CNBC: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”. When Facebook changed its user privacy settings in 2010, Founder Mark Zuckerberg claimed that “the age of privacy is over”.

It seems the big data behemoths gave up on privacy a long time ago. Maybe this is why no-one seemed really surprised when #prismgate broke. Does this mean they are right? Or do we still want privacy, even online? It’s time to remind ourselves that humans built this technology. We funded the basic research with tax money. Our elected officials made the rules that govern it. Much of the infrastructure is public-owned. We can choose to let technology rule us. Or we can decide that we want that technology to do something different.