The Digital Things That Happen In The Privacy Of Our Homes26 Jan 2017
I'm always trying to unpack and understand the digital world unfolding around us. Understanding where the physical world is colliding with the digital world is increasingly difficult to see, let alone articulate to average people (this is why I tell stories, so I get better at it). One aspect of this collision that regularly leaves me baffled are the views on security and privacy when it comes to things that happen "online", but in the physical world, these "digital" things are actually happening "physically" in our private spaces.
Where is the line between "the cloud" and "my living room". Startups would argue what I do on their "cloud platform" exists because of them, and per their terms of service we are giving them an unlimited license to everything I do in "their domain". They aren't even willing to consider the fact that this is physically happening in my living room, regardless of where the data centers and servers are located to support an application. Where is the line between our physical and digital world? When I close my eyes and try to visualize this, the "cloud" seems pretty fucking invasive and existing in my living room and the bedrooms in my house--with very little respect from startups and the government that we've allowed you to come into our homes.
What really kills me is that the average citizen is completely unaware that they have invited companies, government agencies, hackers, and many other rando-developer into their homes. Not just on the websites and apps we use on our laptops and mobile devices. We are now doing this in our appliances, thermostats, security cameras, automobiles, etc. Each device we connect to our home wifi opens up a doorway for companies, government, and individuals to come into our home and gather information, and build awareness about our everyday life.
Few people seem overly concerned with this evolution, and startups are happy to keep them in the dark, allowing them to vacuum up data, and sell to other brokers, and on Wall Street. I just cannot reconcile the appetite for access to our bits, as they exist in our homes, and the lack of awareness amongst the average consumer. I remember when the Internet first started taking a hold on the world and how concerned folks were with their address being online, and cookies--now they seem perfectly happy to give up their longitude and latitude every second of the day, as well as share their most intimate thoughts and activities, in exchange for a little bit of convenience and "artificial intelligence".
The attitude of startups about where the line between our digital and physical worlds disturbs me, but what really worries me is the amount of work we have ahead of us when it comes to the ownership of these private bits. This will be one our biggest challenge in coming years.