"The proximate reasons for the culture of total surveillance are clear. Storage is cheap enough that we can keep everything. Computers are fast enough to examine this information, both in real time and retrospectively. Our daily activities are mediated with software that can easily be configured to record and report everything it sees upstream. But to fix surveillance, we have to address the underlying reasons that it exists. These are no mystery either. State surveillance is driven by fear. And corporate surveillance is driven by money.
"Today I'd like to propose some ways we can win back our online privacy. I brought up the smoking example because it shows how a mix of strategies—political, legal, regulatory and cultural—can achieve results that would otherwise seem fantastical. So let's review the strategies, new and old, that are helping us push back against the culture of total surveillance."
(Excerpts from an illustrated text version of talk on September 14, 2015, at the FREMTIDENS INTERNET conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.)
Maciej Ceglowski is the founder and sole employee of Pinboard, a personal web archive and bookmarking site with an emphasis on user privacy. He has been an outspoken advocate of small pay-for-service websites as an alternative to the hype and impermanance of Silicon Valley startup culture. He has also spoken extensively about the dangers of universal surveillance as a business model and the need to decentralize the Internet. Before founding Pinboard in 2009, Ceglowski worked as an engineer at a variety of tech companies, most notably Yahoo. He lives and works in San Francisco.
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