Early adopters step back as privacy protections erode

Jesse Weaver:

Today, each new device we purchase is a conscious decision to share an intimate piece of ourselves with a company whose goals may not align with our own. This exchange represents a fundamental shift in our relationship with technology and the companies that produce it. Adoption is no longer an ephemeral transaction of money for goods. It’s a permanent choice of personal exposure for convenience—and not just while you use the product. If a product fails, or a company folds, or you just stop using it, the data you provided can live on in perpetuity. This new dynamic is the Faustian bargain of a connected life, and it changes the value equation involved in choosing to adopt the next big thing. Our decisions become less about features and capabilities, and more about trust.

I've spent a lot of time wrangling with this dynamic and, while I'm not thrilled with the compromise described above, I've come to accept it in cases where I feel it's required.

Social media is a case where it's easy to make the call that the value provided doesn't make up for the sacrifice of privacy.

For connected home appliances like Nest and productivity software (namely G Suite) it becomes a bit more difficult to check out with readily available alternatives. The lack of compelling alternatives is, unfortunately, an altogether different problem and one that isn't easily solved.

We need to take a step back from convenience and rethink advancements with privacy as a core principle in everything that is done. The bargain should never be privacy for progress — if it is nobody's going to have any privacy at all.

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