The Problem With “Privacy”

The governments and corporations that spy on us would like nothing better than for us to remain lone individuals, tasked with protecting our own data and privacy. Only collective action can secure civil liberties. Privacy looks to be another major casualty of COVID-19. The pandemic has accelerated our dependence on digital platforms and services that, by their nature, make our data vulnerable. School is online; shoppers increasingly rely on digital purveyors; and half the workforce toils remotely from home. Many of the digital innovations and changes we witness are here to stay, bound to alter social and economic life in profound ways — and make privacy cheap.