|Philosopher Carissa Véliz has just published "Privacy Is Power".|
They know practically everything about you.
Before you even get out of bed to turn off your cell phone alarm, a lot of organizations already know what time you are getting up, where you have slept and even with whom.
And when you wake up and pick up your mobile phone, they will still know many more private details about you: from the music you play, they will deduce, for example, your mood.
Even turning on the washing machine or making coffee can reveal personal information.
Your tastes, your hobbies, your habits, your relationships , your fears, your medical issues….
Virtually everything we do is spied on and controlled by companies who then share all that personal information with each other and with numerous governments.
It's not just about them selling your personal data, but about the immense power that that gives them to influence you.
This is all about "Privacy Is Power", the book just published by the Mexican-Spanish philosopher Carissa Véliz , a professor at the University of Oxford, specifically at the new Institute of Ethics and Artificial Intelligence.
He arrived there after studying Philosophy at the University of Salamanca and the University of Toronto, completing a master's degree in New York and a doctorate at Oxford.
Born in Mexico into a Spanish family that had to leave Spain after the civil war and found refuge in that country, Véliz became interested in privacy when she began to investigate the history of her relatives in archives in Spain .
"It made me wonder if I had the right to know what my grandparents hadn't told me about the Spanish civil war," he explains.
Today she is an expert in privacy and in the immense power that our personal data gives to companies and governments.
|We are being watched every second of our lives.|
Why is privacy important?
Privacy is important because the lack of it gives others power over us.
When other people know too much about us they can interfere in our lives.
Privacy protects us from abuses of power.
For example, it protects us against unfair discrimination.
If your boss does not know what religion you profess, he cannot discriminate against you.
Privacy is like the blindfold that covers the eyes of justice so that the system treats us with equality and impartiality.
Right now we are not being treated as equals: we do not see the same content online, we are not offered the same opportunities, we often do not pay the same price for the same products.
If we are treated according to our data (if we are women or men, skinny or fat, rich or poor) we are not treated as equal citizens.
Privacy is power.
If we give our data to companies, let us not be surprised that the rich are the ones who write the rules of our society.
If we give governments too much data, let us not be surprised that they control us.
For democracy to be strong, citizens have to be in control of the data. That is why privacy is a political concern and not just an individual one.
|China is a clear example of surveillance capitalism.|
What data is collected from us through electronic devices? Can you give us some examples?
Everything you can imagine, and a little more.
Who are your friends and family, where do you live, where do you work, who do you sleep with, if you are being unfaithful to your partner, your sexual orientation, your political opinions, what car you have, how much money you make.
Also how much do you spend, if you have debts, if you have been the victim or the author of a crime, what do you eat, how much do you drink, if you smoke, what do you buy, if you have any illness, what worries you, what time do you go to sleep and what time to wake up, how do you drive, what are you looking for on the internet, what catches your attention, what is your mood.
Your car, for example, if it is 'smart', is attentive to what music you like and your seat is even measuring your weight.
And what use is made of this data and by whom?
All that information is sold to the highest bidder.
Data brokers compile a dossier on all internet users and sell them.
Who buys them?
Marketing companies, insurance companies, banks, potential employers, even governments, and in some cases, criminals who want to steal your identity.
What harm can it cause that some of our personal data is known?
Damages can be both individual (someone stealing your credit card number and buying something with it, or someone stealing your identity and committing crimes on your behalf), to collective damages (hacking our democracy, such as Cambridge Analytica tried it, sending personalized propaganda, encouraging some people to vote and discouraging others, or sending fake news to confuse the population and generate mistrust)
In extreme cases, lack of privacy kills: from suicides as a result of public humiliation (as happened last year in Spain) to authoritarian regimes that use personal data to persecute certain groups (China uses biometric and personal data to persecute the Uyghurs)
|How do those who handle social networks manipulate us?|
|"Privacy is Power" went on sale in September.|
|Zuckerberg had to submit to questions from US senators over the Cambridge Analytics scandal.|
|"Do not give your data to those who do not need them"|
|The time you spend using social media is very valuable to companies.|
|People who suffer from internet addiction are trapped in a situation that prevents them from seeing the real world.|
|The most successful gangs of cybercriminals function as mafia organizations with specific structures and divisions of labor.|
|Edward Snowden has been in asylum in Russia since 2013 and has asked for a pardon.|