25C3 -

25th Chaos Communication Congress
Nothing to hide

Christian Heller / plomlompom
Day Day 2 (2008-12-28)
Room Saal 3
Start time 11:30
Duration 01:00
ID 2979
Event type lecture
Track Society
Language used for presentation en

Embracing Post-Privacy

Optimism towards a future where there is "Nothing to hide"

The breaking away of privacy in the digital world is often understood as something dangerous, and for good reasons. But could there be opportunities in it, too? Do the current cultural and technological trends only dissolve the protected area of privacy, or could they dissolve as well the pressures that privacy is supposed to liberate us from? What if we witness a transformation of civilization so profound that terms like "private" and "public" lose their meaning altogether? Maybe we won't need "privacy" at all in the future because we will value other, new liberties more strongly?

In the digital world, more and more data is accumulated about us. More and more methods of datamining are invented to extract information from these data. The youth grows up enjoying informational exhibitionism to a degree many find irresponsible. Ever greater parts of life are integrated into the global public information stream. Will privacy end? If so, what about liberty? We have to look closely at the value of privacy. What does it do for values like freedom, individualism or intimacy? Why is this protected area of privacy necessary?

The conditions of privacy are rapidly changing. We have to evaluate these changes with a perspective that does justice to new modes of identity, sociality and culture: Why hide your personal weirdnesses if 21st century society thrives on difference and originality instead of conformism and predictability? What identity is there to keep private if "identity" is more and more what you externalize from yourself into the internet? Is privacy worth missing out on participation in the global "hive mind" and the "ambient intimacy" of every mind connected with every other mind?

Such questions may sound utopian and/or crazy. They may sound irresponsible, considering anti-privacy trends that may seem much more real and dangerous -- like the surveillance state. But even if you disagree with their validity, they may provoke deeper thinking about the state and value of privacy in a world that is changing more and more rapidly -- and that could hardly be a bad thing.