DNA testing company Ancestry has argued that it is its moral obligation to provide its data to the FBI. In doing so, the data provided could theoretically be used to help catch criminals. This is yet another step towards the diminishing state of privacy. But is privacy awareness on the rise or fading into the distance?
Today, we have our lives on social media and our monetary habits are tracked, and now it seems even our DNA is in the hands of the authorities. The many data breaches that have taken place can put all of these details into the hands of criminals.
But are people becoming more resistant to such intrusions? Or are we too blasé? My colleague Pedro Febrero has made a valid argument as to why anonymous cryptocurrencies are essential, but going further than this, our own private data is too.
Former NSA director Michael Hayden has already admitted that people are killed based on metadata. Such advances in data mining and the data we provide are only going to advance further unless there is a significant pushback.
Whilst there is debate online between citizens, the debate between politicians and states themselves largely ignores concerns of privacy. As a state, the more data you can gather, the more crimes you can prevent. Or so goes the logic.
Coupled with this is the combination of corporations harvesting data and sharing it with the state, as exemplified by the DNA testing company Ancestry. This combination can be dangerous.
As citizens, we have many fears and worries about the future – global warming, the economy, and over here in the UK, Brexit. This means that other issues can be pushed into the background and ignored whilst states introduce laws that reduce our freedom.
Within cryptocurrencies, there is a balance to be struck. Right now, there is relatively little regulation. Whilst this means we can remain more private, it also means there is a proliferation of scams. Whilst self-policing is supposed to solve this, it clearly isn’t working.
There needs to be a balance though. And, at the moment, the balance is shifting towards less privacy.
The time to fight back on issues of privacy is now, before it’s too late. Privacy awareness needs to rise and lessons of the importance of privacy need to be taught.