77 - Dylan Curran on Life in the Panopticon and Privacy After Privacy
“The best anti-virus is common sense.”
This episode’s guest is Dylan Curran, a cybersecurity specialist who recently went viral after his exposé tweets about the personal information Google and Facebook collected about him were shared by Edward Snowden. Strap in for an uncomfortable close look at just how little privacy we have online – it’s even worse than you already knew – but also, some straight, practical advice for how to navigate the “glass house” we all live in now, with safety, dignity, and savvy.
Here is his epic Twitter thread about how “The internet knows more about you than you do”:
Dylan works with two privacy-focused search engines:
• Why there isn’t any good way to hide who you are online anymore;
• The difference between anonymity and pseudonymity, and why that matters to everyone investing in blockchain tech and crypto assets;
• Why our notions of privacy should change, and how we’re better off with the “small town” co-veillance of John Perry Barlow’s Wild Westworld than we are with 19th Century ideas of self and secret;
• Why it’s not really about data transparency, it’s about power inequality;
• The NSA’s PRISM Program and your government’s backdoors to all your private information;
• How privacy tech is only going to keep evolving if we ask for it, because the market drives invention;
• How lucky Europeans have it with GDPR, and how less great we have it in the US, where we can’t just ask them to erase our data;
• Does Cambridge Analytica scandal prove that we’ve reached the end of democracy and its replacement with black magic user-interface design for social behavioral engineering?
• How do we get people to use privacy-focused services if they don’t work as well as the convenient data-harvesting services?
• Why it’s important to let your political opponents speak (ie, Why Censorship Is Wrong, MmmK?);
• The cultural significance of “Change My Mind” style posts in combatting the filter bubble issue;
• Can we design a platform that rewards cultural synthesis?
• The difference between how Ireland and the USA have adapted to constant internet surveillance, in part because of differing governmental systems and structures;
• Dylan’s rant for individualism in the age of proliferating identity politics and obsessive membership mentality;
• Hyper-collectivization leads to hyper-personalization (according to Teilhard de Chardin) = made-up job titles;
• The decentralized future;
• Don’t use Amazon Web Services!
• The (totally shameful, unnecessary) UnderArmor hack;
• Privacy Audits as a new low-level data standard;
• Dylan’s personal digital hygiene regimen;
• And, most importantly, if EVERYONE has everyone else’s nudes, isn’t that a Mexican Standoff and we’re good?
My three-part essay on The Evolution of Surveillance, a psychedelic foray into the history of predator-prey co-evolution and our invention of weird new technological sense organs:
Part 1 - From Burgess Shale to Google Glass
Part 2 - Red Queens & Evil Eyes
Part 3 - Living in the Belly of the Beast
The song at the end of this episode is “Transparent” from my live performance at Mycelium Studios in Melbourne, Australia last year. You can grab it for free here:
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