Social Cooling

The idea that, as a result of mass surveillance, data collection and social media are leading to behavioral changes. People are filtering more of what they say and are less likely to engage with novel ideas or be wrong for fear of negative effects (everything from getting a job to a loan or even proper health care).

The solution argued by is privacy since privacy is the right to be imperfect.

However this doesn’t fully explain what we actually see today—an acceleration of extreme ideas and fringe groups. Either people are not aware of the consequences or don’t care. The opposite might be true—it’s actually social heating and people are becoming more extreme as a result of the loss of privacy.

  • Legitimized Client-Side Scanning

    The reaction to the recent announcement that Apple would begin scanning iCloud photos for CSAM was not just because of privacy concerns, but because it legitimizes other service providers to do the same.

  • A Data Dividend Law Would Undermine Privacy and Encourage Acceptance of Exploitative Behavior

    In order to share some of the captured value from data collection, a monetary value would need to be determined. This is problematic because data collection practices are synonymous with privacy—assigning a value to privacy undermines the notion of privacy altogether.

  • Privacy Is the Right to Be Imperfect

    If everything is public or under surveillance, actions could have negative externalities. This puts more pressure on people to be perfect and project the values of the in-group. Privacy is a solution by providing space free from judgement individually or as small groups to explore ideas and take certain actions without fear of judgment.