Peak indifference: privacy as a public health issue

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all the data collected in giant databases today will breach someday, and when it does, it will ruin peoples’ lives.

This has to be put into context with other risks that also ruin people’s lives. When privacy breaches truly destroy as many lives as guns or car accidents or cancer or heart attacks or guns, etc., then we will see roughly the same level of concern.

In fact, due to the novel nature of the threat, people may take privacy violations that are severe enough to destroy similar numbers of lives more seriously.

However, that will require roughly similar numbers of lives to be destroyed. And that doesn’t seem to be likely any time soon.

Expecting people to seriously react when we’re not seeing 10,000+ privacy related fatalities or permanent life destroying events each and every year seems somewhat optimistic.


I think it’s already ruining lives: the lives of the meek, who would live on the Internet experimenting with their personality and lifestyle, seeking themselves in what used to be a ‘safe environment’ that wouldn’t come back to haunt them at school, work, or even their parents’ home(s). The chilling effect is here, as is the fear, when corporations and government agencies would tear down the firewalls one chooses to place between online and offline life, or between private life at home and the wider world.

Maybe you don’t want to share your gender identity, political leanings, aesthetic preferences, spirituality, substance usage, ideology, or worldview with corporations to be catalogued and exploited, or perhaps one day soon, witch-hunted… Even if you still deny this is a concern for citizens of western civilization, it’s hard not to see implications for those living in Russia, Turkey, Syria, China, and so on.


With privacy as the subject, the lack of a “peek indifference” pun is almost a crime.


I wonder when America will reach Peak Indifference to Gun Control?


“Peak” is the wrong metaphor. “Peak oil” implies that production rises, reaches a plateau, and falls. But wouldn’t “Peak indifference” to smoking be around 1640, when indifference was 100%? And the very same year, 100% of us were indifferent to data privacy issues and global warming too.

Reached long ago. Note that peak indifference means that there’s no fight at all, not that you are winning the fight.

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It constantly amazes me that the USA doesn’t have something akin to a Privacy Commissioner. Actually, having privacy-protecting laws would be a good place to start.

I’m beginning to suspect that Americans like living with as much privacy and freedom of thought as citizens of Cold War East Germany did.


Interesting. I’m thinking about parallels with neo-con/lib politics, which is killing much of the Western World (figuratively and literally with lack of affordable health care, housing, and such, and through exploitation of second and third world countries, killing them as well.)

Like smoking, global warming, and privacy, many of the disastrous consequences are further down the road (but since the “road” is already some 40 years long, it is possible that we’re seeing the end of it coming sooner rather than later).

Perhaps the Brexit folks and Trump supporters are the nihilists, essentially giving a big F.U. to the powers that be and letting the chips fall where they may. I don’t know if there’s a Euro equivalent to the U.S. Bernie faction, which I see as also realizing that the political system is broken but is looking for ways to fix it.

All of which leads me to wondering what it will take to make the dire warnings from folks such as Bernie to “stick”. I have personal friends who don’t see any difference between Bernie supporters and Trump supporters and who plan on voting for 4 more years of the status quo which has produced the 99%/1% disparity, insecurity, and wealth loss that is growing today.

How can we message this difference better? Bernie is working to get people more interested in politics, running for local office and building the movement from the bottom up, which is a good add-on to some of the work the Occupy movement did. What tools are there to accelerate this before Trumpism takes over or the 1% do finally ruin it for everybody? (Or are these just the ramblings of a crazy old man?)

I think that is was being used in the article to express the tipping point at which there is no more indifference and the the pendulum begins to swing the other way.

This blows my mind. I keep hearing about these mythical Sanders supporters that are getting behind Trump. I have yet to meet one, and I have talked to a LOT of Sanders supporters. I have seen people I don’t know on the internet who CLAIM to be Sanders supporters and say that they will vote for Trump out of protest, but I don’t have a lot of faith in internet political discourse since hiring paid commenters to argue specific predetermined agendas was normalized by the Clinton campaign this election. If you could move from Sanders to Trump, then I am sceptical you really have any idea what either is talking about. Or are your friends saying that not supporting Clinton = supporting Trump?


I’m a Sanders supporter and I don’t personally know of any Sanders supporters who are for Trump, I’ve spoken to many many other Sanders supporters and don’t know of any voting for Trump. I think there is a small minority who will go that way though, simply to give a big FU to the system. Most of this “scare” is the same morons who go on about how if you don’t vote for their candidate you are voting for the opposition.

Sanders supporters were hoping for real change and what they are left with is a choice between the poster child for the established regime, hillary, or a crazy racist con man, trump.

Most sanders supporters i’ve talked to view the situation as the following choices:

  1. (Most Popular) Vote for Hillary. While most Sanders supporters want change and hate the established regime that has been screwing us so hard, they’d rather see 4 more years of that then a crazy racist asshole get into office to they are resigning themselves to vote for the lesser of two evils.

  2. (Second Most Popular) Vote for Neither/Write in Sanders. These people can’t in good conscious vote for either of the f’ed up candidates and view a dissent vote as more constructive to the long term political picture by showing that a growing percentage of people aren’t going to be forced into the lesser of two evils vote ever again and that certain candidates will never again get their votes. This is more of a long term view with the small risk that adding their vote to neither side will have a neutral impact

  3. (Least Popular) Vote for Trump. The system is screwed, lets burn shit down and start over. Trump is at least an outsider and will shake up the voting system (you can be damn sure both sides will be for voting reform if he wins.) These people are the ones on the margin, where things are already so screwed up that they can’t imagine that Trump could make them much worse, or write him off as going to be ineffectual in office, or going to be quickly impeached, or some other view that allows for his winning to be less bad then Hillary winning.

For the record, I’m a #2! :slight_smile: I’d never be a number #3. Things would have to be pretty dire in order for me to consider switching to #1. I think most #2 would consider #1 if the race looks dire enough that the outcome hangs on that.


You forgot #4, which is “Fuck it, I’m not voting.” In my mind it displaces #3 and makes Trump a 4th option. I don’t see many Sanders supporters going over to Trump. I think the source of this meme is actually a story about Trump supporters being willing to consider Sanders, and that number being pretty high. That’s not quite the same thing.

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Not quite. I think they just perceive that both factions are tired of the status quo and don’t see the nuance that one group wants to fix the root problems and the other group wants to ban immigrants/build walls/whatever else crazy stuff…

I think, to them, the “not supporting Clinton = supporting Trump” question is more about the mechanics of voting, not saying Sanders supporters intentionally support Trump (though if they can’t see the difference between the two, then I don’t know). I refer them to this article and tell them that in my opinion it is up to Clinton to earn my vote, and that I simply exhort people to educate themselves on the candidates and issues, and then vote their conscience, hopefully voting FOR the best candidate rather than the lesser of two evils.

I’d say it would probably take a 20-30% drop in nominal dollar median salary, 20K middle-class deaths caused by direct government action, or a sustained unemployment rate of about 20%.

Until then, the richest middle class on the planet is unlikely to risk major changes to the political system, especially in a culture were most still imagine themselves as potentially earning 75K and can be frightened away at the concept of a 50% marginal tax rate at that level.

Social democracy has a lot more ground game to do in the US before it can count on the sort of support that it receives in Europe. Can you imagine the yelling if the gov’t did something as basic as establishing a 15% VAT, let alone a 24% VAT such as Finland has?

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Sadly yeah. I’m hoping there’s some way to avoid having to hit rock bottom, but, yeah…

Well writ!

I wonder if it’s still true- Do more doctors smoke camels?

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