Vint Cerf: "Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly"

Illustration for article titled Vint Cerf: "Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly"

Vint Cerf, Google's chief internet evangelist, is famous for having some, um, strong views. He's just unleashed a cracker, though: he thinks that "privacy may actually be an anomaly."

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Speaking at an FTC event, Cerf was attempting to explain that privacy is a fairly new—and perhaps unsustainable—development. "In a town of 3,000 people there is no privacy," he explained. "Everybody knows what everybody is doing. It's the industrial revolution and the growth of urban concentrations that led to a sense of anonymity."

He did, admittedly, concede that he was simplifying, but added that "it will be increasingly difficult for us to achieve privacy. The technology that we use today has far outraced our social intuition... [There's a] need to develop social conventions that are more respectful of people's privacy."

In other words, according to Cerf, industry gave us anonymity and with it privacy, but then the relentless progress of technical innovation stole it away again. All in, we only had it for a few decades, so why bitch and gripe about losing it anyway? What do you think? [FTC via Verge]

Image by Joi under Creative Commons license

DISCUSSION

Jordan Clifford

Guess what... nobody actually gives a shit about you. Everyone is so busy inside their own bubble, and there is so much information out there, I just can't even be bothered to care about privacy. As a privacy experiment and an attempt to be more truthful in my daily life, I changed my Facebook interested in section to both men and women over 6 months ago. Not one of my 400+ friends, my family, or anyone that can see my profile (which I also made completely open) mentioned it or gave a single fuck. So you will excuse me if I take these people whining so hard about their precious metadata with a little bit more than a pinch of fucking salt.