The Cost of Privacy

Yesterday’s Op-Ed in the New York Times by Julia Angwin, Has Privacy Become a Luxury Good?, is a short article that cuts to the heart of a central question regarding Digital Labor: will the ubiquity of digital surveillance and behavioral monetization increase a new form of economic privacy gap. Of course, the super-rich already buy their way into a version of privacy that the rest of us cannot afford; but in practice digital labor’s onslaught may increase the numbers on both sides of a privacy divide. Angwin’s comparison to the organic foods market leaves me scratching my head- I think standards and governmental regulations will not change the fact that, opportunistically, we humans are ever-ready to trade a lot of privacy for a bit of convenience, or a small discount at the grocery store. Remember that in a robot future of widespread sensors, every physical behavior will eventually be folded into this labor market- digital labor will become unpaid labor, full stop.


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