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Parallels Between Technological Privacy Movement and Early Environmental Movement

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 23 years ago, in 2001, on the World Wide Web.

Steve Lohr highlights some interesting parallels between the emerging technological privacy movement and the early days of the environmental movement in the 1960s [NY Times]. A couple of brief notes:

  • Who says that there has been no book on privacy with the impact of Silent Spring? After all, there are few political books as well known and as shattering as George Orwell’s 1984, a book which is in large part about the destruction of privacy through State technological surveillance and control.
  • It’s worth noting that a deeper parallel between the two movements rests in their mutual fears of technology being turned into an instrument of exploitation and control: for the environmentalists, of nature; for the privacy advocates, of individual people. They both come out of a strong background of populism and autonomous self-government.
  • For hands-on information on protecting your privacy online, check out Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Privacy Now! campaign, security.tao.ca — oriented towards leftist / anarchist activists doing political work online, and SafeWeb — an online anonymizer.

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