“Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better.”
In 2017, we find ourselves caught between the incredible and Earth-shaking potential of exponential technology — and a million minds, pulling the reins, trying to tame the beast and train it to build out their particular vision of the future.
One such vision is horrifyingly articulated in an article promoted by the World Economic Forum late last year.
The article, written by young Ida Auken, was published ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils.
It details a techno-utopian circular economy, which, on the surface, sounds great. In the circular economy, products are turned into services. Everything is Uber-ized. So, of course, nobody owns anything and all non-ownership is transparent.
“When products are turned into services, no one has an interest in things with a short life span. Everything is designed for durability, repairability and recyclability. The materials are flowing more quickly in our economy and can be transformed to new products pretty easily. Environmental problems seem far away, since we only use clean energy and clean production methods.”
The devil, of course, is in the details. And a tiny, unavoidable glint of darkness emerges halfway through the article:
“Once in a while I get annoyed about the fact that I have no real privacy. Nowhere I can go and not be registered. I know that, somewhere, everything I do, think and dream of is recorded. I just hope that nobody will use it against me.”
Ah, I see.
In this scenario, without privacy, forget about freedom of speech, assembly or the basic ability to form one’s own opinion about the nature of things.
If the politicos are still at the top of the food chain, if the sociopathic wolves still guard the chicken pen, we wonder, what would this society look like?
The flow of information would likely be managed to the bit. Models of reality would be shaped in real-time. Maps would be mistaken for the territory, as nobody would have a reason to think different.
“Free” education would perfect the art of brainwashing. A.I. programs would parse through text messages, emails and social media, in search of “problematic” language. And those deemed a threat to the civility and order of the “Free Society” would likely be, at best, casted out to live with the rurally deplored or, at worst, hanged (humanely as possible, of course) in the public square.
Think of all of those meandering thoughts which run through your mind, of which you cannot control.
Now imagine that any one of them could be used against you.
Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, I have no privacy and life couldn’t be more terrifying.
Fortunately, privacy isn’t dead. And technology is a wild beast which might prove impossible to tame completely.
In fact, for those willing to put in the work to protect themselves, there are plenty of options to keep your information safe and protected from prying eyes.
Today, to talk about one tool you should add to your privacy arsenal, we invite Simon Black of Sovereign Man.
Here’s a FANTASTIC Security Tool You Really Should Know About
By Simon Black
Chances are you probably use a cloud service to store at least a portion of your files.
Dropbox. iCloud. Microsoft’s OneDrive. Mega. Box.
There’s so many of them these days. And a few of them, like Switzerland-based Tresorit, focus heavily on privacy and security to keep your data safe.
But let’s be honest– privacy is definitely not a top priority among most of the top cloud providers.
Dropbox states right on its own website that the company has direct access to your files.
Sensitive company data. Financial records. Intimate photos. Personal information. Password files. Cryptocurrency keys.
And even if you delete the files, the backup copies are STILL stored on Dropbox’s servers.
(It’s not just Dropbox– most of the major cloud services operate this way.)
This presents a significant amount of risk from multiple fronts.
Hacker threats are nearly ubiquitous these days.
Hardly a month goes by without another announcement of some major data breach… and we only hear about the big ones in which millions of people are affected.
One of the latest hacker trends is when attackers gain control of your mobile devices by calling up your mobile carrier and convincing them that they’re you.
This allows them to reset passwords and easily gain access to your emails and files.
Then of course there are legal risks.
If you’ve never been sued, congratulations. Let’s hope it stays that way.
If you have been sued, congratulations. It means that at least someone thinks you’re successful. Broke people typically don’t get sued.
Bear in mind that the ‘justice’ system today has very little to do with justice.
It’s about government prosecutors or some twisted, amoral, money-hungry lawyer convincing 12 strangers on a jury that you’re a terrible person.
And during the discovery process of a lawsuit, EVERYTHING is up for grabs. A court can literally subpoena your entire life, including your emails, files, financial records, etc.
Chances are they can find something in all that data to make you look bad.
Then there’s the other never-ending issue of government spying and the NSA archiving every kilobyte of data that passes across the Internet.
It might be easier to simply CC the government on every email you send and add their email address as an authorized user of your Dropbox account.
Despite all these known risks, though, and the constant stream of stories about hackers and government spying, few people take steps to safeguard their data.
(As an example, according to a study by Keeper Security, the most common password is 123456. Not exactly hacker-proof.)
But there are some very simple tools available that can help.
One of them is called Cryptomator, which came to my attention from a close friend of mine who works in the US Army’s cyberwarfare divison, which was established to defend government systems against foreign hackers.
Cryptomator is free, simple program which encrypts every single file you store on a cloud server.
Let’s say you use Dropbox to sync files between your laptop and the cloud.
Ordinarily, your files are stored unencrypted on your laptop, and they’re accessible by certain Dropbox staff through the cloud servers.
Cryptomator encrypts the files on BOTH ends, i.e. the file that’s stored on the Dropbox servers is encrypted, AND the file stored locally on your laptop is encrypted.
Dropbox employees who try to access your data would see nothing but gibberish.
And anyone who gains physical access to your laptop would see nothing but gibberish.
Only you have the ability to unlock the files.
Now, this sounds like a cumbersome process… having to constantly encrypt and decrypt files, enter passwords, etc.
But it’s not. Cryptomator has created a streamlined platform where you can group files together in ‘vaults’.
Then you can decrypt an entire vault, attach it to your file system, and easily re-encrypt it when you’re finished.
You can see an example in this video.
Try it out if you’re interested; the software is free, available on Mac OS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iPhone.
Plus it’s open-source, meaning that anyone who knows the Java programming language can download the source code and verify that the software contains no backdoors or malware.
[Ed. note: This article originally appeared on the Sovereign Man blog, right here at this link.]