Online Privacy Shouldn't Be a 'Luxury'
But it can pricey to protect yourself: Julia Angwin
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2014 4:19 PM CST

(Newser) – With new stories about breaches of online privacy surfacing nearly every day, it's enough to drive a person to shell out serious cash for protection. Such is the case with Julia Angwin, who recounts in the New York Times how she spent $2,220 last year on various tools such as data encryption to try to keep her personal information from being disseminated online. "In our data-saturated economy," observes Angwin, "privacy is becoming a luxury good."

All of which raises some troubling questions, she adds. Isn't this unfair to those who can't afford it? And for those who do choose to pay, shouldn't the government make sure these products actually work? (She has personal experience with getting ripped off on that front.) Angwin likens the situation to the early days of the organic food movement, when it was expensive and a genuine hassle for the relatively few people who wanted to partake. Might there be a lesson here? "Our government enforces baseline standards for the safety of all food and has strict production and labeling requirements for organic food," she writes. "It may be time to start doing the same for our data." Click for the full column.

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Showing 3 of 20 comments
Mar 6, 2014 7:31 AM CST
So, according to Julia and the writer we are supposed to depend on the government to set minimum standards for privacy and security software and tools. That is the same government that is leading the charge circumventing the provisions of the Bill of Rights at every turn in order to maximize its surveillance and compromise of our privacy and security. Isn't that the same as putting the fox in charge of the hen house? Anyway, I thought they were already doing this with some encryption software and operating systems, but the minimum standard was requiring the vendors to include back doors that the government could use at its discretion.
Mar 6, 2014 2:56 AM CST
Mar 5, 2014 9:52 PM CST
My thoughts also Jack. What I am more worried about is cell phone scanning and even local police can do what's called tower dumps where they get all communications that have gone thru a certain cell tower for a set period. Plus the FBI and GCHQ's turning on web cams, which when people first started talking about it a couple years or so back, I didn't believe it.