Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Privacy Revolution is the fourth Great Revolution. (part 1)

Everybody knows that there have been two great revolutions. The first was the Agricultural Revolution, where people stopped being nomads, and began farming. It took thousands of years to have its full effect, but the effect on humanity was massive.

The second was the Industrial Revolution, where people (more or less) stopped being farmers, and factories and towns became the norm. It took about a hundred and fifty years to have its effect, but again, the impact on humanity was massive.

Some people understand that there was a third great revolution, the Computer Revolution, which basically started at the end of World War II. The timeframe is even more compressed, but again, the effect on humanity is massive.

I contend that there is a fourth great revolution that I call the Privacy Revolution. It started with the advent of the World Wide Web, and continues now. In the fulness of time, we will come to understand that the effect on humanity has been just as massive as the first three.

In press interviews in 2002, Eric Schmidt, the then-CEO of Google supposedly said two very interesting things. The first was something like "We pretty much know who everyone is, and what they are interested in.", and the second was something like, "The total amount of human recorded history can be stored in five exabytes, and since some time in 2002, Google has been indexing five exabytes every two days."

The next "interesting thing" is that in 2007, I was out in Mountain View, trying to sell my company, Exploit Prevention Labs to Google. I was in a room full of engineers, and I casually asked one of them, "So, how often do you purge your search logs?", and the guy did a visible double take, and looked at me like I'd said something stupid, and said, "Never!"

Now, some of that might well have changed in the last eleven years, and I consider Google to be Good Guys, and trustworthy, but that's a lot of data.

And they ain't the only ones collecting... think about all the other search engines, not to mention the social media engines that are so in the news right now.

I'll get to the next part of the story tomorrow...

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