Since the dawn of the Internet, American regulators and companies have pursued two goals to protect our privacy: that people should be in control of their data and that companies should be transparent about what they do with our data. We can see these goals detailed in the privacy policies and terms of service that we “agree” to as well as companies’ increasingly complicated systems of privacy dashboards, permissions and sharing controls.
This approach has failed us. Too often it has resulted in little more than threadbare privacy protections and cluttered inboxes. The control that companies promise us over our data ends up illusory and overwhelming. And even when they act transparently, they don’t embrace the privacy reforms we need.
And so, over the past decade, we’ve witnessed a cascade of high-profile privacy failures: the Edward Snowden disclosures, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, fake news and data breach after data breach after data breach. Big tech platforms and shadowy advertising companies make their fortunes while the rest of us are watched, nudged, exploited and exposed to cyberattacks and the manipulation of our political systems.
Read the full piece at The Washington Post.