‘Everything I do in my life – the people I know, the places I go, the things I buy, the books I read – is recorded and collected by companies and governments. When I walk around, I carry my smartphone. When I go online, I use a search engine. When I talk to friends, I communicate through Facebook, social media or some other service. These companies collect vast amounts of information that can influence all aspects of my life. I want to have control of that personal information. I want my privacy back.’

In the second installment of the Our Space video series, published by the Internet Protection Lab and Free Press Unlimited, Chris Conley, policy attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), shares his concern about the large-scale, often indiscriminate collection of data and metadata by companies and governments.

There’s a tendency to record data first, and figure out what to do with it later. ‘That can be very dangerous because there may off course be beneficial uses, but the more information that’s collected, the more likely it is that the information is vulnerable to misuse.’

Mr. Conley is critical of harm-based approaches to privacy: ‘It’s very easy to see situations where I am denied a job because of my religion, I am denied a job because of my health history, information that should have been private, that has somehow been exposed.’

‘The harm is not the end-result, me loosing out on a job. The harm is that you have violated my right to privacy by releasing my information. Releasing information in itself is problematic.’

‘Privacy in the digital age is about being able to control your own personal information. This doesn’t mean keeping it under lock and key, but it means being able to make informed choices about what information is shared about you, how that information is used and where it goes forward.’

‘It will take time and effort and there’s no guarantee of success but I think there’s a possibility that we can build a world where we can both take advantage of all technology services have to offer and keep control of our personal information.’

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Free Press Unlimited
Free Press Unlimited believes that objective information can be of life-and-death importance. Free Press Unlimited helps local journalists in war zones and conflict areas to provide their audience with trustworthy news and information.

Global Conference on Cyberspace
The Global Conference on Cyberspace brings together stakeholders from various backgrounds to discuss challenges in internet governance. Only by working together globally can we guarantee that the internet will remain free, open and secure.

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