Thinking About Security

Every word you type, every place you visit, every action you take are recorded, scrutinised and saved for future study.  It should come as no surprise that the people doing this do not have your best interests at heart.

The digital economy has fundamentally changed the personal security landscape.  30 years ago, personal security meant physical security – locks on the doors, not walking down dark alleys, being generally vigilant about your surroundings.  10 years ago, we could add information security to that – locking your computer, choosing good passwords and encrypting sensitive information.  All of this is, of course, still good advice, but far from sufficient.

Today, there is something fundamentally more important at stake.  Growing online surveillance and data analysis presents an existential threat to your personal freedom and autonomy.  Enormous databases now record your every thought, word and action, and increasingly sophisticated software analyses that data looking for ways to exploit it to manipulate and monetise your everyday life, anticipating your actions, exploiting your fears, and guiding your choices so subtly you don’t even realise you’re being manipulated.