How To Manage Privacy in a Transparent World

Today, I had a fascinating discussion with a friend of mine. We were having discussion about Facebook, and how we now live under the constant surveillance of multiple entities. Credit card companies, social networks, email providers, advertisers, store chains with their loyalty programs, governments and analytics tools, mobile phones... they all watch our behavior. The amount of data we leave behind creates an astonishingly clear trail. In front of the data and algorithms, we are completely naked.

And now to the fascinating part: My anonymous friend said that he decided to fight back. He had long since given up on the idea that someone can stay invisible under the all-seeing eye of the internet. So he turned it around.

More than a year ago, he started sharing stories and links on his social profiles that had absolutely nothing to do with him. He started randomly clicking on ads that did not reflect his personal desires. He visited web pages that he wasn't a single bit interested on. Eventually, he created scripts that make random posts at random intervals from various sources to disguise his awake hours, location and other private information.

In summary, he exists as himself everywhere in the web, but none of any analytics tools, cookies, programs and algorithms have any clue who he is, where he hangs and what he wants. It is simply impossible to know him without being his personal friend.

This is where we have arrived. The only way to fight the constant surveillance is to create enough noise to disguise the signal of our behavior. There's no other way to hide anymore.