Prehistory of Privacy

A consequence of “progress” in Internet business models is that words adopt new meanings. Today the “consumer” is not only a client, but also a producer of “information.” And the service provider is also a data consumer. In the model led by Google-Facebook the service provider consumes user data in exchange for *extremely* low cost Web services. The private user transfers information for free (i.e. without payment) and -depending on the jurisdiction- also loses ownership of identity-linkable data. This undoubtedly is the pre-history of the Internet: the “consumers” work for free for the “producers.” This is a period where the most “successful” business models are predicated not on the value of their services but on the exploitation of personal information sold to third parties. One consequence of this is that data collection diminishes, reduces the security conditions of the private citizens (“consumers”) and directly or indirectly affects the security position of the organisations they work for or participate in. Clarity is therefore necessary, above all in establishing or re-establishing the ownership of personal data in the hands of the private citizen (the private person). Everything else, including technical solutions, should flow from there. On those lines, either through competition of transformation, we should expect (and build) new business models that do not require and do not enable free end-user user data exploitation.