Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Case Against the Peeping Tom Theory of Privacy | WIRED

In an Apple commercial that was on heavy rotation last fall, people go around telling strangers intimate information about themselves. “I browsed eight sites for divorce attorneys today,” a guy shouts to a bus full of passengers. A beautiful woman informs a passerby, “My home is in 1,000 feet.” A man in a bathroom stall announces, “I’m currently reading an article titled ‘10 Ways to Keep Sweaty Hands From Holding You Back.’” Finally, you find out what it’s selling: Apple’s privacy protections. “Some things shouldn’t be shared,” reads white text on a black background. “iPhone helps keep it that way.”

As something of a privacy enthusiast, I loved that commercial. It’s effective—more than 25 million views on YouTube—because it’s intuitive. You wouldn’t tell a coworker or a stranger on the street you looked at an embarrassing article, so why are you telling data brokers and ad tech companies?


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