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Digital privacy is the ability and freedom of an individual to hide "sensitive" information about himself; nowadays "privacy concerns" are a big part of capitalist fear culture. Of course, there are other forms of privacy than digital, for example the physical privacy in real life, however in this article we'll be implicitly dealing with digital privacy unless mentioned otherwise, i.e. privacy with respect to computers, e.g. on the Internet.

{ I have my personal data publicly online and under CC0 for anyone to download and do anything with, including my real name, date of birth, location where I live, medical info and even nude photos. Literally nothing bad ever happened due to this. ~drummyfish }

Society is becoming more and more obsessed with privacy and that is EXTREMELY BAD. It leads to hardcore censorship, people are hiding their email addresses so it's impossible to contact them, photos of child faces are wiped from the Internet, more and more videos on the internet now just blur everything in the video that's not the main focus of it, "just in case", people are even afraid to credit other people by name even if they are e.g. legally obliged to by a license such as CC-BY-SA (lmao https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=19322). Such retardedness has probably never been seen yet.

As of 2023 privacy is impossible to achieve unless you live in wilderness completely independently of the main "civilization". If you use any kind of computer (laptop, TV, phone, car, camera etc.), you are already being watched: basically all CPUs have proven hardware spyware in them capable of bypassing encryption, see Intel ME etc., no matter what operating system you use, and even if you use some obscure CPU without it, you are watched through your Internet activity (even if you use a "secure" browser, which you most likely don't even if you think you do), your browsing habits are watched and analyzed by highly advanced AI that can track you even without cookies etc., e.g. just from your writing style, patterns of repeated daily activity, mouse movement signature etc. -- all small fragments of information about your activity such as those mentioned above and your locations over time (known from your phone connecting to towers, someone else's phone detecting your voice, street or car camera detecting your face, credit card payments etc.) are connected with other fragments of information (even those of other people) and AI makes a complete picture of your life available to those who need it. You may think you're doing everything right and that they can't find you, but it's enough if e.g. someone from your family posted a picture with you on facebook 10 years ago or if you as a child played online games -- this is enough to know which people you are related to and them being tracked then leads to you also being tracked to a big degree despite you using 7 proxies and living underground. If the government furthermore decides to watch you more (which may happen just because you e.g. try to "protect" your privacy more and start using Tor, which is suspicious), they can just watch you in real time through satellites (even inside buildings) and so on. So you just have to accept you are being watched, and unless we end capitalism, it will only be getting worse (mind reading technology is already emerging).

We have to state that privacy concerns are a symptom of bad society. We shouldn't ultimately try to protect privacy more (cure symptoms) but rather make a society where need for privacy isn't an issue (cure the root cause). This sentiment is shared by many hackers, even Richard Stallman himself used to revolt against passwords when he was at MIT AI Labs; he intentionally used just the password "rms" to allow other people to use his account (this is mentioned in the book Free As In Freedom). Efforts towards increasing and protecting privacy is in its essence an unnecessary bullshit effort wasting human work, similarly to law, marketing etc. It is all about censorship and secrecy. Besides this, all effort towards protecting digital privacy will eventually fail, thanks to e.g. advanced AI that will identify individuals by pattern in their behavior, even if their explicit identity information is hidden perfectly. Things such as browser fingerprinting are already a standard and simple practice allowing highly successful uncovering of identity of anonymous people online, and research AI is taking this to the next level (e.g. the paper Detecting Individual Decision-Making Style: Exploring Behavioral Stylometry in Chess shows revealing chess players by their play style). With internet of stinks, cameras, microphones and smartphones everywhere, advanced AI will be able to identify and track an individual basically anywhere no matter the privacy precautions taken. Curing the root cause is the only option to prevent a catastrophic scenario.

By this viewpoint, LRS's stance towards privacy differs from that of many (if not most) free software, hacker and suckless communities: to us privacy is a form of censorship and as such is seen as inherently bad. We dream of a world without abuse where (digital) privacy is not needed because society has adopted our philosophy of information freedom, non-violence and non-competition and there is no threat of sensitive information abuse. Unlike some other people (so called pragmatics), not only do we dream of it, we actively try to make it a reality. Even though we know the ideally working society is unreachable, we try to at least get close to it by restricting ourselves to bare minimum privacy (so we are very open but won't e.g. publish our passwords). We believe that abuse of sensitive information is an issue of the basic principles of our society (e.g. capitalism) and should be addressed by fixing these issues rather than by harmful methods such as censorship.

Digital privacy can be further categorized. We can talk e.g. about communication privacy (emails, chat, ...), data privacy (cookies, tracking, medical data, ...), personal privacy (intimate photos, sexual orientation, ... ), individual privacy (identifying information, anonymity, spam, ...) etc.

Privacy is closely related to cryptography, as encryption is how information can be "protected" against reaching unauthorized entities, and to free software, as using safe tools with available source code is crucial to avoid malware. Still, to achieve high privacy additional appropriate behavior has to be adopted, e.g. protection against spyware, using proxies and/or onion routing, turning off browser cookies, avoiding fingerprinting, avoiding social networks, avoiding revealing potentially identifying information etc.

All content available under CC0 1.0 (public domain). Send comments and corrections to drummyfish at disroot dot org.