America should demand privacy protection — before it’s too late

Once upon a time, American consumers adopted new tech without stopping to consider the consequences.

The allure of connectivity outweighed misgivings about surrendering our full names, phone numbers, and strong opinions on national politics to an online void we barely understood. We dismissed the threat of privacy violations because, after all, “they (meaning the corporate behemoth that is Big Tech) would never.”

In 2019, we know that they absolutely would, and that they do. The startups of the early 2000s have exploded into empires that live and die by the marketability of Silicon Valley’s most valuable resource: private consumer data.

Now, technophiles and novice Facebookers alike feel vulnerable—and they should. An online presence is by default a vulnerability. Remove the internet from the equation, and few of us would hand over physical copies of our opinion on the latest “Cats” trailer without a good reason, much less sensitive information like our health history or credit card number.