The concept of 'Privacy' in this non-private world.

Thursday, April 07, 2016


You must have heard of the ongoing ’Panama Papers’ fiasco.

(Who has not?)

In a nutshell, Panama Papers refers to a leaked set of close to 12 million files, (which began to be published on April 3, 2016), documenting confidential information on offshore accounts, listed by a Panamain Law Firm, Mossack Fonseca & Co.

The files reveal some names of global “big girls and boys” (including some present or past Public Office holders of various countries), who are affiliated to corporate organisations that have been identified in stashing cash in the tax haven of Panama. 

The motives of the ‘stash’ by these prominent figures has become a question of global (and local) inquiry and debate.

Panama Papers is just the most recent in the increasing number of ‘leakages’ which technology (and the internet) has thrown to the limelight, thereby making what would ordinarily been known to few mortals now seen and heard by the whole world.

In February 2016, hackers held a Los Angeles Hospital (Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Centre) to hostage, while threatening to disclose sensitive Client data which the hackers obtained via a malicious attacked. The hospital succumbed to paying a ransom worth USD$3 million, in order to keep its information safe.

Wikileaks caused its fair share of worldwide upheaval and outrage in its day; revealing numerous confidential information shared within organizations, between persons, and even among nations. Julian Assange is still paying for the ‘crimes’ of Wikileaks; he has had to make do with ‘bed-and-breakfast’ in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past four years.

And then, there was Edward Snowden. Asides his revelations showing the not-so-friendly friendship between the United States and Germany, he confirmed our worst fears: our conversations are routinely bugged!

Whether for ‘good’ or ‘bad’ reasons, these privacy leakages are issues that as recent as the ’90s, may have never occurred and/or spread like the wildfire they became. Technology is fast developing. Social Media was THE game changer.

‘Whistle-blowing’ has also taken a new face; a new definition. 

(This new definition is in itself yet to be defined)

That the world is now one huge open village square is a moot point. We’ve moved past that.

The continuing question is: Does privacy still exist??

The last vestige of denial we clung on to in believing that privacy still exists was laid to rest when the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) bypassed Apple’s security measures and hacked the Iphone of the shooter in the 2015 San Bernadino terrorist attack, which left 15 people dead.

Who knows what else is being hacked?

Rephrase: What else is NOT being hacked?

It is indeed a (mostly) scary thing, that information which one hopes to be 'confidential' does not remain so. In some cases (like the ‘Panama Papers’), the contents of such ‘confidential’ information may be thrown to the glare of the world decades later.

Perhaps, it is not such a bad thing. Maybe it is a small price to pay.

Maybe this would help to protect the world from further terrorist attacks. Maybe this would act as a deterrent to Public Office holders to keep to the straight and narrow.

Or maybe not.

Maybe the Public Office holders may just find better ingenious ways to conceal their unsavory activities. Maybe hacking our phones and bugging our conversations does not embody the dearth of terrorism

Whatever the case may be, the time has (apparently) come for the world and its inhabitants to make peace with the realisation that "privacy" as a concept related to everyday human existence is near extinct.

Best advice: if you don't want it seen, DON'T DO IT.



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