Privacy like what advocates hope for is often described as being unrealistic or impossible. This belief is often pushed when any pushback on the slow destruction of individuals privacy has continued. Another element that is often brought up is the fact that historically privacy did not exist. Both these stances have some merit; however, they are a distortion from reality.
Kings May Not Care But The Church Did:
Looking at the European Dark Ages some might think that with the breakdown of the Roman Empire that freedom would have increased. Yet this did not happen as the oppression in many areas only increased. This was due to the local noble or warlord would crackdown on the rights of the local people. Yet for those who believed different core truths or had different memories of the past, then the Church (Catholic) was an instrument of control. Entire wars have been thought over differences in thought that had to be controlled.
Church history is very complicated and also spans a vast amount of time when the culture and traditions changed. While the Catholic Church today and even back then did a lot of good, it also worked out an elaborate system of control. While the King may only answer to God often the church found a way to remind him about what God’s will was. For the local people, the local Church was often core to their communities life and was always with them. A very controlling environment existed during this time.
Yet the limitations of the time existed. Only so much could be known about people or even recorded. Persecution could often be effective especially when it was done against minorities. However resources that could be controlled and used faced technological limits. You could not have someone in every room and if you did you would not have the resources to note down a days communication. A massive archive of what was reported on people would be next to impossible to search. The technology of the oppression was limited these have been lifted in our modern setting.
Shinny New Toys Of Oppression:
There are not many Kingdoms left in the world and even fewer have much power. Yet the modern nation state reaches into the lives of its people in many ways. While the directness of this reach may seem less it is important to realise that our societies themselves have gotten more complicated. This means that it looks like less oppression when compared to the limited functions of past societies. Another important element is that a large amount of control that is used is not direct. The government can send police (modern day knights) to enforce its will or it can make big business abide by rules that are then passed onto you from the company itself. The directness of oppression has been removed and now it will be often numerous different sources working together to achieve the same aims. Another element is that when orders are hidden they are often made murkier as to who wants things to be done.
Nations have numerous reasons as to why they want to control and get information on their people. Terrorism and other destructive acts have become more of a threat and concern that the government deals with when compared. Many governments also seek to change views for the stated reason of more tolerance and also promoting a better society. This could see them change past beliefs and traditions as they seek to decrease the tensions between the different groups. The extent to which control will be used against the population to achieve goals remains unknown. China leading the push followed by the Western world to create certain societal conditions.
Future Possibilities Raise More Concerns:
AI represents one of the largest concerns for those who are seeing an increase in the number of governments and other entities who wish to create changes. New technologies remove the limitation of human oversight from the current systems. Unsleeping and precise machines could use the insane amount of data that is collected and turn that into usable moves. A future where no knock raids are carried out by algorithms may seem far fetched yet is getting increasingly likely. Complaints about police motivations like many American issues are likely to try and be solved by tech. However, like other technology based solutions, it seems harder then many give credit to code your way out of bias and mistakes. If anything maybe it easier to justify mistakes if it is not a human that ordered them.
Yet modern technology represents one of the greatest tools in the fight for freedom. Yet this, not equal freedom. It is one that is going to be earned by those who learn the needed skills to look after themselves. However, there is more to this then just effort to learn those skills. At every turn, the big tech will encourage us to not think about our privacy or what is being taken from us to be sold. They will not highlight their manipulation or the harm that comes from their deals. It is on all of us to break out of this and use tech to try and fight back against the control and oppression of the present and the future.
Oppression most likely has been with us as we developed in our early societies. This perhaps is the standard state of nature with force being used against others. Yet as ethics have developed and we now have more understanding of each other and the wider world a change possible. For those who do not wish to be controlled by agendas that use force instead of discussions and debate we need to learn from the past to understand present and protect our future.