Privacy, Ethics, & Silicon Valley’s Role In The New Mobility Industry

If we had a show of hand right now, how many would say they completely trust their computers, handheld devices, smart TV, and other smart devices? Chances are high that practically no reader would say they do. And when it comes to the future of mobility, privacy is something we never hear much about.

Ethics & How Silicon Valley Deals With Privacy

When we were told two years ago that our Samsung TVs were spying on us, even when turned off, the company’s reaction was even less reassuring — it advised us not to conduct any important conversations in front of the TV. Oh, the gall of modern companies!

With data leaks, data exposures, and some researchers showing evidence of malfeasance, many groups have tried to get the public to fight for a more ethical way of handling people’s data. Among a few are the ACLU, Fight for the Future, and Color of Change, which joined the Security Pledge organization’s pledge to commit to protecting user data.

Security pledges ethics

The infamous Cambridge Analytica–Facebook scandal shows that users’ data once online is used however data brokers, ISPs, surveillance companies, and runaway political actors feel like using it. And that means anyone can exploit any given freedom.

How Security Pledges Sees The Ethical Answer

How the Security Pledge organization sees the problem is that there are both corporate and government attacks on human rights to privacy, security, and liberty — and these are increasing. Grey areas in technology proliferation play a central role. Instead of empowering and granting freedoms to all, technology is “hijacked” by entities to exploit our freedoms.

How the Security Pledge helps to solve the problem is through company and organization pledges to protect users’ data privacy. What this also means is a need for a surveillance-resistant Internet, but that point is contentious since the attempts at solutions are many and there is little coordination.

Who’s Afraid Of The Boogeyman?

Security pledges ethics
Aw, shucks!

We should all be afraid of the boogeyman after “incidents” such as these. It’s no wonder not too many people trust their electronics devices. And, after all, why should we? Who would want to bring Google and Amazon salespeople into our homes only to be snooped on? By the way, if you’ve been holding back on a virtual assistant because of security concerns, see the open source virtual assistant Mycroft project instead.

Security is everywhere and, sadly, isn’t implemented everywhere, certainly not as a main philosophical driving force. With everything mobility converting in Silicon Valley — where computers, vehicles, phones, and more merge — we’d expect new companies to reassure their potential clients that their data is not mishandled. Are there any doing so?

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