Never

First they came for knowledge, but I did not speak out… Because I was not knowledge.

Then they came for information, but I did not speak out… Because I was not information.

Then they came for data, but I did not speak out… Because I was not data.

Then they came for privacy… And there was nothing left to speak for privacy.

                                                Sandy Gilchrist, LifeBank (2016)

 In Never, the point is that actually I am data. In the physical world, all the facets that describe my life are recognised and recalled by individuals who encounter those facets – there is a heavy reliance on memory and connections that make sense of those facets in our individual and collective minds. This reliance provides a natural safety net with regards to my privacy, as, in general, I am an otherwise insignificant presence to 99.9999% of the world’s population. However, in the online world, every piece of datum leaves a digital footprint, an eternal memory, that when connected with other data makes up an important jigsaw piece in the world of information.

In Never, “I am not information” continues the irony because, by definition, data makes up information. Similarly, this is also then true for knowledge, because it is the process of intelligent socialisation of and inquisitive probing of available information that establishes knowledge. So, the eternal data I leave behind today forever offers the possibility to those with the capability and capacity to be knowledgeable about every aspect of me and my life.

Any semblance of privacy I may have thought might exist in the physical world ceases to survive the moment I opt to leave one iota of datum online, and the more data I share, the less privacy I have. Putting that into context, we are collectively exponentially multiplying the pool of online data globally by significant factors on a daily basis, which in turn translates into a lot of information and knowledge (in no small part due to the growth of online users, with their associated data deposits), but worryingly this translates into an increasingly deep fissure in the bedrock of our privacy. The amount of my online data then is inversely proportional to the privacy I enjoy.

As LifeBank coined, “if data is the new currency, privacy is the new premium.” Privacy, we are reminded, is worth paying for, and the source of our privacy starts by collecting and protecting our data.

LifeBank… we are speaking out.

Privacy

First they came for wisdom, but I did not speak out… Because I was not wise.

Then they came for knowledge, but I did not speak out… Because I knew nothing.

Then they came for information, but I did not speak out… Because I was not informed.

Then they came for data… And I had already given everything.

                                                Sandy Gilchrist, LifeBank (2016)

 In Privacy, the emphasis is instead on meMe… the collective, the individual – regarding:

  • our corporate and singular responsibility to protect our shared and separate privacy;
  • our liability, severally and jointly, to defend each other’s unique privacy; and
  • our accountability for own data, that when others exploit it for their own information, knowledge and wisdom, defines the extent to which our privacy is being corroded.

Specifically, Privacy states the obvious – “I was not informed” / “I knew nothing” / “I was not wise” – in that our ignorance of the impact of our sharing of data is entirely our fault. Not realising that “I had already given everything” puts the onus on our own shoulders to do something about it, as per “then they came for data” refers to the progression of time, where it is paramount to act before it is already too late. The consequence of ignoring our apathetic inaction being that we will end up with no privacy.

LifeBank… speak out!

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LifeBank twice acknowledges the inspiration of Martin Niemöller’s publication of his “First they came…” speech regarding our poems “Never” – the German word “nie” (that makes up the first syllable of Niemöller’s surname) meaning “never” in English – and “Privacy”, the latter subsuming Niemöllers message reflecting the guilt of the collective to counter apathy.