When people use the words “computer privacy”, they tend to think about espionage, cryptography, and malware that are spying on others. However, privacy is much broader than this. Privacy also includes the right to stay in your “zone”, without being sucked out of it, by others wanting your attention, for whatever reasons they may have.
According to this definition, Silicon Valley, and most of its companies, are fundamentally incompatible with privacy – Basically because most of these companies are making their money by stealing your attention, such that they can sell ads. Hence, their goal, is to constantly interrupt you, such that you spend as much time as possible in front of their websites. This is an intrusion to your privacy, since it “steals your mind”.
Ask yourselves the following questions …
How much of my professional time is spent in front of Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc – And how much productivity is lost as a consequence of spending my time like this?
Many employers due to the (obvious) answers to the above questions, tend to deny their employees to use Facebook and Twitter during work hours. Simply because these services are created in such a way, that they literally “suck you in”, and makes it impossible for you to do anything else but to mindlessly continue using these services. These companies also have no other options, since these mechanisms are at the foundation of how they make money. “Free” can be very expensive sometimes …
So while your employer’s goal is to make you stay focused, Facebook’s goal is to steal your focus, and completely eliminate your own rational thinking, logic, and common sense – Such that you spend as much money as you possibly can, on products and services, supplied by the companies that are advertising on Facebook.
Software that truly cares about your privacy, should in fact be built in such a way, that it distracts you from your normal and daily routines as little as possible, and allows you to perform your job, without any distractions to your ability to “stay in the zone” at all. Software that truly cares about your privacy, shouldn’t have as much as a single distraction woven into its UX at all. Not even your company’s logo is relevant for your users to be more productive.
This is a value proposition that Silicon Valley cannot deliver on. If you’re a software developer, and you’re not on the “viral Silicon Valley insanity ride”, you should attempt to build software, that your users needs to use as little as possible, yet still facilitating for helping them solve their needs.
Software is not a goal, it is the means to accomplish your goal
Unless you agree with the above quote, you’re a privacy thief. Brilliant software is created such that your users needs to use it as little as possible, with as few distractions as you can possibly create. Software that truly cares about your privacy, don’t even show its name or the name of the company that built it in such a way that it is visible for its users. Below is a screenshot of how my Mac looks like when I have started it, and I am looking at my desktop. Pay particular notice to what is missing …
Facts are, brilliant software is not about stealing people’s minds – It is about allowing their own minds to unfold at their maximum capacity. Compare the above screenshot of my desktop with what you see when you open up Facebook or Twitter, and ask yourself the following question;
“Who are taking best care of my privacy here” …?