“Citizen concerns over privacy ….. will require adjustments in thinking”. -Klaus Schwab, 2016
The World Economic Forum (WEF), the Switzerland-based NGO of “elites” noted for political power and extreme wealth, has taken it upon itself to dictate the future of the world. Each year, members have traditionally met in the small Swiss mountain town of Davos, hence the term “the Davos Crowd”, often used derisively because of the group’s unsolicited power. On any given day, the world should be prepared to wake up and find that the WEF’s society-changing “projects and initiatives” have been ongoing away from public scrutiny and are being realized.
One of the sessions taking place during the Forum’s 2017 gathering included the question of whether global society is moving toward an environment in which privacy becomes a “luxury item” with stark division between the “privacy rich” and the “privacy poor”. But then, someone queried, is it really germane any more? People being raised in the digital age appear not to care about privacy as did those of past eras. Based on behavior, humanity is demonstrating a willingness to trade away privacy for the greater convenience the digital world provides, and this is leading to the prospect (horrifying for some) that privacy may eventually cease to be available no matter how desperately it’s desired.
The key question of the session, proposed by the moderator, was never adequately explored, and indeed seemed to be carefully avoided: When privacy has disappeared completely and is no longer a consideration, what exactly will have been lost? The obvious answer to the question was avoided because those present knew the inescapable consequence of the death of privacy: In such a scenario, governmental power would necessarily become absolute, so that any protest by “digital citizens” against governmental overreach, no matter how outrageous, would be quickly discovered and neutralized. For discussants of the Davos session to acknowledge openly that fact would be to delegitimize their own existence.
Governments have interests, above all the protection and extension of their own power, and this inevitably comes up against the interests of citizens. In a digital world in which privacy has been snuffed, Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a society in which each generation has the ability to bring about the kind of revolution that is periodically necessary would be laughable.