The Implications Of A Privacy-Oriented Lifestyle

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading these articles about various governments ramping up their surveillance in an effort to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I’ve also read articles of how many of the poor and less privileged have not received any monetary assistance from the government, despite many governments proclaiming to be doing so.

It amazes me how many people still believe that their governments are capable of and are doing their best to stop the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their lives.

Now, there are many countries which are actually helping their citizens maintain a comfortable life whilst staying in lockdown. But then, you have countries like Brazil, where the President himself refused to put the lockdown into effect, claiming that the Covid-19 was just a mere flu and the mass hysteria was for nothing. Now this Jair Bolsonaro also fired the Health Minister who urged everyone to stay at home to reduce the spread of the Covid-19.

Then there’s Sweden, which has over 22K cases right now, but no lockdown in place.

But this isn’t about the Covid-19 pandemic and how many countries are incompetent in flattening the curve due to their stupid politicians and corrupt government system. Oh no! This is about privacy. And when I talk about privacy, I think about Edward Snowden. When I talk about privacy, I think about the members of the military special forces. When I talk about privacy, I think about the dozens of anonymous strangers scattered across the globe, who have chosen to go dark.

Now, there a waves of discussions around the implications of the Covid-19 apps that many governments have made mandatory for citizens to go outside their homes. But these are just waves. Like the waves before that. And those before them.

Every year, the governments and corporations increase their surveillance and privacy invasion. And each year, a few people talk about it for a while and then forget about it. They talk about what’s going on, they know it’s not right, but they don’t make any efforts to protect themselves. And this is why the state of surveillance has gotten much worse since the Snowden leaks. People don’t really care. Until it’s too late.

I am one of the few who cared. I am one of the few who paid attention to the Snowden leaks and asked myself, “What should I do now? How am I going to do it?”

And here, are the implications of the privacy-oriented lifestyle that I adopted:-

  1. I’m peaceful. I remain undisturbed by the news of government and corporate surveillance, oppression and privacy invasion. Why? Because I have planned and prepared for the worst case scenarios.
  2. I have nobody to talk to. That’s right. Everyone I know offline uses WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. I’m only available on Signal. I invited a few people I know to Signal. It took them ages to finally join, and when they did, they didn’t even use it much. Since none of them were available to chat most of the time, I just left the Signal groups that I’d made.
  3. I don’t accept incoming calls. Now this is more of a personality trait that anything else. I just don’t like talking to people over the phone. And the fact that these phone calls are recorded and intercepted by government agencies gives me a reason not to pick up any calls.
  4. I don’t reply to text messages either. Why waste money on texting someone when I can chat online for free?
  5. I have no friends. Duh! Friendship is made by social interaction. If you cut that out, you become a hermit.
  6. I feel lonely. Sometimes. Like for a few minutes in a day. But I’m totally cool with not having someone to disagree with.
  7. I don’t trust anybody. But I’m not paranoid enough to be mentally ill.
  8. I have a lot of free time during the ongoing lockdown to read and write.

I think the implications of being a privacy-oriented individual can be best summed up as being alone. Now this may not be the case for someone who’s immediate family and friends are willing to make the switch to a similar lifestyle. But that’s rare.

And after analyzing these implications, one may wonder, is it worth it? For me, yes, absolutely. I found peace in my solitude.

During my transition, I tried really hard to convince everyone I was close to, to join me. But they didn’t. And I realized I wasn’t important enough for them to make that change in their lives. But I also realized, that they weren’t important enough for me, to stay in their bubble with them. I’d made my decision. If they weren’t with me, then they’d be without me.

Loneliness doesn’t bother me anymore. Company does. Over the years, I’ve realized that I was quite different from a lot of these people. Our standards and our values were miles apart. It wasn’t meant to be.