December 18, 2014

The Future of Privacy

Elaborations: More Expert Responses

Following are additional provocative and thoughtful answers from other respondents, organized in the same format as those in the summary. First, the insights of those who responded “no” to the question about whether a popular and trusted privacy infrastructure would be in place by 2025. After that, there are opinions of those who answered “yes.” The report closes with additional observations that move beyond the yes/no framework.

Themes commonly found in the answers of those who say they expect there will not be a widely accepted privacy infrastructure by 2025

Theme 1) Living a public life is the new default. It is not possible to live modern life without revealing personal information to governments and corporations. Few individuals will have the energy, interest, or resources to protect themselves from ‘dataveillance’; privacy will become a ‘luxury.’

Leah Lievrouw, a professor of information studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, wrote, “A way forward for proactive, trusted privacy rights does not seem promising. Especially in the last few years, my sense is that many people, perhaps even heavy Internet users, in particular, have begun to affect an attitude of dismissive cynicism about privacy and surveillance to justify their disengagement with privacy and autonomy issues: ‘They know everything you do anyway,’ where ‘they’ includes anyone or anything from Google to TSA to ISP’s to insurance companies, educational institutions, copyright owners, law enforcement, government, credit agencies, and so forth. I am not sure that those adopting this attitude have a very clear sense of just how extensive the data capture, and data analytics, really are, but it is a habit of mind and public opinion that does not suggest that privacy norms will be stronger in 10 years than they are now.”

Kevin Ryan, a corporate communications and marketing professional, wrote, “A secure, popularly accepted, and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure will not be possible. Business will not tolerate an Internet without analytics. Analytics will be the basis of advertising rates. Analytics is too deeply engrained in marketing. Security departments within the governments of all countries will not give up tracking activities of citizens. So long as business and the government gets the information they need, we will have ‘privacy.’ We will accept the fact that, legally and practically, we have no privacy. For most, it will not be a big deal. Clandestine networks will be created. People will create homegrown methods of avoiding scrutiny. Most people will come up with avatar aliases to do what they do not want associated to themselves.”

Joel Halpern, a distinguished engineer at Ericsson, wrote, “While the described target is highly desirable, I consider that the odds are quite high that the result of the political fighting over these issues will be significantly less than a ‘secure, popularly accepted, and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure.’ Unfortunately, I expect that we will have accepted significantly less privacy than we expect now. I hope, and expect, that we will not have given up all notions of privacy.”

Larry Gell, founder and director of the International Agency for Economic Development (IAED), responded, “By 2025, there will have been enough collection and monitoring of anyone connected to the Internet that there will be no need for privacy. Your total privacy is almost gone at this point already. The only thing needed by 2025, or earlier, is for the US government to give IBM the rights to use their new nuclear storage technology to store the masses of data and information they are collecting. They are almost there. Once you get everyone to throw away their computer and only use their cell phones for everything, you have them and everything about them. If you never knew you had any privacy rights, why would it be a problem? That is the benefit of retirement and hiring all-new, young people.”

A long-time leader of technology development for the World Wide Web responded, “Technology evolves so quickly, and thereby creates new and unique user scenarios, that it is unlikely that security/privacy infrastructures can keep pace—much less one that is generally accepted. Working in parallel with the policymakers and technology innovators will be a community whose goal is to subvert any security, liberty, and privacy advancements that are achieved.”

Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz, founders of the online community Awakening Technology, based in Portland, Oregon, wrote, “We expect that the hacker/geek/libertarian/individual rights community will continue to develop their own secure networks, encryption, virtual currencies, and the like within the Internet. There are also new DIY networks springing up in communities. For example, see the video ‘Free the Network: Hackers Take Back the Web’ (2012). At present, most people still assume that information about themselves is considered private unless, and until, they reveal it and make it public, although this is changing among younger people… [In reality,] information once considered private is often anything but.”

Stephen Abram, a self-employed consultant with Lighthouse Consulting, Inc., wrote, “We are in for more ‘extreme’ targeting, based on behavioral big data collections and matrices of all of our geo and other tagging systems as a consequence of an evolving digital economy, as well as of using the national security lever to wedge in commercial interests. There will be some ‘sanctuaries’ that protect privacy, but they will be few. There is actually a market opportunity for these places. Libraries will remain a bastion of private spaces, although their online access and digital content may not—vis a vis the Amazon Kindle libraries offering.”

Sam Punnett, of Fad Research, observed, “The public perception of privacy in 2025 will likely be resignation. The complexity of what constitutes a person’s digital ‘fingerprint,’ and the complexity of the systems that monitor them, will remain beyond the grasp of full understanding of most individuals and policy makers. The balance will remain skewed in favour of commercial and government-associated security interests over individuals. There may be ‘secure data,’ but it will be secured within the opaque storage systems and protocols not readily apparent or accessible to the individual citizen. I would rule out any substantive actions by policy makers. I would not completely rule out the inventiveness of technical innovators. It is unlikely that they will craft any absolute solution that puts the individual totally in charge of his or her ‘fingerprints.’”

Andrew Bridges, a partner and Internet law litigator and policy analyst at Fenwick & West LLP, wrote, “The revelations of numerous whistleblowers [like] Edward Snowden … show that governments and agencies have ‘gone rogue,’ having no real accountability for their actions because they have, until now, succeeded in cloaking their actions in secrecy. I fear that no amount of political pressure will bring these rogue elements under control, and there will be no trusted privacy-rights infrastructure that is effective against government surveillance. Unless government surveillance of all aspects of society and of all individuals gets under control, all norms about privacy will become hollow, and the expectation of privacy will be nil. We will have to reorder all our actions to reflect the reality that there is no privacy except for the secrecy associated with the ‘Security Class,’ namely those persons who get to know about others without their own actions and knowledge being known.”

Barbara Simons on the future of privacy

Barbara Simons, a highly decorated retired IBM computer scientist, former president of the ACM, and current board chair for Verified Voting, responded, “Unfortunately, I think the most likely scenario is that technically savvy people might be able to communicate privately, but most folks will not have that option. I hope I’m wrong… It would help if people would stop saying that privacy is dead—get over it. There is no law of physics that says that it is impossible to have privacy. We can have privacy, if that is what we as a society choose.”

Bruce Bimber, a professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara, wrote, “At this stage, those who benefit from the market for personal information and data are well organized and have a great deal of momentum in the market. By contrast, there is little organization and few resources, comparatively, on the part of those seeking a new regulatory regime that would protect privacy. So, pressures on government at this stage are greatly imbalanced. It is impossible to make an intellectually responsible forecast for 2025, but we can certainly see that there are few prospects for comprehensive reform in the near term.”

Fred Zimmerman, of wrote, “There are no market drivers to make it happen. Rather, all the market drivers are to make individual behavior as track-able as possible for consumer purposes, which inevitably means that governments can track people, too. The public will be much more accustomed to a default lack of privacy on the one hand and the need for strong cryptography or going off the grid to generate real privacy, but at a cost.”

Nick Wreden, a professor of social business at University Technology Malaysia, based in Kuala Lumpur, commented, “This, for better or for worse, is a free-enterprise world, and tracking data enables companies to sell more. Just look at ‘do not call’ lists today, with all their loopholes. The regulation was enacted, but we are all still getting calls at dinner. The elite will have privacy safeguards, while the rest of us will not.”

Karen Riggs, a professor of media arts at Ohio University, wrote, “Lawmakers (of course, being funded by corporations) might grapple with the problem in various ways, but corporate interests are overwhelmingly powerful. It is also unlikely that government officials and employees will unilaterally back off their affront to personal privacy because of what is deemed ‘in the national interest.’ …. A gathering storm is occurring in the realm of employer-employee relations. Among other practices, the bleeding of private Internet and communication technology (ICT usage) into the workplace is transforming the modes and scope of surveillance by employers. In less direct communication, corporate and private hacking (as well as government surveillance) will continue to creep into everyday ICT usage. Privacy protections will be Band-Aid measures. With each correction of technological vulnerability, corrupt influences find a new way to invade the personal sphere.”

Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles, founder and managing editor of, wrote, “Protection of personal information by the individual citizen, over-matched and out-maneuvered, is the propagandist’s illusion—a hard sell come 2025. No number of outwardly friendly personal security apps will enable the individual to outsmart the profit-driven determination of major corporate players and criminal cyber gangs, or overcome the intrusions into privacy and cynical threats to liberty from a menacing fascist state, bent on total control of a restive and displaced populous. The few who retain awareness will have realized the impossibility of privacy but will learn to strike a counterbalance through the sly creation and manipulation of multiple and diverse online identities. Everyone will be watching everyone, but no one will be certain of the actual corporeal identity of the visages on the other side of screens and holographic projections. For the many, participation in the Net will no longer be optional.…There will be no escape from the chipset, the camera, and the omnipresent PDA. The long-sought passive legion of worker drones will, at last, be fully mustered and brought under systematic control by the stock-holding elite and their handsomely compensated managers, engineers, analysts, planners, and enforcers. A sophisticated menu of online social and cultural diversions, delivered in the guise of entertainment and personal networking, will satiate the wage-earning citizenry, ensuring that the so-called ‘haves’ remain blind to inequity among peoples and oblivious to the rapid diminishment of resources necessary to feed, house, and clothe the human race. Everyone vested in the system will have just enough to satisfy vague ideas of personal progress and opportunity…The mantra, ‘What have you got to hide?’ will have become commonplace criticism of anyone who stands against the all-powerful state in matters of privacy versus security. Not knowing our neighbors, and inculcated with deep-seated fear of ‘the other,’ we, as a people, will view privacy as one of those things we had to relinquish to be safe from harm and secure in our hovels.”

Frank Thomas, a communications professional, wrote, “The continuing influence of US corporations, the US administration, and the Chinese state with the then-largest digital user base, will inhibit effective protection of user privacy. The situation is just too good for these major players to leave individual privacy rights below the level attained with international telegraphy or postal services in the nineteenth century. Who could have imagined that private corporations demand, and get, the right to read your address book, just under the pretense to send ‘better’ advertisements (as smartphone apps often demand)? There will be a continuing struggle on privacy between countries with a historical experience of dictatorship and foreign occupation, such as the majority of European, African, Asian and Latin American countries, whose populations will demand strong privacy, and the few Anglo-Saxon countries with their Puritan and dictator-free experience, who see no evil in living digitally naked. I have nothing to hide, so the state (or a corporation) can look into my intimacy, if I get a favor for it.”

Francis Osborn, a philosopher at the University of Wales-Lampeter, wrote, “Governments and businesses are extremely unlikely to create a secure and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure because, where privacy rights and online marketisation conflict, the buying public [is] consistently ready to take a convenient option, which compromises the security of their data. There are, and will remain, a minority who wish to ensure the security of their data and privacy, ensuring the continued demand for such a secure and trusted system, but buying and selling personal data is such a large part of marketising otherwise unprofitable online services that a compromise by 2025 seems impossible.”

Dave Burstein, editor of Fast Net News, responded, “In making decisions like this, especially around monetization, corporations with the money for lobbying too often dominate. The result is weak protection for individuals. Most of us will continue to prefer our sexual behavior unobserved and will not go naked in public. Short of that, the majority will take a, ‘What the ****,’ attitude toward privacy.”

Mark Nall, a program manager for NASA, responded, “There may be the illusion of personal privacy, but there are two main drivers against true personal privacy. The first driver is corporate need to understand the customer. Business economics will continue to drive this. The second driver is national security. Lone actors are a significant threat now, and advancing technology will make them an even greater threat in 2025. Automated monitoring will be used to help prevent future crimes. There already is little or no expectation of privacy online. This will continue, so I see little change by 2025.”

Celia Pearce, an associate professor of digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology, responded, “My leaning is towards ‘No,’ and here is why: For one thing, policy makers are largely clueless about the Internet. They have poured billions of dollars into cyber security from the perspective of cyber-terrorism and national security, including spying on Americans, but have turned a blind eye to many other aspects of the Internet that need attention. In my opinion, the biggest threat to privacy is corporations. If we do business with them, they take our private information and can do what they will with it, pretty much entirely unregulated. They can sell our information, pass it around to their other divisions, and so on. If we browse their websites, they can cookie us and track everything we do, again, unregulated. In addition, they can spam us without consequence. At this point, corporations are free to exploit their unlimited access to our personal information without any checks or regulation, and, sad to say, I am sure this will continue… My biggest concern about the Internet at the moment is cyber-bullying and hate speech, especially misogynistic hate speech towards women. I am a video games scholar, and it is well known that, when women go into networked video games such as Halo or Gears of War speaking with their natural female voice or revealing their gender through a name or other means, they get harassed, told, ‘This game is not for you,’ and/or threatened with rape and so forth. And, anti-gay hate speech is so pervasive that it is commonplace. Women who speak out against sexism in the game industry are regularly threatened and harassed.”

Aziz Douai, a professor of new media at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Canada, responded, “The high economic and political stakes involved in dominating and controlling cyberspace will continue to prevent technology innovators from creating a more secure and ‘trusted privacy-rights infrastructure.’ Users will be more jaded about online privacy because they will expect that it is the (huge) price they have to pay to participate in cyberspace.”

David Cohn, director of news for Circa, responded, “The incentives are not aligned properly for this to occur. Publicity will be assumed; not just that it is assumed one is in ‘public’—but one will assume that there could be ‘publicity’ around their actions. Privacy will be a privilege, and even in the act of being private, will be known. For example, I know if somebody is using Snapchat, they are having conversations that are private. Because privacy requires action, one cannot inconspicuously be private.”

Tom Jennings, a respondent who chose not to share additional identifying details, wrote, “It will never happen… My guess is that the Internet as we know it—open protocols—will be replaced by inter-linked proprietary networks controlled entirely by corporate interests with a modicum of regulation and an extra heaping of government security infrastructure, a la NSA’s data extraction/warehousing. Government now, and probably for another decade or two (if it is not yet already permanent), has far more pressure to serve the needs of ‘business’ (a misnomer: multi-national corporations, i.e., Walmart, et. al, are hardly ‘business’ in any historic sense). ‘Apps,’ as opposed to flexible multi-purpose, adaptable programs running on general purpose computers (laptops, etc.), will further ensure the death of any egalitarian use of the Net; ‘apps’ turn Net services and their human users into ‘read-only’ users consuming information produced by content-providers…[I]t is not like ‘privacy’ ever had a hard definition; it was always contingent upon the loss of some ‘assumed’ part of culture. Privacy generally meant, ‘I assume no one is looking.’ Corporations are exploiting components of human interaction trivia that went unexamined, i.e., tracking individual incidental purchases, or ‘following you out of the store’ with identity tracking, etc. Whatever happens, there will be less self-control over the consequences of our personal actions, calling that privacy, or not, is another issue.”

John Anderson, director of broadcast journalism at Brooklyn College, wrote, “I just do not see that the political or economic will be there for it, unless there is a massive sea change in the way our political system works. I fear we will be living in a world where biometrics will be a common thing, and privacy will be a premium luxury commodity. This is nearly impossible to imagine, as changes in this regard are happening within generations. By and large, my students see privacy as an esoteric thing that does not really have any bearing on their lives, and that scares me.”

Victor Bahl, director and research manager for Microsoft Research, wrote, “The bar for what is considered private, and for what is not, will be different from what it is today. Citizens will continue to stress about the information technology and can infer from what appears to be random and uncorrelated pieces of data. Laws will complicate the usefulness of the technology, so people will be confused about what they are giving up. Different form-factor devices will make it harder for users to understand what they are compromising.”

Larry Press, a writer, consultant, blogger, and part-time professor, said, “Security and privacy will evolve, but they will not come to a stable conclusion for several reasons: first, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are subjective—one person’s privacy for freedom fighters is another person’s terrorism. Second, people willingly trade privacy for free services like those provided by Google and Facebook; that also gives those companies power to influence legislation. Third, technology—whack-a-mole—will continue to evolve. My guess is that people will be less concerned about privacy by 2025—I teach, and my students are pretty much indifferent.”

Gary McGraw, the CTO for Cigital Inc., known as a father of software security, wrote, “Though all stakeholders will want this to happen, it will not. The government will overreach and underperform in all domains, using private industry to justify and amplify its actions. In general, the populace will remain captivated by functionality and will not care about lack of privacy, surveillance, or the tradeoffs that come as a price for ‘security.’ There will be more awareness, more worry, and about the same action by 2025.”

Karl Fogel, a partner with Open Tech Strategies, and president of, wrote, “I expect user privacy to be in about the same position in 2025 as it is now, for several reasons. First, businesses that provide online services often have a direct anti-privacy interest; they make their money by selling facts about their users—advertising being the most obvious use, but not the only one. Second, in online services, there is an inherent tradeoff between privacy and usability: the ‘user experience’ provided by an online service is often better the more the service knows about that user’s life. (This is not to say that privacy is an unworthy goal, but rather that people sometimes want contradictory things.) Third, similarly to the above, there is a security/convenience tradeoff inherent in any software application. Software tools exist right now that offer communication free of surveillance, and in some cases, even free of detection. But, most people do not use them most of the time because those tools inevitably make communication harder for the legitimate interlocutors (after all, whenever there is a security feature that ‘does not’ involve any inconvenience, it would already be incorporated as a matter of course, thus establishing the new baseline from which the security/convenience tradeoff begins again). Fourth, governments’ desire for surveillance capabilities will not go away, and neither will their strategy of drafting Internet-based services into the surveillance network.… Nothing about the passage of time changes any of these dynamics.”

Marc Weiner, a professor at Rutgers University, wrote, “The Internet’s present-day commercial norms and physical infrastructure [assumes] a very elastic sense of privacy. Despite some early holdouts for a free and unregulated Internet, it was quickly monetized, and since the only things that actually move around on the Internet are data, it was data that was monetized. And, in order to monetize data, it was necessary to render conventional understandings of privacy elastic; indeed, Facebook’s use of private data is the very best example of this phenomenon. This policy of elastic privacy is now so deeply embedded in the praxis of the Internet that path dependency pushes it to expand in like form.”

Theme 2) There is no way the world’s varied cultures, with their different views about privacy, will be able to come to an agreement on how to address civil liberties issues on the global Internet.

Per Ola Kristensson, a lecturer in human-computer interaction at the University of St Andrews, UK, responded, “By 2025… there will be intense pressure by the general public to legislate in order to protect people’s privacy on the Internet. However, legislation will not be completed by 2025, as legislators will still be waiting for an industry-driven, privacy-rights infrastructure to be developed. The development of this infrastructure will be delayed because of an inability to agree on several fundamental issues due to competing business interests, such as a fear of standardization damaging profits for leading advertisement networks, and an inability of privacy advocates and advertisement networks and other industries profiting from profiling people to compromise. Politically, there will be serious concerns raised about how the United States risks losing its dominant position in the Internet business by legislating too harshly, as leading advertising networks by Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other US-based IT-companies will be even more dominant and an even bigger industry than it is today. It is likely educated people will be more reluctant to share information on the Internet, as the ability to de-anonymize people on the Internet will be much greater.”

An Internet engineer and machine intelligence researcher responded, “I expect the continued balkanization of Internet governance, with different policies imposed for different reasons at the national level. Some countries will choose to favour individual privacy and information security. Others will take a laissez-faire approach. And, others will impose severe censorship and access restrictions for various well-meaning or misguided reasons. I expect established business and national security interests to continue to disrupt any attempts for global governance with regards to individual privacy and information security. It is likely that continued disclosures of privacy violations, particularly disclosures that lead to human rights violations, will raise public concerns, perhaps even to the point where citizens of democratic nations collectively express that concern by voting for government representatives who are equally concerned. It is equally likely that the public in wealthier, democratic nations will simply accept the lack of privacy, based upon the rationalization that it does not affect them personally.”

Stuart Chittenden, the founder of the conversation consultancy Squishtalks, wrote, “The outcomes will revolve around the tensions between global cultures (i.e., privacy-inclined Europe, compared to the indifferent and open United States, to controlled and censored China, Russia, etc.); economic systems (i.e., free-market capitalism and quasi-socialist economies); and sociopolitical value systems (i.e., US Republican, versus Democratic, policies); as well as a simple lack of awareness and, indeed, apathy, among much of the Western world, especially the United States, when it comes to the balance between corporate messaging and the reality of Internet-based applications and tools. Public norms will be largely indifferent, with isolated groups (i.e., ACLU, consumer advocates, Snowden-esque supporters, etc.) offering cautionary, yet shrill, messages that will be ignored by the vast swathe of the media.”

Shahab Khan, CEO of PLANWEL, a nonprofit organization aimed at closing the digital divide, wrote, “This issue is too diverse for all countries to agree. Superpowers always have their own interests to look after. The developing world might agree. There would be a clear divide.”

Laurent Francois, executive creative strategist for RE-UP, said, “I cynically think that, in 2025, we will experience big ‘blocks’ of interfaces, probably gathered around political or cultural objectives. As there will be this sort of oligopolistic digital world, I doubt there will be a consensus between nations with very versatile geopolitical and technological strategies. There will probably be more digital worlds: we might see new, ‘off the grid’ systems, which will co-exist and live out of infrastructures initially shaped by governments. In terms of business relationships, consumers will probably value a minimum standard of privacy. But again, as it is already a very complicated mind game (just look at what we already accept when we install a Facebook app!). I am not sure that the general public will shift its attitude if the consumer experience satisfies them. I guess that it is going to become tougher.”

David Allen, an academic and advocate engaged with the development of global Internet governance, replied, “’The Internet’ is, of course, a global phenomenon. While some nations may likely produce, by 2025, such a trusted infrastructure, it seems clear that other nations most certainly will not. Europe seems likely to continue strongly on the privacy front. On the other hand, totalitarian regimes have too much at stake to follow such a dictate. Will the United States produce such an infrastructure internally? The United States moves incredibly slowly on the things. To predict, for 2025, is a chancy bet. Will some global governance structure arise to produce such a global infrastructure? That seems unlikely, particularly with the tension between the West and pointedly non-democratic states.”

Theme 3) The situation will worsen as the Internet of Things arises and people’s homes, workplaces, and the objects around them will ‘tattle’ on them. The incentives for businesses to monetize people’s data and governments to monitor behavior are extremely potent.

Anita Salem, a design research consultant, wrote, “Government and industry will both exert strong pressures to decrease our privacy. Government will continue to strengthen data mining efforts on private citizens and push for encryption keys in the name of ‘security.’ Industry will continue to put profit over ethics and create even more unusable privacy settings and will utilize our data for subtle, and not-so-subtle, purchase and market manipulations. The lack of privacy will be taken for granted. The public will not realize the power of psychometric data mining and analysis, which will be used by the privileged to shape opinion and influence laws. Public opinion will be tailored almost instantaneously based on aggregate data mining of online activity. Behavior will be more homogenized due to the ability to network cameras and computers to observe and identify aberrant behavior. New technologies and social systems will be established that are counter to this anti-privacy culture, and these hackers may exert a disruptive force.”

Dean Thrasher, founder of Infovark Inc., wrote, “The slow erosion of privacy online is a classic ‘boiling the frog’ problem. It is hard to imagine a crisis of privacy that would force regulators or lawmakers to take a strong interest in establishing and protecting privacy rights. As for technologists, there are compelling technical and financial reasons for making privacy protections as weak as possible. The technical reason is that privacy is a ‘wicked problem,’ an intersection of social norms, tacit guidelines, and accepted practices that are difficult to codify. Managing complex security and privacy rules regarding data is an expensive and error-prone task, and most companies will avoid it if at all possible. The financial reason for avoiding it is simple: Most websites and applications are funded by advertising and commercial applications that have a strong interest in knowing as much about current and potential customers as possible. In response to the weak online privacy regime, most Web participants will grow used to managing multiple profiles. They will put forward different public views of themselves in different contexts, and others will come to respect the implicit boundary lines between these profiles.”

Alf Rehn, chair of management and organization at Abo Akademi University in Finland, wrote, “Whilst I would love to think that we will be a more advanced society privacy-wise, I am a cynic when it comes to this. As privacy is becoming increasingly monetized, the incentive to truly protect it is withering away, and with so much of policy run by lobbyists, privacy will be a very expensive commodity come 2025. Sure, some of us will be able to buy it, but most will not. Privacy will be a luxury, not a right—something that the well-to-do can afford, but which most have learnt to live without.”

Christopher Wilkinson, a retired European Union official, board member for, and Internet Society leader, said, “This question contains contradictions which belie the ‘Yes/No’ response. I do not accept that ‘compelling apps’ emerge from consumer tracking and analytics. I think that these techniques have nothing to do with the user experience, but rather are designed to customise advertisers’ opportunities. I would prefer to pay more for an Internet that is free of advertising. In Europe, they will not differ significantly from what they are now. The Internet operators should adapt their offerings to the privacy of individuals and to the law. With respect to apps, etc., ‘privacy by design’ should be the norm.”

David Ellis, course director for the Department of Communication Studies at York University in Toronto, responded, “Big corporations will always want more confidential data from customers, especially those in the targeted-ad industrial complex, since increasingly intrusive data-mining is the hallmark of success. These motives will apply less to firms whose business is not ad-supported, but instead, based on selling content and apps (and other digital retail goods). Yet, this distinction is by no means hard and fast, since lots of developers have shown they are not above deceiving end-users about their actions… By 2025, these trends are likely to be exacerbated by the appification of the Web and the growth of the Internet of Things and the far greater degree of intrusiveness they will enable.”

Andre Brock, a survey participant who shared no additional identifying details, wrote, “I foresee that the expansion of personal information collection will continue to be exploited for profit and for ‘national security.’ While I am tarring smartphones with a heavy brush, thanks to their proximity to our person and status as genius loci of our social spheres, I am also concerned about the number of ‘quantified-self’ devices (and clothing), along with the incursion of the Internet of Things in our homes (i.e., the Nest thermostat, Internet-connected refrigerators, and smart toilets)… These devices and appliances are not yet infrastructure, but given continuing trends in low-power CPU design, I am convinced that we will continue to populate our domestic spheres with information gathering devices, and I have yet to see a considerate policy protecting our information access rights.”

Brad Berens, a senior research fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, wrote, “Citizen/customer/consumer/user privacy in the United States is kind of like soccer: it is the topic of a future that is never going to show up.”

Mark Andrejevic, a university professor responded, “We are embarked, irreversibly, I suspect, upon a trajectory toward a world in which those spaces, times, and spheres of activity free from data collection and monitoring will, for all practical purposes, disappear. We will continue to act as if we have what we once called ‘privacy’—but we will know, on some level, that much of what we do is recorded, captured, and retrievable, and even further, that this information will provide comprehensive clues about aspects of our live that we imagined to be somehow exempt from data collection. We are already doing this—many of us use email as if it is private, in the way that written correspondence or face-to-face conversations were private, even though we know that commercial entities, the state, and, in many contexts, employers, have comprehensive access to it. Increasingly, we will find our ability to preserve this illusion challenged, and I suspect we will adjust to these changes the way we have already adjusted to Gmail, etc. This is not to say that there will not be resistance to increasingly comprehensive monitoring, but I suspect that conceptions of privacy will be replaced by concerns over various forms of injustice and abuse, perhaps even over particular forms of entrenched power.”

Theme 4) Some communities might plan and gain some acceptance for privacy structures, but the constellation of economic and security complexities is getting bigger and harder to manage.

Sean Mead, senior director of strategy and analytics for Interbrand, wrote, “Most people will ignore, or never appreciate, how exposed they are. There will be a branded program to represent best privacy practices, but it will be deliberately ineffective. A separate network will exist for those with a commitment to privacy; the network will lack the full functionality of the Internet and only be compatible with a limited number of sites. Expectations for privacy will be narrowed, but many will still be surprised by pictures and videos among friends going viral, in situations never contemplated at the time of capture.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “For one, there will not be ‘one public,’ nor ‘one network.’ There will geo-publics with different rules (China, Napoleonic-dominated Europe Tradition, military-industrial-United States, etc.). Secondly, these geo-publics will have separate networks, and sub-partisan groups will have separate networks in those geo-publics (think darknets). Substantial portions of the world will assume they have no privacy, and in fact, will construct apps, appliances, and graphs based on that.”

Andrew Nachison, co-founder of We Media, wrote, “I needed a third choice: ‘Yes, but…’ I have no doubt that policy makers around the globe will update privacy laws. But, they will not be uniform, or uniformly applied, and they will trail commercial and non-governmental innovations. Businesses will continue to seek new and better ways to track and persuade consumers to make purchases, as well as to manage risk. Governments in democracies will remain conflicted between the interests of citizens and those of businesses that drive economies and politics; and, governments in dictatorships, so long as they survive—and like those in democracies—will depend on surveillance technologies to track and suppress dissent. I favor stronger protections for privacy. I expect tech innovators to be the primary obstacles and providers—and I do not think policy makers will lead or create the infrastructure. I suspect we will see more inconsistencies and schizophrenia—continuing erosion of expectations of privacy for communication and digital experiences—as we see today with young people who presume their digital lives and ‘vapor trails’ are public, or tracked by someone, but they do not fully appreciate what that means; and, at the same time, older people, who instinctively distrust government, fear for the safety and success of their children and worry about who has access to their data streams, especially their electronic health records.”

Nigel Cameron, president of Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies, based in Washington, DC, wrote, “This will be turbulent. A language of privacy has yet to be properly developed, which is why, so often, people seem unconcerned. No business will prosper without consumer confidence.”

A professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, in Tokyo, Japan, wrote, “It is technically impossible to create such an infrastructure because it is impossible to attach strings to data. Once you pass the data to somebody else, you just have to hope they will use it they way they told you they would. What can be done is to have stricter laws for privacy, but even that just leads companies to create longer small-print privacy statements, which nobody reads anyway. People will understand more about privacy implications of their actions on the Internet, but they will still ignore a lot of it. Also, there will be new technology that will make things more difficult to understand yet again.”

Brittany Smith, a respondent who did not share a professional background, wrote, “It will be impossible for policymakers to create a popularly accepted privacy-rights infrastructure that is trustworthy without intensive collaboration and cooperation among major corporations and public agencies such as the NSA. This will require a large cultural shift, both within these organizations and amongst the greater public. Very few citizens are aware of what is at stake in this dialogue and are not in a position to organize and advocate for their rights. I believe a trusted organization will need to emerge that can help to educate the public and work across sectors to develop a secure infrastructure. Cyber-security will be the most important issue of the upcoming decades. People will become more aware of things like passwords and their online identities. Clicking ‘Keep me logged in,’ and, ‘Remember me,’ and, ‘Save this password,’ will no longer be an option. I believe that, in the future, smartphones, wallets, and electronic devices will have built-in hardware to make them more secure, and more software solutions to create random, secure passwords that are changed frequently will become available.”

Kelly Baltzell, CEO for Beyond Indigo, wrote, “The definition of privacy is undergoing change. What we considered privacy in the past is gone. In a sense, we are moving to a more open society, where everything can be tracked and shared. This really is a full loop back to the days of the small town, in which everyone knew everyone’s business. The more we rely on devices, the more tracking will become a natural outcome. Data, devices, and information are all tools. How we use these tools is the key. People have gladly given power to those who would choose to abuse it because they get captivated by the device. The devices create pleasure (studies have shown the ‘ping’ of a smart phone text hits a pleasure center), and people shrug and say, ‘Who is searching for me anyway?’ Until people choose to take back control over their thoughts and actions, online privacy will be a non-existence… Most people do not care. They are completely unaware of how much of their lives are tracked and are stunned when they find out there movements can be tracked. By 2025, this will be the norm, unless people decide to change. I hope they change, but in reality, it is looking bleak that it will happen. It is time for people to learn they have the power to make choices.”

Paul M.A. Baker, associate director at the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, predicted, “There seems to be a variety of dimensions to the idea of trusted privacy-rights infrastructure. Policy makers and technology innovators do not necessarily have the same objectives, and while individuals may desire or expect secure, private information flow and transactions, there are most likely to be trade-offs that are reluctantly accepted. ‘National security’ will continue to be the justification for monitoring of information flows, justified by regulators, and the objective of monetizing or generating resources will drive the erosion of individual data privacy from the private sector side. I see at least two alternative scenarios: first—individuals beginning to abandon expectations of privacy, at least the way that we current expect it, and the development of workarounds such as synthetic constructed identities that will splinter the data envelope attributed to individuals—or, second—technologies that allow alternative networks of transactions (grey nets) that straddle legal and ‘official’ and illegal or unofficial nets.”

Stacey Higginbotham, a Texas-based technology writer, and frequent blogger for GigaOM, commented, “Consumer data is so valuable in aggregate to corporations and for policy (and so cheap, from an individual perspective), that we will get paper tiger regulations that appear to protect individual data, while giving over aggregate data that is not supposed to be personally identifiable; however, that data will be easily tracked back to an individual, though we may have more protections in place that mean governments need a warrant to do so. When it comes to redlining and price gouging based on that information, I expect we will have to see some lawsuits, as opposed to laws. Congress will not go there. In terms of security, we will see some fines that will influence companies to build better security into their products from the get-go, but they will be circumvented. Right now, most companies are not thinking about that at all, so it is low-hanging fruit to start. People will be accustomed to being monitored, and it will take increasing amounts of technical savvy and paranoia to remain untracked. I believe social mores will relax on the job-finding side, so your drunken Facebook pictures or trips to strip clubs will be less harmful from an employment perspective, although possibly still something to be held over someone’s head, if necessary. People will rebel if their personal spaces, such as their homes, are broadcast online, but they will ignore it if that same information is available with a warrant, or whatnot.”

Ed Lyell, a college professor of business and economics, and early Internet policy consultant dating back to ARPANET, observed, “As much as one tries, it is likely to be impossible to keep ahead of hackers, independent and national state-led. The economic incentives are great, and it is technically very easy to track everything, such as Twitter having more metadata than the actual 140-character messages. My young college students seem unconcerned with maintaining their privacy, so there will be less and less political pressure to control privacy access.”

An attorney working on digital issues for the US federal government responded, “I find it hard to believe that there will not, in 2025, still be a continuum of beliefs about privacy rights, from those who will trade their grandmother’s social security number for a chance at a free cheeseburger, to those who will do their ever-more-difficult best to stay off the grid out of privacy concerns. Whatever the norms—and I do believe that there will be a far more robust security and privacy infrastructure in place—there will be those at both ends who object to them, and those who subvert them for political, ideological, and financial gain. By 2025—as in 2014—there will be little reasonable expectation of privacy. I am concerned that if that remains the legal test, there will be little legal protection of privacy. I am extremely skeptical of any possibility of a legislative solution. I am somewhat more optimistic about a technological solution. In addition, the privacy and security implications of online life are only beginning. As more and more of our lives and interaction are online, more and more data will be stored and there will be more and more ways to access, assess, and monetize it.”

Themes in responses of those expecting a trusted and reliable privacy arrangement by 2025

Theme 1) Citizens and consumers will have more control thanks to new tools that give them the power to negotiate with corporations and work around governments. Individuals will be able to choose to share personal information in a tiered approach that offers varied levels of protection and access by others.

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, wrote, “If capable people of good will—on both policy and tech sides—can connect, then this can happen.”

Charlie Firestone, executive director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, responded, “Personal identity and privacy will likely be more secure through user-centric identification techniques. Nevertheless, it is, and will continue to be, an electronic arms race between those who will find ways of using personal information to target products and service to customers/users and those who will find ways of protecting and ‘owning’ personal information on behalf of the user. First, there will be greater awareness of the uses to which one’s private information will be put, and second, there will be better tools to own and/or protect that information.”

An Internet researcher and entrepreneur said, “I see a convergence of identifiers, where our online and offline identities, payment methods, and devices become connected (if not centralized) in ways different than our de-coupled current state. I believe the connection of these identifiers will force the creation of more stringent rules and protections regarding data protection. Within this framework, technology builders can then develop approaches that appease the many regulatory agencies. Privacy evolves slowly. We will laugh about how ridiculous Google Glass was.”

Laural Papworth, a social media educator, replied, “Policymakers will not have a role, but technology innovators now have an extremely strong customer sector that speaks back. Products that damage fidelity will be destroyed by mass word-of-mouth media before they get too far. Rights will be managed, not because of any ethical behavior, but because not to will be bad for business. Consider Google Plus making privacy such a critical part of their social network to counterpoint Facebook’s perceived lack of privacy. Privacy was a short-lived, post-industrial experiment. The global village will always win against privacy. Privacy was used to divide and separate individuals from each other to weaken them. As we enter back into the village, privacy naturally disappears against convenience and the human need for connection.”

Kevin Jones, founder of Good Capital, SOCAP (social capital markets conference) and Impact Hub network, replied, “Platforms created in the sharing economy will enable average citizens to aggregate and make felt their collective power. Car sharing, room sharing, tool sharing, etc., and nonprofits that marshal people who believe in this new paradigm, will exert their power. Collective wisdom will prevail. The people will be in more control. Corporate personhood will be reined in because the corporation will be much less central in a world past peak oil as we transition to a new future. That is the future I am aiming at and designing for.”

Deborah Lupton, a research professor at the University of Canberra, Australia, commented, “Digital technology users will become increasingly aware of how their metadata and data are being used (or misused), and there will be pressure for them to be able to exert greater control over how their data are being used. There will be a greater awareness of the relationship between digital technology use, the production of personal information via this use, and the importance of knowing what happens to these data and having control over them. Consumers will be more aware of the tradeoffs between the benefits they gain from using digital technologies and the privacy issues that this use may entail. Privacy concepts may incorporate data control concepts to a greater extent than at present.”

Paul Jones, a professor at the University of North Carolina and founder of, responded, “While the main part of privacy and security is peace of mind that can only be secured by strong social norms, the continuing efforts to engineer support for privacy and security will receive sustained interest and funding. In short, it will get better because we want it to get better—and we will understand what makes it better for all of us. Some of this perception of betterness may solely be the product of exhaustion and resignation, however. During the previous century of urbanization, we constantly complained of alienation and isolation. No one knew anyone quite as well as we did when we were in small towns. Now, like it or not, we are having to relearn the social behavior of small towns: how to cooperate, tolerate, or just ignore differences. Frankly, we were not so great at all of that when we were in small towns. Now, we get another chance to try to live like a Family of Mankind.”

Raymond Plzak, former CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, and current member of the Board of Directors of ICANN, wrote, “All of the pieces are in place today to do this. What is really lacking is the international cooperation to do so, while, at the same time, not being seen as surrendering sovereignty by, perhaps, having to modify existing practices, polices, and laws to be a part of the global system. If this is done in the right manner, so that individual rights and privacy are protected, compelling content and apps will come on their own accord. Private data, whether it be personal information, pictures, or intent that is being surrendered in the social media world today, will be shared more conservatively in the future until such time as anti-predator and anti-exploitation mechanisms can be put into place, along with rigorous enforcement meted out to violators. This will have to be done on a global cooperative scale.”

Isaac Mao, chief architect of Sharism Lab, wrote, “The Snowden case gave people a strong alert that the Internet is far from secure and privacy-proof. And, China’s Internet cyber attack and Great Firewall system taught all of us that the Internet is not stable, it is not personal, and it is not decentralized; however, with such strong senses, Internet users, innovators, and entrepreneurs will strive to make more new technologies to improve on that. New, disruptive architectures or tools will emerge due to the alerts Snowdens and governments give us. Privacy will be less sensitive as more technologies can be helpful to individual users, and at the same time, privacy theft will be more easy to be tracing if abuses happen.”

Adrian Schofield, manager of applied research for the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering, wrote, “The policy makers will lag behind the technology innovators, but the demand for an acceptable, workable global network will drive the required solutions. Most people will accept that they live ‘open’ lives of little interest to ‘snoopers’ of any sort. There will be ways of securing private data.”

Neil McIntosh, a British journalist working for a major US news organization, wrote, “Even in 2025, there will be a tension, because I would expect development to continue rapidly on both sides of the privacy fence, between businesses keen to acquire and monetize personal data, and a public increasingly wary of handing it over without sufficient reward. An important third party is government: recent revelations about what information it collects may have a profound impact over time on some consumers’ willingness to be tracked ‘in any way’ online. But, despite this ongoing arms race, I would expect the privacy infrastructure to be built by the market because the consequences of failure are huge. We will start to hand back the digital revolution’s gains in knowledge, productivity, and prosperity if this is not sorted out. Maybe privacy becomes something you pay for by 2025; sure, your phone can give you personalised recommendations on nearby restaurants right now, but if it is for free, you need to tell the world where you are and let people market products and services at you—but, if you hand over £5 a month…”

Fred Hapgood, a self-employed science and technology writer, responded, “The ability of machines to recognize and make inferences from features of everyday life, online and off, will continue to improve, and access to those abilities will get cheaper. As they do, new privacy issues will come up over and over again. By 2025, I suspect that support for imposing a much greater degree of transparency on governments and other information consumers will be much greater.”

Mark Johnson, CTO and vice president for architecture at MCNC, the nonprofit regional network operator serving North Carolina, wrote, “The IETF will incorporate encryption into default standards, greatly improving security and privacy. There will continue to be a tug-of-war between the desire for various types of ‘analytics’ and privacy concerns, though. Privacy norms have been moving, and they will probably continue to do so. People are more aware of the issues, and I expect the tools available to help individuals take control of their privacy will improve over time.”

Mike Roberts, Internet pioneer and longtime leader with ICANN and the Internet Society, responded, “This landscape is littered with ignorance and misinformation. Despite that, there will be great progress in strengthening Internet security because politicians and tech leaders are finally in agreement that it must happen. The extremes of political views on the subject will continue to be unhappy, with lack of perfection of implementation of their views. The perfect is the enemy of the good, etc. There was an interesting blog comment the other day pointing out that 18th and 19th century immigrants seldom had any personal privacy where they came from. The wide-open spaces of America allowed the creation of ‘private’ spaces for individuals, and we continue to value that. But too much of the privacy space has been consumed by silly and prudish mores related to sex. The center point of social views has, and is, moving in a more open direction. Like other social areas, there is a deconstruction/disintermediation process going on that is energized in many ways by Internet social media. The social/political space will continue to display tension between communitarian and libertarian views despite technology evolution.”

Tim Bray, an active participant in the IETF, and technology industry veteran, wrote, “I am looking primarily to the policy makers, and policies differ from nation to nation. In those nations that have a civilized respect for their citizens’ rights, there will be a policy framework that enables all network communication to be private-by-default; law enforcement access will require a fairly traditional judicial process quite unlike the blanket-blessing the NSA currently seems to operate under. I am certain there will be other nations where pervasive abusive surveillance will be the norm. I am confident that the engineers can connect the technology dots, given a solid policy foundation to work on. I hope we have a keener appreciation that privacy is a basic benefit of modern civilization, much like indoor plumbing and elections.”

Lee McKnight, a professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at Syracuse University, responded, “B2025, there will be substantial progress in developing and deploying new overlay trust, privacy, and security architectures and systems needed by business, government, and the mobile device-loving public. These can provide end-to-end privacy and security far beyond the crude patches to the wide-open Internet. As big data requires assessing lots of data dynamically, to judge patterns and make decisions, the public will, by 2025, understand that, if it buys into ‘free’ digital services, it is making a trade, for re-use of—anonymized and encrypted—information about themselves and their digital habits. On the other hand, government agencies—in general—will also understand the limitations on what is accepted and what is not. And then, there is the intelligence community, both in the United States and around the world, which will accept certain levels of constraint, as the cost of doing business 2025. At least publicly. So, the public will be, more or less, cool with the balance struck, which, by 2025, will be majority digital natives and well aware of the choices and trade-offs they must make every day.”

Garland McCoy, president and founder of the Technology Education Institute, said, “In those countries with ‘open gardens,’ the customer rules, and those who wish to offer up their personal information in exchange for better services—more targeted services—will have that opportunity, and for those who wish to travel the Internet in a private, secure way will be offered the ability to do so (with the understanding that the government, should they wish to, can dedicate a mainframe to cracking your key, which would cost them a good bit of time and money per individual, per packet). So, there will be choice—real choice—in the ‘open garden’ countries. In the ‘walled fortresses’ countries, well, there will be no choices. If there is a market for privacy, real privacy, then companies will provide it. You will be able to choose your level of privacy or public engagement. Obviously, as it is in the real world, those who have the money to buy real privacy and security for themselves and their family will have it, and those who do not have the money, or do not want to invest in that level of privacy or security, will have to do with what is generally offered and available.”

Dan Farber, editor with CBS Interactive, replied, “In the next decade, the various factions will move toward a more secure, popularly accepted, and trusted privacy rights infrastructure. It is in the interest of companies interacting with customers online to make them feel more secure. It will not be perfect or totally trustworthy. With software, there are too many ways for governments, corporations, and individuals to subvert privacy policies and controls for self-interest. In addition, far more personal data is coming online, which makes the problem even more difficult to manage. Unless human nature changes (which it will not), we will not be able to have full trust in whatever privacy infrastructure is developed.… As we have seen with the NSA revelation, no data is safe from those who want to access it; however, that does not mean great efforts will not be made to provide more secure privacy. Certainly, Facebook Google, Apple, Amazon, etc., will make every effort to make their customers believe they are trustworthy stewards of privacy.”

Elizabeth Albrycht, a senior lecturer in marketing and communications at the Paris School of Business, replied, “I think that the demand will be such that a certain level of privacy will be guaranteed via policy. It will not please everyone. Consumers, corporations, and governments will all have to give something up. There will be tight time frames attached to privacy as well. Privacy will be negotiated and commoditized. We will have some free guarantees (human rights-level) and then pay for various other levels. We will not assume it is like a public good (air), but it will have a measurable (quantitative) value that we have negotiated via privacy markets. None of us will be happy with the situation, but that is good. It means that control will not be in only one player’s hands.”

Randy Kluver, an associate professor of communication, and global Internet researcher based at Texas A&M University, responded, “Such a framework will indeed be created. I am not sure that it will come about by policy makers, but rather, the market will demand that something be created. I do think that technology innovators will be part of this process, but I am not sure that it will, or should, be involved in some way with the regulatory process and bureaucracy. I think we all, right now, are trying to come to grips with the implications of the Snowden revelations. We will not be able to roll back the current level of surveillance, but we will come up with a new, lower standard for personal privacy and, hopefully, do a better job of policing the surveillance mechanisms.”

Giuseppe Pennisi, an employee of the Economic and Social Council of the Republic of Italy, responded, “I trust that, in 2025, there will be good balance between personal privacy, secure data, and apps. The key issue is, in my view, different: will Internet achieve a level of externalities and interdependence similar to that of previous innovations (i.e., mechanics, electricity)? It seems that, after a very innovative first ‘phase,’ research now concentrates on personal returns (i.e., enjoyment), rather than on social returns through externalities and interdependence. In Europe, the trend would be towards European regulations and closer coordination among European privacy authorities.”

Olivier Crepin-Leblond, managing director of Global Information Highway Ltd. in London, United Kingdom, predicted, “Despite a lot of push and pull in the lead-up to 2025, policy makers will eventually get the right balance between personal privacy, secure data, and compelling content and apps that emerge from consumer tracking and analytics. That said, there will be some periods until then, in which personal privacy will appear to have been lost forever. Only through the continuous will of privacy advocates and their supporters will governments step in to protect their citizens and regulate privacy. By 2025, blatant cases of abuse of personal privacy will have been so publicised that the public will be much better informed than it is today. People might still be intent on giving out personal information, but they will want to know why and how it will be used—and have the means to make sure companies use it as they have declared they would.”

Kath Straub, of, responded, “By 2025, biometrics will allow unique and secure identification of individuals. Apps and content will continuously tailor themselves to the needs and whims of the individual. We will interact continuously with our technology, but it will take a very different form. We will not need to hold it in our hands, for instance. The way we ‘hold’ and convey our identity will change, but the norms will not be that different.”

Andrew Rens, chief counsel for the Shuttleworth Foundation, replied, “I answer this as ‘no’ for policymakers and ‘yes’ for technology innovators. Policymakers will likely fail in this task, unless there are changes to democratic institutions that make them more responsive to citizens and less to proxies of multinational corporations. It is not always possible to code around bad laws and policies. Lawyers and activists will likely manage to carve out policy and legal space for innovation. Then, technology innovators will create the technological basis for people to have power over their personal information. In turn, control by people over their own information and other aspects of their communication will enable the trust necessary for businesses, especially smaller businesses, to make money via the Internet. There is no shortcut to monetization; it follows from giving people power over their information. In 2025, public norms will regard privacy as extremely important. Every institution and corporation will be regarded as duty bound, morally and, in most cases, legally, to protect the privacy of people. Those who come of age around 2025 will be aghast at the lack of privacy protection in 2013. They will regard it somewhat as a current generation regards the social acceptance of smoking in the 1950s—bizarre and disgusting.”

Nilofer Merchant on the future of privacy

Nilofer Merchant, author of The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy, wrote, “Privacy will be reformed by 2025 by new ‘protocol’ leaders who advocate for new freedoms. Freedom in 2025 will be understood as being able to manage your data, your privacy.”

David Solomonoff, president of the New York Chapter of the Internet Society, wrote, “Internet standards groups will integrate strong end-to-end encryption into everything. Social media and Cloud services will become much more decentralized. Business models will shift so that the consumer is in control, rather than the vendor, with vendor relationship management (VRM).”

Gary Kreps, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University, wrote, “I am optimistic that advances in health information technology and policy will continue to advance the security and utility of these systems for commercial and health promotion activities. I have already seen improvements in online systems that provide consumers with increased security and privacy choices for conducting their personal and professional activities. Consumer demand will help increase the sophistication of information system security in the future. As consumers become more accustomed to using information systems for a variety of commercial, entertainment, education, communication, and health promotion activities, they will become more comfortable with the security of these systems and less concerned about breaches of privacy.”

Jon Lebkowsky, Web developer at Consumer’s Union, responded, “I have to answer, ‘Yes,’ to this question; the alternative is undesirable, if not unthinkable. Innovative developers have been researching, brainstorming, and experimenting toward the right set of technical solutions since the 1990s, but creating a viable technical infrastructure will not be enough. Business adoption, smart regulation, and some degree of cultural transformation, are all required to support online privacy and security as inherent assumptions of the online agora of the future. And, the concept and urgency of privacy may change, as well. The evolving culture of sharing diminishes the cultural value of absolute privacy. In the future, we may be less guarded about our lives and less protective of at least some elements of privacy. Two important questions include: how safe and secure can we presume to be as we become less private? And, what is the minimum desirable level of privacy?”

Ian O’Byrne, an assistant professor at the University of New Haven, wrote, “I have little faith, or trust, in policy makers, governments, and businesses and their ability to secure freedom, liberty, and privacy in online spaces. I do believe in the power of the Internet, and think that programmers, coders, and those that are able to ‘write’ online will be able to create, protect, and secure these basic freedoms. I am beginning to think that social norms will continue to evolve and become just that—social norms. With cell phones, we initially thought it would be ridiculous to use the cell phone at dinner, out in public. Now, we are quickly getting to a point where people wear phones, cameras, and devices in public. We can use devices on flights and get online. Simply put, we are in the middle of two models. I think we will find a way. I trust human nature, for better or worse.”

Marina Gorbis, executive director at the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit research organization, responded, “People will realize the value of their personal data and increasingly use it as currency in various online and offline transactions. Creation of privacy around personal data will be driven not so much by policy and regulatory changes, but instead by advances and innovations in technologies for data protection and personal data management.”

Geoff Livingston, author, and president of Tenacity5 Media, wrote, “Technology companies will be forced to develop opportunities to protect personal data. We can see from Snapchat’s success that people do not want every piece of information to be available for mining purposes. As the age of context progresses, the desire to remain private in some aspects of life will increase. Companies will be forced to offer this type of privacy, or they will lose customers and prospects. We will see a much more liberal view of privacy. Things we did not expect to become public will become public, and we will gladly share that information. For example, eating and exercise habits are now becoming increasingly public thanks to wearable technologies from Nike and Fitbit.”

Jesse Stay, founder of Stay N’ Alive Productions, wrote, “Technology will take care of this. Leaders won’t have to. Peer-to-peer technologies and protocols, such as Bitcoin’s blockchain, allow for better ways of letting ‘users’ control their own privacy, taking control out of the hands of corporations and government. We are within five years of beginning to see this happen significantly. The public will have more control over their privacy through technology that empowers the consumer over the brand.”

Matthew Henry, a CIO in higher education commented, “In a little over 10 years, basic standards that run our systems of networking and commerce from basic TCP to SMTP will need to be reestablished. Just about all the bases of what we use today were established for research and ‘friendly’ or trusted relationships. As forward thinking as those who established these standards were, they did not see a future full of targeted abuse. Many branches of a future include pressure from policy makers to corporations. Pressure will come first from consumers and those of us who use technology on a day-to-day basis. Many compromises and innovative collaboration between corporations will need to happen. This will lead to an environment of balance of trust and release of privacy between consumer and corporations. Compromises will need to be made by all.”

Theme 2) The backlash against the most egregious privacy invasions will bring a new equilibrium between consumers, governments, and businesses—and more-savvy citizens will get better at hiding things they do not want others to see.

David Vladeck, a law professor at Georgetown University, and former US Federal Trade Commission official, wrote, “The public is only now beginning to fully understand the ecosystem that underlies the Internet. As the public becomes more aware of the massive, unconsented-to collection that is taking place, it will demand greater control over person information, including tracking and the information that is entered on websites for a specific purpose. The public will not countenance, in the long-term, unconsented uses of data provided for one purpose (i.e., order fulfillment) for another, wholly unrelated purpose… At some point, Congress, or the states, one by one, will have to enact laws that provide a solid yet adaptable legal framework for privacy protection.”

An anonymous respondent said, “They will have to [implement a privacy infrastructure]. There will be no other way to continue to use the Internet as widely as we do now if data cannot be protected. The loss of the Internet would bring on an economic collapse—and cause widespread loss of community. You will not only expect privacy—you will demand it.”

The CEO of a technology company replied, “The free market will force policymakers and corporations to strike the right balance to protect and secure consumer data. The coming years we may see an increase in public figures being victimized by privacy violations and data leaks. In order to ensure customers continued use of digital media, both consumer rights advocates and citizens will demand increased consumer protections and businesses will lobby to protect their interests for the sake of innovation and monetization by 2025. Public norms will shift to sharing less personal content and see an increase in business and information and knowledge sharing. With companies like Snapchat, where consumers believe their communications are deleted, we may see an increase in companies that delete content shortly after it is shared as a norm in 2025 in order for the general public to share personal content and interests.”

Micha Benolie, CEO and co-founder of Open Garden, wrote, “Mobile Internet will be predominant. Network infrastructures are not only built by carriers, but also by clusters of people and organizations growing their own Internet. Decentralization of the Internet will enable more privacy as well as easier and faster deployment of access to knowledge. Networks will become self-healing and self-organizing together, with organizations becoming less centralized and more horizontal.”

Bill St. Arnaud, a self-employed green Internet consultant, wrote, “Companies and individuals will build a far more secure, encrypted, end-to-end Internet—i.e., a commercial TOR. There will also be much clearer requirements on opting in on any service that impinges on privacy. Companies like Google and Apple will be at the vanguard of these developments, as opposed to those companies like the telecommunications companies who have implicated in recent NSA scandals.”

Doug Casey, the director of IT for a large educational organization, commented, “I sincerely believe this will be the case. Corporations are getting used to dealing with privacy and the consumerization of IT; this will be an issue that organizations and governments will need to address. I see, in the short term, a backlash of sorts in the next few years, in which individuals will become much more guarded with personal and financial information, leading to much greater control (or marketing of control—real or perceived) of private information.”

Laurie Orlov, a futurist, consultant, and industry analyst, responded, “The year 2025 is only a decade away, and even as outcry about privacy invasion gets louder, more technology is being introduced that is designed to help users easily share information (i.e., Instagram) or find each other (i.e., Tinder). People are gravitating towards the sign-in-and-share, Facebook-like style of online interactions. So, as innovators deliver the tools, and as users embrace them, policymakers will continue to be way behind in both understanding tech trends—and/or part of the problem of using shared information (NSA, for example) in ways that are not anticipated. Public norms are headed towards greater acceptance of online sharing—and business innovators are racing to capitalize on that acceptance. Individuals will continue to lack understanding about the implications of participation in online environments—even as they gain understanding about one environment, technology change is always ahead of them. The longer a user agreement for use of data provided, the less likely these are to be read. See smart phone location-based apps for many examples.”

Steve Jones, a distinguished professor of communications at the University of Illinois-Chicago, replied, “It is the ‘while also’ portion of the question that causes me to ‘go negative’ with my answer, followed by the phrase ‘easy-to-use.’ In the event that offering individuals choices for protecting their personal information can be monetized to a greater degree than using their personal information, then maybe that can happen. Otherwise, I do not think so. Frankly, I do not think they will be very different, though if nothing else, we will be still more accustomed to having less privacy (which implicitly means we will continue to have some).”

Dave Rusin, a digital serial entrepreneur, and former digital global corporate executive, wrote, “It will be a mixture of policy makers (regulators) and the free market… I envision a fundamental change of 180 degrees, whereby a user will have to grant a multi-step permission—and for marketers, your marketing will change to soliciting someone to opt-in by them granting you permission or apps separate and a part from the ‘terms-of-service’ provided today, written in clever legalize allowing personal information to be utilized. Moreover, unless otherwise stated, by 2025, I see individual security access and privacy laws, up there as the equivalent of HIPPA [the health information privacy law], for all those that elect to drive any commerce, free or transactional, through peering centers located in the United States and other, more advanced economies. Peering centers will serve a gateway for certification and compliance for off-shore Internet access purveyors or governments.”

Christopher Castaneda, a technology developer/administrator, wrote, “[A]s more and more stories of government data monitoring are revealed, the public will more than likely begin to push back, demanding more surveillance restraint. The public will also be more critical of corporations’ use of public data, especially in social media and mobile technologies. In general terms, the public will be accepting of having its data used for various legal purposes, either in a desire for more convenience, better shopping deals, or outright ignorance of what personal data is available; however, the threshold of acceptance will only go so far. In recent years, public pushback against Facebook has shown some distaste for the company’s behavior. In addition, the use of mobile devices, and the data they will produce, will cause some public concern over their devices, as mobile devices are more personal than a desktop or laptop computer.”

Robert Tuohy, deputy director with an organization that studies and analyzes US Homeland Security, replied, “The monetary rewards of acceptance will incentivize technologists and policymakers to find solutions that protect privacy to reasonable extent. The public will moderate its views on what it accepts with regards to privacy. It is already happening. The combination of better protections and more moderate expectations will make monetization more likely.”

Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, wrote, “The challenges that exist now will still exist in 2025. Technology and social mores will still be in flux. By 2025, most people will have realized that they are in an information economy. Their behavior will be tailored to the existence of that economy, which means that they will hide some things more carefully, and they will share some things more willingly and with better, if still imperfect, awareness.”

Frank Feather, a business futurist, CEO, and trend tracker based in Ontario, Canada, wrote, “Governments and other organizations have no option but to ensure security and confidentiality of personal information; however, governments have a responsibility to protect society, and thus must have the ability, according to strict guidelines, that allows them to search for and monitor criminal activity that is conducted via information systems of all kinds. I am confident that a proper balance will be struck and that court-enforced legislation will be passed.”

Micheal O’Foghlu, CTO of FeedHenry, based in Ireland, wrote, “There are many developments happening. There are pressures from large players, who control much of the infrastructure. There are pressures from governments and civil rights/privacy advocates. A new compromise will be reached that shares more than before ICTs came to dominate, but it will not be as much as the privacy activists fear. In general, younger people have fewer concerns than older people. As they grow older, they will probably become more conservative but still seem more liberal than we are today. Thus, the norm will shift towards more acceptance of sharing of certain types of data, particularly if suitably anonymised.”

Aaron Balick, a psychotherapist and author of The Psychodynamics of Social Networking, responded, “Technology develops in response to feedback from society by way of social shaping. Already, we have seen a great deal of responsive growth from a variety of online interfaces in response to the needs and desires of the populations they serve (and sometimes exploit). Social shaping is not a smooth process, and there are dominant structures that wield power more than others. That being said, I think the infrastructure with regard to security, liberty, and privacy online will continue to develop to concerns of different online cultures—individuals too will become savvier. The result will be far from perfect, but it will be responsive to changing social needs (which, themselves, are changing—i.e., relationships to privacy). There is some evidence to show that the younger generation feels differently about privacy than does the generation that precedes it. That being said, younger people do appear to be making thoughtful choices about their privacy—they may be doing differently from their parents, but it does not mean that they do not care. Public norms will shift with regard to greater tolerance and acceptance of information that may have been ‘over-shared,’ as there will be an entire generation who will be in the same boat on this one. New social networking platforms will continue to develop to enable different levels of privacy, and the general population will grow and learn to manage this better. Still, more information about our daily lives is uploaded into public or semi-public spaces than ever before (Google often does this on our behalf, whether we like it or not), so a certain degree of personal revelation will continue to be more available than it was in the past.”

Mattia Crespi, president of Qbit Technologies LLC, responded, “I believe it is a must. It is out of question to think we can fail in getting to the right policies and find a balance by those years. Already now, the Internet of Things forces us to re-invent communications and policies, between protocols, devices, humans, and machines. By 2025, we should have reached a decent, balanced set of policies to support our interconnected lives. There will be a clear difference in the type and forms of data and privacy connected to it. For instance, I may not care if a very personal detail of mine is shared, as long it is done anonymously. I believe privacy in the future will be modular, flexible, and adaptable. There will be a strong link to time—on how long things can be kept private. Total recording will generate repositories of any action in our lives, and privacy will be more and more related to time in the sense of past actions, present actions, and future actions.”

PJ Rey, a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Maryland, wrote, “First, we need to ask what incentive structures are in place for policy makers and business executives to pursue meaningful privacy protections. Without significant reform to the electoral process and updated regulatory infrastructure, it is hard to imagine that we will see much progress. Hopefully, we will get beyond hyperbolic declarations of the ‘death of privacy’ and understand that privacy and publicity are often mutually reinforcing. This would allow us to have more nuanced discussions about what responsibilities we have to one another and to what standards we should hold institutions.”

Gary Marchionini, professor and dean of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, replied, “I am an optimist. I believe that people will become more aware of the conscious and unconscious (projected exo-information) traces of their existence as they work online and also of the reflections of their existence added to cyberspace by other people and machines…The result will be a 2025 with strongly divergent views, beyond the political party divisions in the United States today; we could have open states (no privacy), as well as safe states (no disclosure).”

Theme 3) Living a public life is the new default. People will get used to this, adjust their norms, and accept more sharing and collection of data as a part of life—especially Millennials and the young people who follow them. Problems will persist and some will complain but most will not object or muster the energy to push back against this new reality in their lives.

A senior analyst for Internet economics and policy responded, “Business practices, and general social (as well as antisocial/criminal) behavior, has so thoroughly ‘adapted’ to the reality of an insecure, privacy-rights-vacating, but nevertheless popularly tolerated Internet service delivery environment that, in the absence of some near-term, catastrophe-induced ‘blank-slate’ overhaul of national and international laws, commercial law, and legal/regulatory enforcement mechanisms, as well as gross technical infrastructure, there is very little chance that a truly ‘secure, popularly accepted, and trusted privacy rights infrastructure’ will emerge by 2025. By 2025, increased public consciousness of the existential risks arising from near-universal availability of cheap technologies of (potential) mass destruction will probably have eroded expectations of privacy, to some degree. Whether such expectations will diminish faster or slower than the rate at which de jure and de facto privacy protections are lost will likely depend on the number and severity of catastrophic technology-related incidents that occur between now and then.”

Jim Warren, the retired editor and publisher of several microcomputer periodicals, a technology futurist columnist, open-government advocate/activist, and founder and chair of the first Conference on Computers, Freedom, & Privacy, wrote, “It seems clear that there are too many powerful organizations—governmental, corporate, financial, etc.—who want to track and profile every aspect of every person’s lives, activities, browsing interests, purchasing habits, investment efforts, personal associations, etc.—for them to ever ‘allow’ individuals anywhere nearly as much control over their own personal information, as many—most?—folks would like to have. Additionally, there is great truth in the cliché that, ‘Desire for privacy is a mile wide…and an inch deep.’ People want their privacy, but they also want to know all sorts of things about other people. In this case, ‘people’ can be as per five Supreme Court ‘Justices,’ and the most recent Republican Presidential candidate’s twisted view—that, ‘Corporations are people.’”

Jari Arkko, Internet expert for Ericsson, and chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force, wrote, “There are no absolutely private or secure solutions, nor is there absolute lack of privacy. And, there are great challenges in this area. At the same time, I am optimistic that we can and will improve the state of Internet privacy. It is clear that the society’s norms are trending towards accepting more public disclosure of information related to people.”

Dan Gordon, of Valhalla Partners, wrote, “Every other business infrastructure in the history of capitalism (and probably before) has started out as a ‘Wild West’ operation and has developed rules, frameworks, norms, balances of power, and (some) refuge or relief for the powerless. It is incomprehensible to me to think that this will not happen with the online business infrastructure. We are moving in the direction of demanding and tolerating less privacy and more shameless ‘living in the limelight.’ Since most of us are hungering to become celebrities with no privacy (in exchange for what—notoriety?), it is hard to see that we will value it more over time than we do today.”

Herb Lin, chief scientist for the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board at the National Research Council of the US National Academies of Science, wrote, “The public is strongly conflicted about privacy. In the abstract, people want privacy, but in fact, they want privacy for themselves—but less so for other people. And, they are willing to trade off privacy for economic advantages—often very small advantages—partly because they do not realize the extent of their privacy tradeoffs and partly because they do not care enough about their privacy relative to those advantages. Moreover, they want security—and to the extent that privacy and security must be traded off, they will opt for the latter. As time goes on without a major security incident, concerns about security fade, and privacy becomes more important. But, when another security incident happens, concerns about privacy fade. The public will still be conflicted about privacy in 2025.”

Robert Cannon, Internet law and policy expert, wrote, “Digital natives, as they have matured, have become savvier with their sense of privacy. They have become more astute about what they put online, and how… The norm has become kids becoming more aware that they have an online face that is visible. They may cloak their presence when they want to be less visible; they may groom their presence so that, when they are search for, there is something good to find. The fear-based message that if you tweet something bad it will be discovered persists; the real message is that we all have online presences and it is up to youth to craft what is found when it is searched for.”

A technologist working in Internet policy predicted, “The sad fact is that a backdoor, or ‘lawful access mechanism,’ cannot be used exclusively by ‘good guys’ (those working in the interests of a given user) but in fact, can be equally used by ‘bad guys’ (those working against the interests of a given user). The engineers have already begun to harden the core Internet infrastructure, and Internet corporations are learning that they have to offer end-to-end security or they need to confine the ‘monetization’ of content to the ends of the communication, preferably to the client, where access has to be covert (read as: important enough to break into someone’s house) or through due process. This is a fact that will lead society to prefer non-hobbled ICT infrastructure for communications. I think we will all have a better understanding of what privacy is and the value it gives us in an über-connected society by 2025. I think kids will learn about this stuff from a very early age and will continue to lead society in privacy sensitivity.”

David Berkowitz, the chief marketing officer for a large advertising agency responded, “A number of models like this have been tested, and during the next 10 years or so, it is likely that one will catch on with enough support by business, corporate, and consumer interests. Relatively few individuals will actually take part in such a program though. We are already reaching a turning point of wanting to be public and private at the same time. People care more about privacy but share more publicly. Expect these extremes to continue to diverge, with far more robust privacy options and protection in 2025 than what we are used to today, but also far more shared publicly. By 2025, we will also have national and prominent local elected officials, who entered college in the early part of last decade, when social media usage started to become widespread. So, there will be a greater acceptance of people having shared things that they since regret. Granted, some of those regrets will come back to haunt such candidates and officials.”

Bob Frankston, an Internet pioneer and technology innovator, whose work helped allow people to have control of the networking of the Internet within their homes, wrote, “This is a complex problem with no simple solution. The concept of privacy keeps evolving, and I hope that tolerance will improve in the face of more information being public.”

Justin Reich on the future of privacy

Justin Reich, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, said, “The risks of privacy violations are too abstract and distal, the benefits of surrendering privacy too immediate and valued. A very small number of organizations will continue to battle on behalf of the public for stronger privacy protections, probably having some success against the most extreme transgressions, but businesses will lobby against protections under the banner of consumer choice, and harms against consumers will remain too difficult to communicate. This might be different if we have a Hoover-esque government transgression. Broadly, people do not care about Internet privacy. And, as youth who grow up in a culture of exchanging data for service get older, the public will, on average, care even less about their privacy and data security by 2025. If the Snowden revelations do not shift public opinion, what will?”

Bob Briscoe, chief researcher in networking and infrastructure for British Telecom, wrote, “Society’s memory is short—Stalinism, Maoism, Nazism, and McCarthyism happened too long ago to worry about. The technology will be created, but policy-makers will not make it compulsory under pressure from corporate interests. It will not be used widely because commercial organisations have strong interests to gather information about their potential customers. Although many people are uneasy about erosion of their privacy, only a few feel strongly enough to withdraw their business from companies who put customer privacy below their desires to gather market information. Therefore the business risk of not introducing a new privacy-rights infrastructure is low for all commercial organisations. Younger people are already less concerned about their privacy than older people. I would like to think that repeated high-profile abuses of people’s private information would cause a backlash, however the trend will continue towards less concern about personal privacy.”

Amy Hartman, an information science professional based in Ohio wrote, “It will evolve to continue to make money and be secure for various corporate and academic entities, as well as those individuals who understand how to manipulate code enough to protect themselves. Because of the open nature of the Web, there will always be some level of corruption, fraud, and/or spying, the same way there is in our larger society and other forums. We cannot erase basic human nature, and if there is money to be made, or power to be had by sneaking around and manipulating people and information, someone is going to find a way to do it. Most people, even now, do not really understand most of the larger privacy issues when it comes to the privacy, use, and misuse of personal information. So long as it does not impact most people’s daily lives in a way they can see, I suspect norms will remain the same.”

Jeremy Epstein on the future of privacy

Jeremy Epstein, a senior computer scientist at SRI International, responded, “Consumers do not care enough about their privacy to create the incentives necessary to protect privacy rights. As a result, I doubt that there will be a method for offering individual choices for protecting personal information. Consumers will continue to complain about privacy, but they will not be willing to do anything about it. We will still give up our information for a ten-cent discount on a cup of coffee or shorter lines at the tollbooth. It will be similar to the (mythical) boiling frog—we will continue to lose privacy one degree at a time, until there is none left at all.”

Chen Jiangong, an Internet business analyst in China, responded, “I think it will be. But there will be new questions. The privacy war between businesses and consumers will go on forever because the new technology will challenge the consumers’ privacy again and again. The public opinion of privacy will change; people will give up a part of secondary privacy—just as, in ancient China, women once viewed their feet as a private thing, to be kept out of public view, but now they do not. Maybe in the future, people will not view something that we think of as private today as private.”

Supten Sarbadhikari, a leader working to implement the National Health Portal of India, wrote, “Actually, the answer is not an unqualified ‘Yes.’ Shades of grey are bound to be present. While it is most likely that secure systems will be in place, and online transactions will become ubiquitous, it is also likely that potential breaches and threats to security will increase. Privacy is a relative concept. When the President of the United States gets admitted for any surgical procedure, other than the attending doctors, no one has access to the details. Whereas, when the Prime Minister of India gets admitted for a surgical procedure, a medical bulletin is broadcast every hour in the public domain. With the world becoming a smaller global village, these socio-cultural contexts may also be blurred partly.”

Peter Janca, managed services development lead at MCNC, the nonprofit regional network operator serving North Carolina, responded, “As more business transactions take place via the Internet, someone (i.e., policymakers, IETF, financial industry, or the like) will need to establish a popularly-accepted, secure method of completing such transactions. As relates to consumer tracking and analytics, I believe work will have been done by 2025 to address public perceptions on the beneficial nature of such activities. We already see the ‘younger’ generation holding a norm about privacy, which is way more open than that of the over-30 generation. This norm is more open. As this generation matures, I predict it will retain much of this openness, yielding a more open public norm about privacy. This prediction could be modified, should several (more than two or three) serious, negative, public events take place that damage the younger generation’s confidence in being open (i.e., reduced level of concern about privacy).”

Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation, wrote, “Privacy is a value that shifts over time based on culture and context. Old privacy fears will subside, and new ones will emerge as technology evolves. Consumers will accept or reject technologies based on their relative levels of privacy and the norms of the time. There is anonymity in a crowd, and as more people participate in different online forums, an individual’s relative privacy will increase.”

Cliff Zukin, a professor at Rutgers University, wrote, “One could argue that this is what we now have. Largely, it is secure. It is popularly accepted, and it can be broken by governments and other actors. It should be the same in 2025. The mass public will accept it as safe—but really, no information is completely ‘safe,’ now or then. There is a generational story here, with two full generations now living life mixing online and with direct experiences merging to a single reality. So, they will be less questioning of big data. This has always been a fact of life for them.”

A survey research professional who has worked for decades for government, academic, and commercial organizations responded, “In assuming they have no privacy, people will permanently alter their credit and consumption behavior in futile attempts to ‘throw off the scent’ on consumer-tracking uses of their PII. Exceptions will be made for public emergency needs—pandemic flus, radiation accidents, missing persons, etc. Identity crimes will encourage the Social Security Administration to reissue social security numbers, people to permanently change their names, etc. Driver’s licenses will have embedded tracking chips. Some people will stop driving. And, maybe, we will have some other weird stuff we cannot imagine now—like drone-proof venetian blinds. Well, maybe not that last thing.”