Privacy Becomes a Luxury

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Platforms and their attendant services become more interdependent and more expensive over time. Once users are enclosed in platforms, the rent goes up. To remain in the system, you pay more, or you are left out with increased difficulty in accessing material prosperity due to a lack of connectivity and information. This tendency, based on the monopoly tendencies inherent in capitalism, suggests that the “existing inequalities in income and wealth would come to be replicated in access inequalities,” in which the high price of entry becomes a barrier separating the wealthy from the rest. Privacy becomes a luxury (as Apple’s tightly sealed, luxury hardware and commitment to privacy already demonstrates). To opt out of data collection and other modes of surveillance, those with the means can purchase privacy services. This is one more way that growing levels of inequality are exacerbated by technology. The digital divide becomes the access divide, deepening social inequalities.