ROBERT WRIGHT

Crisis, What Crisis?

More history, less hysteria

On Privacy

"Google is going to stop reading your email."  Well, that's a relief—particularly when all the world's press is reporting on the U.S.$2.7-billion fine leveled against Google by the EU's anti-trust regulators.  All of a sudden, historian Timothy Snyder's anxiety about creeping totalitarianism doesn't sound so paranoid.  "We are free only insofar as we exercise control over what people know about us," writes Snyder.  "Whoever can pierce your privacy can humiliate you and disrupt your relationships at will."  It's ironic.  While we were fussing about the NSA, iPhone encryption and Petya ransomware, Google was casually mining out our private correspondence to sell us patio furniture.