Privacy is not just about the past, it’s about the future.

Johnny Dollar
3 min readMar 26, 2018


Many think they have little need for privacy because they’ve done nothing wrong, or just don’t care what others know about them. You may hear phrase like “if you’ve done nothing wrong than you’ve nothing to hide”, “honest people don’t need privacy” or, “if you can’t say it in public, don’t say do it at all.” All that sounds very good and logical, but there’s more to it.

Governments change, and history shows authoritarian regimes can take over and use the public’s data to control the population. For an example, one need only look to when the Nazis took over the long democratic and tolerant state of the Netherlands. The Dutch had kept excellent records of their populations’ religious affiliations, which the Nazi’s used to quickly and efficiently round up the Jews in Holland. Just as governments can change and sometimes “nothing to hide” changes to ‘nowhere to hide”

In the digital age of constant surveillance and ever more powerful machine learning computer algorithms, privacy is no longer just about the past, if it ever really was. It’s about the future

“Puppet Show’ painting by Johnny Dollar

Big Data, as the industry is called, is constantly tracking you, where you surf on the web, how long you visit sites, with whom you communicate. Also where you go in the real world via many methods from GPS, credit card purchases, grocery store point plans, facial recognition software, and countless surveillance cameras…….

All this data is collected and analyzed by computers that not only know where you’ve been and what you did, but more importantly what you will probably do and where you go and how you will react to stimuli. Whether that is to get you to by a product or vote for a candidate.

As I write this article, the media is up in arms about Facebook’s data collection being used to manipulate an election, as if they should be surprised. I quit Facebook a couple of years ago because I was finding myself getting angry, upset, or sad every time I logged on. Then, it was released that Facebook feed was experimenting on making users sad. When people are sad, they are more likely to buy. Salesman, hypnotists, and propagandists have known for ages that people are more susceptible to suggestion when they are emotionally charged. So, Facebook was using it’s users as “guinea pigs” in a lab experiment.

This is one of the reasons I haven’t logged into it in almost two years, as mentioned in my recent post “Quest for privacy

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We like to think we have free will and “Advertisers can’t manipulate me.” It was difficult enough to not be influenced by the old style Mad-Men advertising agents that were using Freudian psychology, but now a ever learning computer that not only tracks what you did and said, it also knows what you will do and how you will feel. Simple humans don’t stand a chance at freedom unless we begin to take control of our data.

If we can be manipulated to think, feel, and act by the all-knowing all-seeing AI, how can we be free?

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So, I’ve decided to write 30 posts about privacy including tools, cypherpunk ethos, open-source software, hardware, game-theory and maybe even how to hack your neighbors wifi (for informational purposes only, of course.) And for the sake of brevity and sanity, I won’t get to much into technicalities and will keep it as simple as possible. Hopefully you may find it useful

References will be included so people can do their own research if they wish. I will include some drawing, info-graphics and of course some shameless self-promotion of my artwork.

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Humbly Yours

Johnny $

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Johnny Dollar

Crypto-anarchist , cypherpunk inspired artist exploring themes of privacy, surveillance, copyright, hive-mind thinking, virtual-reality, and identity.