Trust travels through the vessels of society carrying the quintessential element that makes everything work—from currency to love.
Like blood, life cannot be without it. And like our blood, it's sick.
As we place our trust in brands and their technologies—welcoming their technological creep into our most private spaces and allowing our most intimate information to be stored, managed, and displayed for increasingly convenient and free technologies—we sacrifice our security.
The technical issues of security are often specific in their locality, which fosters a behavioral tendency in ourselves, our companies, and our societies to overlook a broader implication:
technology is inherently insecure -> companies are inherently profit driven -> advertising revenue becomes the technology model -> advertising gorges on data -> security exists insofar as to not impede profitability -> products and services remain insecure
Perhaps consumer security exists only as a function of the degree to which products and services remain limited (or excluded) from consumer's lives.
But as consumers, we are also becoming increasingly removed from our ability to control our own security (FCC plans for net neutrality).
Since 2004, our WiFi hasn't been as secure as we believed. It has been revealed that WPA2 security has a protocol flaw that renders emails, passwords, and data vulnerable to attackers. It even means someone could "inject ransomware or other malicious content into a website clients are visiting".
Amazon recently introduced a product and service that allows drivers temporary access into our homes to safely deliver packages. It's a service of convenience and security—gone are the days of stolen packages. But Amazon Key (another link) has already been hacked.
Additionally, as AI algorithms become increasingly embedded into products and services, or exist as the products themselves, companies whose revenue streams are not fundamentally reliant on advertising still become increasingly dependent on consumer data in order to deliver more accurate and tailored results (Deep Learning 101, machine learning [Google loves ML] and this theory).
This leads to what is being referenced as 'the consumer is the product' or 'we are the data'. And as companies gain increasing access to consumer data, the idea of true privacy and security provides less and less incentive for them—including a company claiming to be about nothing else (see what Nest is doing).
One frustrating example is the Equifax leak that has rendered roughly half of the U.S. population forever vulnerable to identity theft. Equifax and other credit rating agencies profit from the leak no matter what—you have to pay to freeze/unfreeze your account and they even started selling protection services through a third party.
The infection of our trust is feverish.
We need to be able to switch off location services or check a box that tells a company to respect our privacy and they actually will. We need healing.
Because what is trust's quintessential element? You could call it faith. You could also call it oxygen. Like a red blood cell carrying that odorless, invisible, life-supporting component of air, trust carries an invisible societal-supporting component of humanity.
And as our trust's infection festers through commodity, humanity grows septic.