A key product of ubiquitous surveillance is people who are comfortable with it
In the late 1960s, researcher Alan Weston divided the population into three groups according to their attitudes toward privacy: fundamentalists, who are generally reluctant to share personal information; the unconcerned, who are untroubled and unreflective about privacy; and pragmatists, who report some concern about privacy but are also willing to weigh the benefits they might receive in exchange for disclosing personal information. In a more recent study of attitudes toward privacy among older adults, Isioma Elueze and Anabel Quan-Haase expanded upon Westin's taxonomy to include a category for what they termed the "Cynical expert." These individuals were better informed about privacy concerns than their peers but also tended to be more likely to share personal information. The findings corroborated a 2016 study of privacy attitudes and social media platforms by Eszter Hargittai and Alice Marwick that sought to better understand what they called the "Privacy paradox": the gap between reported privacy attitudes and actual privacy practices. Hargittai and Marwick suggested that the rise of privacy "Cynicism" was in part a function of the opacity of how social media platforms structure privacy settings and what users perceived to be the inevitable dynamics of what Marwick and danah boyd had, in a previous paper, termed "Networked privacy." In a network, they contended, the individual invariably cedes a measure of control over privacy to others within the network who have the power to share and publicize information about them without their consent. The subjective experience of operating within the field of surveillance has more bearing on our attitudes than detached theorizing about the capacities of the surveillance apparatus or the abstract ideal of privacy. Pervasive surveillance leads to a paradox in which a deeper concern for privacy produces only more despair or indifference about it. Attitudes about privacy derive not only from experience of surveillance but perceptions of its potential and many social media platforms - along with the tools of personal tracking, personal AI assistants, and the data gathering nodes of the smart home - have, deliberately or not, made its potential seem limitless, generating the indifference that abets its further expansion.