February 5, 2021•472 words
It occurred to me the other day that the worry about privacy and encryption may be a first world problem. That's not to say that there isn't this worry across the economic spectrum. However, it seems the majority people who feel empowered enough to take charge of their data are generally in higher income brackets. This could be because they have the money to pay for apps that are more privacy preserving but it also may be because they have more time to worry about these things. Your average person has many worries that they need to deal with each day (money, family, health, etc). Something like privacy and and encryption is likely at the bottom of the list of very real and important worries. While many people in higher income brackets work extremely hard and may very well have the same worries they are generally handled differently. Knowing that you have decent health insurance and a steady paycheck that can support your family can go a long way. As will the ability to pay for the latest secure app or more privacy centric iphone, mac, etc (if you believe that Apple has a privacy focus).
Here is an example. I am currently typing this note out using Standard Notes, which is an encrypted notes app. Even though the base product is free, a subscription is required to unlock all but the most basic features. While I have the ability to pony up for a 5 year subscription to a secure notes app, many do not. Instead people are likely to look for a free option that will accomplish their need (taking notes). This may be at the expense of some level of privacy or security but not everyone has the disposable income to just spend ~200 dollars on an app like this.
Another example is email. Encrypted "Secure" email providers like Protonmail and Tutanota have free options but the feature set is somewhat limited. For the more advanced features we need to pay a subscription fee. Services like Gmail and Yahoo offer their services completely for free with the big caveat that they may track your data. People with disposable cash can afford to pay for email but the great majority of people are going to go for the free options without concern of tracking.
There are also some exceptions that are free like Signal and to a lesser extent whatsapp (barf). On whole though most of the privacy and security preserving services are more accessible to those in higher income brackets than they are in lower ones.
I think the core of the question is how do we make privacy are security more accessible?