Barlow once wrote that “trusting the government with your privacy is like having a Peeping Tom install your window blinds.” But the Barlovian focus on government overreach leaves its author and other libertarians blind to the same encroachments on our autonomy from the private sector.
Libertarians didn’t develop this blind spot because they saw technology as a liberating force. They only ever saw encroachments on the individual by the state and all too often equated the state’s regulation of corporations with the regulation of individuals. The control of corporate power over individuals was never their concern. The utopia that many of them still expect technology to deliver remains untouched by the messy reality that the rest of us live in, the one where their darling “market” transfers wealth only upward and private money ensures that the state maintains this system.