The other day I conducted a survey where I asked 24 university students 8 questions regarding varying tactics in which their privacy may be breached. They were not made aware that the survey is about privacy and the questions only hinted at it. The questions ranged from convenience offerings, bargains, and to promises of homeland security or self-security.
The crushing majority were accepting to some 6 or 7 of those questions, only ever getting skeptical when the narrative is too obvious; "Your country wants to make encrypted communications illegal saying these channels harbor criminals and terrorists".
Why am I mentioning this survey? Because it opened my eyes to something very
People don't care.
In order to make people care, you don't convince them with arguments you'd take at face-value. What I mean by this is, us in the free software world are already aware of many things that when you try to explain them within our circles you'd get "duh"s all day.. But the circle itself isn't as large as it seems. In fact, I'd go as far as calling it a niche, if not an extreme one.
And we're so caught up in this world it might sometimes deceive us into thinking it's vast. It's not. Those people I surveyed are supposed to be the pinnacle of educated society. If the proportion of those who care within that slice is 12-16%, then how do you expect it to be for the rest of the masses?
One quote I really like from the email self defense infographics is:
In the physical realm, we take window blinds, envelopes, and closed doors for granted as ways of protecting our privacy. Why should the digital realm be any different?
It's so simple to swallow for the non-technical person. This is key. People need to feel like change is coming from them, not that they're being told what to do by some conspiracy theory tech fanatic.
More thought should seriously be put into the kinds of arguments we use to advocate for software freedom. It is an important thing to argue for. We are a vocal minority that's trying its best to protect people. But to do so we need to learn the art of propaganda; don't appeal with facts and logic, appeal with strong, simple, striking emotion.