The Netflix series MINDHUNTER is fascinating as a history of personality tests. Yet I am drawn to another subject: the influence of technology on privacy issues.

MANHUNTER opening titles

MINDHUNTER shows how audio recording devices came to be used in psychological interviews. We tend to think of our time as the digital century. However, in the 1970s, analogue devices already behaved like today’s mobile networks.

You see this in the opening titles. Sound recording conjures up dark fantasies. Violent images glue themselves to the audio tape. These fantasies do not belong to anyone. Neither the criminals nor the investigators understand them. They are like a collective data cloud, floating above an unconscious server.

There is concern that that there will be a breach of privacy. By the end of Season 2, you realize nothing will be revealed. This is because language operates OUTSIDE of ourselves. We are not really the agents of speech.

Today we make up elaborate schemes to protect privacy. But if the mind escapes analysis, and our fantasies do not belong to us, whose privacy are we defending?

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