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Rich Men North of Richmond: Lyrics, Privacy and DeleteMe

August 28, 2023

This blog post was written by DeleteMe co-founder and CEO, Rob Shavell.

Since DeleteMe’s founding over 12 years ago, we’ve been hopeful that a growing number of people would start recognizing and taking action around their loss of privacy as our lives become ever more digital. Honestly, it’s taken much longer than we predicted it would, but concern over privacy is gaining momentum broadly, and the lyrics of Oliver Anthony’s surprise hit song “Rich Men North of Richmond” are yet another indicator that privacy concerns are entering the mainstream consciousness of the USA. 

Here’s some of the chorus:

These rich men North of Richmond…
Lord knows they all just want to have total control
Wanna know what you think
Wanna know what you do
And they don’t think you know
But I know that you do.

Click to buy on Apple Music or Amazon Music.

Is there a better way to describe online privacy issues affecting Americans lives today?  We have a long tradition of populist songwriting — from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen — and Oliver Anthony’s tune fits right in. He describes modern technocratic life as a nightmare: “wish I could just wake up and it not be true, but it is, oh it is… living in the new world.” The new world Anthony describes is one where the elitist affluent use information and the control it offers to keep the working man down, reduce spending power, and redistribute the wealth that comes from hard work to the less deserving. 

The songwriters’ issues change to a degree but are often rooted in core human values: hunger, poverty, fairness, freedom. In today’s world, these are deeply connected to privacy. In the past, rebellion was waged against politicians and war policy or against generational decadence and stagnation. Now, privacy is itself rebellious. We’re losing control, losing freedom. The winners are the technocrat monopolists from Mark Zuckerberg to Google to Jeff Bezos to OpenAI to Tesla. 

DeleteMe is the pioneer of Privacy As A Service – we make your privacy our #1 concern and we do everything we can on your behalf without you having to do the ridiculous red-tape work of advocating for your privacy at the many data brokers and companies that hold your data – and that purposely make it hard to request even a bit of control over it. DeleteMe’s mission is to restore a sense of fairness, privacy, and control to personal data used in the digital world. As Oliver Anthony’s song says, “they don’t think you know.” But we do know, as does Anthony. You too just might be waking up to the importance of getting your privacy back. We can help. Join us.

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