The 21st century has seen the coming to power of the Internet giants; almost all services people use belong to a handful of majors.
The result of the tech revolution is the transition to a newer network infrastructure based on satellites covering the entire surface of the Earth. People will go about their daily lives without even suspecting that skipping just one small system check will put their precious personal data at risk.
So the 2050s will witness the biggest leak in human history. The satellite network will be compromised, and user data intercepted by the hacker group responsible will be uploaded to the public domain (logins/passwords/photos/private messages). 90% of all people and organizations on the planet will be affected. The ensuing chaos will be hard to bring under control. Corporations and countries will try to mitigate the consequences as best they can, although it’s unlikely that even Elliot Alderson will be able to cope. The "incident" (as it was originally called in the media) will be on a par with the most frightful terrorist acts of the 20th and 21st centuries, but everything will be self-defeating: the stolen data that people want access to will spread like wildfire, and only part of it will be deleted.
In the mid-2050s, Elon Musk will deliver a report to the UN on the infeasibility of controlling the flow of information. The upshot will be the legalization of companies specializing in selling personal data; hacking will become officially legal. So for a half a bitcoin it will be possible to gain access to the leaked data and directly impact people's lives. The terms "private life" and "private data" will become obsolete.
A new ruling structure will appear in some parts of the world, known as plirofocracy (from the Greek word for “information”). Knowledge will be power like never before. Resource-rich groups will peddle any information on their servers, entirely legally.
But against the backdrop of all the horror unfolding in the 2050s and 60s, a small section of society will emerge dissatisfied with the regime— the last stronghold of information security. These cyberheroes will live with just one goal in mind: to save the still-savable.