Sunday, June 19, 2011

No Privacy

Back in the late '70s or early '80s, the Rolling Stones had a tune called "Fingerprint File"--at least I think it was in this tune--where Jagger moaned about "all secrecy, no privacy." It's a lament that fits our times even better than then, and it fit well enough 30 years ago, that's for sure.

Just thinking about the implications of my discovery that Google, a company whose products I use continually and habitually, is tailoring results of my searches to my own individual profile it has built up based on no less than 57 variables about me that it knows and applies. I've become a Heinz 57 Variety without even knowing it. In fact, I think that all of us are transparent to hundreds of commercial enterprises. We're being sliced and diced by data mining software daily. All this data in the service of selling us more merchandise we don't need. And this is hardly the whole of it. I think this Google thing is just the tip of the iceberg. How much does the U.S. government know about me? What lists am I on?

The very notion of privacy has become almost quaint. And you know what I think? I think that even if the American people had any idea about the tons of information numerous corporate entities as well as the U.S. government has on them, and believe me, they don't--well, there would be nothing they could do about it. Let's face it: the idea of democracy itself has become quaint. This thing we go through the motions of in the U.S. Well, it's a charade. The people have control over nothing. We belong to the corporations, the government belongs to the corporations, and both know everything about us. We live in George Orwell's world, and we may as well get used to it.
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