The following question was posed for this chapter’s blog post: Which is the greater threat to privacy? Government or private industry?
I thought about this for awhile, and it comes down to a question of two evils and deciding which is the worse.
Our government currently uses warrant-less means to spy on its citizens (thank you, Patriot Act!). This can be by intercepting phone calls and emails. Recently my sister and I were talking on the phone about something I didn’t like that was happening with the government. I commented “put that in my file, NSA.” A moment or two later, my sister made the same comment. We don’t know when or what Big Brother is listening or watching. I have read articles and blog posts about writers whom had visits from Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Agency, FBI, and Homeland Security because of Internet search topics they were researching for a novel. FYI – none of those agencies has a funny bone.
Private industry tracks me like the government. Instead of listening to my phone conversations, it attempts to read my mind, suggest items I might like, that I should purchase. My cell phone has applications that track me more than a convicted criminal with an ankle monitoring device. I might get a text message like this:
“Noticed you’re driving by Target. Toilet paper is on sale. You need some. The toilet just told me so.”
Because now our appliances can communicate with our phones as well. Instead of making an actual grocery list, I can have my refrigerator tell my phone what my family is low on. Or, I can see the inside of my refrigerator on my phone. Yeah, the milk is spoiled. Must buy another!
If I wear a aluminum foil hat, will Amazon stop making suggestions for me and let me just window shop?