Your Privacy And The Free Internet

facebook-logoThis started as a comment on Facebook. I was asked about the new Facebook messenger. It’s been installed twice on my phone, uninstalled once, probably coming out again. Too invasive. Tentacles… Too… Tight…

We live in amazing times. The power of the world is at our fingertips. You have access to more information from more sources than any human before you. And the price of admission is cheap.

Google has never sent you a bill. Facebook doesn’t charge. Neither do Twitter, Instagram or Reddit.

All these companies and many more make their living selling access to you. The ads you see online are usually targeted. The better they define you, the more they charge.

If you aren’t paying, you’re not the customer, you’re the product. That is more true today than ever.

All these companies store vast tidbits of your life, connecting things you might not see as important. Using Boolean algebra (and other techniques too dweeby for me) data mining companies find markers that link similar persons. No piece is too small. Everything is evaluated. The details of your life have been graded and sorted. You have been objectified.

Google and others know your real friends, your passwords, the pet names spouses call each other, what you buy and where, even your taste in porn. Their computers have no trouble identifying my face in photos.

We all spend the day dropping breadcrumbs.

The power of these systems is you’re never an individual to them–but is that good for you? Don’t you see yourself as individual? We are already pushed into cubbyholes without a say in the process.

What do you or don’t you get in life because their incorrect classification is within an anticipated margin of error! A job? Better loan rate? Who knows?

Data miners live with little regulation. Their power is too strong to not politely police. At the very least we should be able to check what they know about us, the inferences drawn and to whom our data’s been sold.

Right now we’re entitled to nothing.

2 thoughts on “Your Privacy And The Free Internet”

  1. This is why I don’t have accounts with Facebook,Google or any of those other sites. I limit my online activities to reading news and playing games. With some email thrown in (on 3 different accounts). No ‘selfies’ no nothing. Can they still track what little I do? Sure but unless it somehow becomes illegal to watch funny cat videos I’m not worried.

  2. We only see the tip of the iceberg. Credit card companies know what you buy and they must be mining the data. Supermarket loyalty cards generate coupons targeted at you and drive many store decisions. Your cell phone company knows where you are every minute of the day. Your car knows how fast you drove yesterday and insurance companies are using the data to reduce premiums and more. Target can tell when women are pregnant by what they buy. Not just obvious baby things like diapers, but more innocuous products.

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