We have a problem no one wants to talk about—a BIG problem! Everywhere we turn, Internet companies, or companies using the Internet, are tracking us: our stops, our viewings, our buys; you-name-it, they’re collecting it. But who is angry? Who is even talking about it?
I subscribe to the New York Times: They informed me in December that I visited the Opinion pages 28 times, the World 24 times, the US 13 times, and so on. They know my most viewed and my most recently viewed…And this is the very same NYT that published several of Snowden’s NSA exposés, presumably because they saw in them the hand of Big Brother—and yet they too are collecting personal data on us, every day, every hour, every time we visit their web site. They’re collecting data and storing it. And if the NYT is doing it, rest assured other newspapers, TV stations, etc, are also doing it—as well as allowing it to be done. Yet I don’t hear a whimper of protest from either the Liberal Left or the Radical Right. Why is that?
I’ll tell you why—money…profit, with a capital P. Companies can make lots of money tracking and collecting your data and then selling it. But is Big Brother any less frightening if it’s a corporation? Even to get new downloads, for example from Adobe, I had to sign an agreement in which I consented to having Adobe collect data on me; so if I wanted the latest download I had no choice but to agree to their terms. This is pure extortion: my data for their most recent downloads!
Later as I was viewing Amazon’s books, Amazon “helpfully” told me which books I had recently viewed and gave me the name of some others that I might like. But how did they get their information? By tracking me, of course, and keeping a file of my habits and reading proclivities. Why are these trackings OK to the otherwise virulently anti-spying, anti-NSA crowd but phone collection isn’t? Isn’t data collection data collection? To my mind tracking is tracking, no matter who does it! So where are our liberal and conservative congressmen and senators on this hushed-up issue?…Or have the “campaign contributions” (aka The Bribe) already paid for our representatives to “look the other way”?
Let’s take a moment and put all this into a down-to-earth, commonsense perspective to see how truly disturbing such tracking is. You’re out shopping. Unbeknownst to you there is someone looking over your shoulder writing down where you shop, what you look at, what you buy, how much you spend, your phone number, address, bank, etc. Frightening? You bet! Big Brother isn’t coming: He’s already here! But do we care?
The price of liberty—lest we forget—is eternal vigilance. And just how much do we prize our liberty?
Len Sive Jr.