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Privacy - Past, Present, and Future
Tuesday, 3 August 2004

Mood:  don't ask
This is a post I found in usenet recently. I felt it applied so I am posting it here with permission of the author. "on a somewhat related matter, re privacy and civil liberties, i was listening to a CBC radio program yesterday, the host and his guests were speaking about how America has become the 'database nation' where unprecedented amounts of personal/private information are being (electronically) collected and stored on EVERY citizen by various government agencies and private organizations, and using means that you can't even begin to comprehend. it was ironic to hear the guest from the UK speak in warning tones about the erosion of civil liberties in the US, when in his own country, there are cameras on every street corner. but on the other hand, HE should know a thing or two about the matter, given that he lives with invasive video surveillance everyday, at least in his country, the cameras are in-your-face, so to speak... but not so with the clandestine technologies being used (right now) in the US to gather data on its citizens. on the flip-side, there was also the ever-entrepreneurial american guest who saw the collection of private information (on his fellow citizens) as a great "business opportunity" for the buying/selling (commodification) of private information. his rationale was that it was good for the american economy because it somehow enabled and made it easier/cheaper to produce goods/services tailored toward individual needs/preferences, etc. i'm still scratching my head over that one... yeah sure, i'll trade-in my privacy so that i can buy a toaster with my damn name on it! i was sickened by his capitalist zeal and cavalier dismissal of personal privacy, and moreover, disheartened to hear that we, here in canada, are headed down that same road, as we always seem to be, not far behind of whatever way the winds are blowing south of our border. later in the program, the host went on to talk about the 'embedded chip' that goes under your skin, so basically you walk around with your life history and financial information stored in a tiny database on a chip that's embedded in the back of your head, well probably your wrist, for *practical* reasons (i know, 'practical' in this context is absurd). sadly, this chip is being used as we speak, and not just on dogs and cats anymore, nope... there are actually people walking the streets of new york right now who voluntarily had themselves embedded, if you will, blissfully transmitting their data, and daily activities, so that the technology can be *improved*. (actually, these volunteers were paid to participate... for now). by the end of the program, i wanted to wrap myself in tinfoil and go hide in a cave or something."

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Posted by hermes at 6:44 PM CDT

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