Saturday, August 15, 2009

majest1k_w0n, the future, pt. 3, 346 words

And that's just the internet. If you have a job, if you have a credit or debit card, all your physical transactions are traceable. We don't need a shadowy government agency prying into our electronic and physical mail, trying to puzzle out the secrets of our private lives. We each leave such huge footprints that someone would have to be blind not to be able to follow each of us if he wants.

Niche marketing and customer profiles create an illusion of individuality. Screen names and passwords create illusions of anonymity. And every time we click a link rating some media we've experienced, every time we fill a section on a social networking site's user profile page, we're participating in those illusions. You rate a movie, and your ratings are compared with the ratings of thousands or millions of other consumers, and you have been tracked, profiled, and rated in turn. You type in a short phrase describing an interest, and it's a hyperlink to every single other person who's put that same interest in, and the number on a meter somewhere ticks up by one.

And every one of these sites has the rights to sell this profiling information to others. For “marketing purposes.”

It will only take one agency, be it private or governmental, to start actually doing the data-crunching, buying the rights to your information for “marketing purposes” and feeding it into their algorithms, before everything about each of us is known, recorded, and filed away. There is no anonymity in this system. There is no individuality in this system. Even if we don't wear it, carry it, or ever see it, each of us now has a number. Each of us now is a number.

That's the future we're creating. And each of us is a willing participant in it.

So, some of you will say, what do I think the solution is? Everyone has a system they want to tear down, but they never have any suggestion as to what will replace it. But, I say, why replace it?

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