I'm pretty addicted to online shopping - mostly because I HATE the alternative of shopping by foot. So I can live with the fact that sites I've visited generate ads on blogs I read. I figure this kind of information has to be paid for somehow, doesn't it?
And like many of you, I live a supremely boring life. I can't even imagine anyone wanting information about that. And if they get it - they better have stocked up on coffee to keep them awake.
But there are two issues that remain for me in all this. We know that government (state and local even more than national) has a real penchant for profiling when they're looking for the "bad guys." When that gets attached to things like race or religion, I'll get missed. But a lot of innocent people won't. So the place it seems to me that we need to be vigilant is on the issue of what criteria law enforcement is using to profile.
The other issue - not directly related to privacy - is the one that could really scare me. Interestingly enough, its about the one Greenwald "scoop" that has gotten zero attention...cyber-attacks. The reason no one paid attention to it is that there was one giant "Duh" that reverberated around the world when he documented what the Obama administration is doing. As almost every part of our daily lives has become dependent on functioning computer internet activity, its clear that the civilized world would come to a halt if that was disrupted for a significant period of time. YIKES!
But the backdrop to all of this is really more about a HUGE cultural change on the issue of privacy. As we all know, the WWII folks are sometimes called the "silent generation." That's because there was an overall belief that you kept things to yourself and went about your own business. That is clearly no longer the norm. As I've posted before, Al Giordano nailed this one over 3 years ago. He called it the New Exhibitionism.
The democratization of public or semi-public exhibitionism has thrown traditional concerns about “personal privacy” out the window. Who needs the CIA anymore when everybody is out there blurting the kinds of secrets it used to take surveillance to discover? Privacy didn’t disappear because Big Brother took it away. We gave it away! Freely! It fell aside to a greater impulse: the need to expose ourselves in public, to have an audience, and to keep it...As someone who has claimed a tiny piece of that stage on the assumption that a couple of people might be interested in my political musings, I have to embrace the label of exhibitionist. There's no immunity for me on that one.
The rest of us might yearn for days gone by when privacy existed, but the impulse to expose ourselves has simply proved a stronger human instinct. To every man and woman, a stage, and an audience: Welcome to the New Exhibitionism!
In the span of about 50 years, we've gone from a cultural expectation of silence to one of exhibitionism. Any discussion of privacy needs to take that huge shift into account.