...Acxiom [a commercial data broker] reportedly has information on about 700 million active consumers worldwide, with some 1,500 data points per person. Such data brokers learn about us from the cookies that hitch rides as users travel online and from the social media sites where we post everything from home addresses to pictures to magazine subscriptions and store purchases, as well as deeds on file in towns and counties. They load all this data into sophisticated algorithms that spew out alarmingly personal predictions about our health, financial status, interests, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, politics and habits.As Bob Cesca pointed out the other day, visiting Glenn Greenwald's article about XKEYSCORE at The Guardian would have provided information to 27 different trackers for this kind of data. While Glenn and The Guardian are hyperventilating about the fact that the US government might get access to that information (when in reality, NSA's online searches are restricted to non US persons), they obviously don't give a shit about the actual dossier on almost every American that companies like Acxiom make available to the corporate world.
That's what makes the whole conversation about all of this so ridiculous and infuriating. If there were two messages I'd like to scream at everyone they would be:
- Take a look at the real agenda of folks like Greenwald, Assange, and Applebaum - it has absolutely nothing to do with privacy.
- There is no such thing as privacy online. If we want to take advantage of the internet, we just have to accept that.