Living in the "Minority Report" world

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Tell me about it. As a software developer I often just reference stuff by searching on Google. The most inane things get into profile that way and pop up as ads. Not to mention that money hungry sites rely on selling a link on their site and if there are a lot of ads it takess forever for the site to load even with fast broadband because the servers the ads are on are either overwhelmed or just plain slow. Most of the time you can see that the articles or what you wanted on the site have already loaded while the ads load.

Once again capitalism run amok.

captbebops's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm


Reason's Idea of Freedom?

It would be a lot easier to stomach Katherine Mangu-Ward's contention that consumers "freely" participate in these big-business spying schemes if the the schemes were run as "opt-in" programs - or at the very least as "opt-out" programs.

And it's ridiculous to say that we have a "choice" of either: a) doing business in the modern world and thereby giving up our privacy, or b) going the Amish route and keeping our personal information private. That might technically be a "choice" but it's not a free choice.

And worse, most of this personal information grabbing is done secretely - we're not even aware of it.

How can we possibly make a "free" choice if we don't even know what we're choosing? What information is being gathered? How is it being gathered? How will it be used? And even if we know the answers to these questions, do we have any assurance that the company will not change its policies tomorrow?

Unless consumers know what information is being collected and how it will be used AND have viable alternatives for engaging in commerce, we've really got no freedom of choice at all.

cgb9001's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

While REASON is guarding against government, it is conceding the game to the mob and independent operators, all of the predator nature. What we can choose about Google or Comcast defies the concept of market democracy. It is a silly idea anyway, part of the economic realism fantasy world where real people don't have to be dealt with.

Giving up the Age of Reason will be hard for a lot of liberals from Libertarian to "free market" to social. The reasons to safeguard conscience and our ideas and speech have nothing to do with the vision of human rationality and objectivism. Our moral value as individuals and the reasons to establish freedom for individuality are not ended by the recovery of the rest of human cognition and awareness in our understanding of understanding. Feeling and emotions do color thought. How we process all the information of experience is what produces our results. That we live in stories instead of a rational category of "issues" is crucial when looking at political identities.

"Privacy" is more about how information about us is used than the actual fact of being able to be away and alone, and barely known by most of the people we live with. Gossip and schoolyard taunting about relationships or who is gay require a code of civility to constrain the assault on the personal. Not everybody can punch out the bully. There are no bullies like the Corporate Bullies, not even the State. They are more like warlords and pirates than fellow citizens. What they do with private information will not be good for us.

People are reacting against the census despite the fact that it is how money is apportioned and representation established. They fear that the State will be captured by some elites who will use this information against them. At the same time, they give the elites carte blanche as privateers to advertise and market manipulatively. Without suggesting that government will not misuse all this knowledge, it has at least some legitimate reasons to know and use it. Corporate World has none. None, not even a shred of one.

DRC's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Put simply... if someone is looking in my window, I don't care who it is. Get the fck out of my life!

BadLiberal's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The America I Knew Has Almost Disappeared

Like an alcoholic family that won't discuss alcoholism (and proving Don Quixote's warning to never mention rope in the home of a man who's been hanged), far too many Americans are unwilling to acknowledge or even discuss the ongoing collapse of democracy in the United States.

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