THE BLOG
08/12/2013 10:54 pm ET Updated Oct 12, 2013

Spy vs. Spy

Secrecy...

Spies...

Privacy...

Big data...

Data mining...

Experiential...

Retargeting...

Opt-in or opt-out...

Security...

Terrorism...

Death...

I just played a little free-word association and you can see where I landed: Start with secrecy -- often the excuse for spying -- and see where you end up.

Seems simple -- the fear of death, as in getting killed by terrorists, seems to be a fairly good reason to allow unlimited "spying." But of course the follow-up is, how do I know where the listener begins and ends -- how do I know who the listener will be in the future... assuming that I trust the current one to be ethical... and on and on.

And of course, does a better (define who defined "better") shopping experience give anyone the right to take and use my data -- and by the way, make money from it and from then selling access to me (think on that one) hmmm... not life and death, for sure, but still....

Seriously, try the free-word association -- see if the outcome surprises you or is consistent with your position. In my case, I'd say consistent -- but clearly there are issues...

And then of course, there is the question of secrecy-- government privacy vs. personal privacy... which seems to be no longer personal, private or secret, and sadly, often by our own actions...

And I leave you with two thoughts to ponder. Listen:

"Access to secret intelligence is one of the more potent aphrodisiacs of power." - David Stafford

And while we know this to be true of people who work in government -- it has clearly crossed over into business and into our language of engagement....

However, on the other hand:

"From infancy on we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few." - John Updike

And there you have it: the paltry and few up against big data. The paltry and few up against saving lives...

What do you think?