The New York Times ran an article Saturday called "Internet Giants Erect Barriers to Spy Agencies."
I found it fascinating and a little scary.
Read it -- but the bottom line is that Google, Microsoft, Facebook and the lot are encrypting all of their (read: our) communications so that government spy agencies, anywhere, with the focus on the USA, can no longer simply intercept our emails, posts, whatever, and do what spy agencies do -- that is, spy on us.
Now the spies are worried that without unfettered access to all of that data the possibility of an event -- as in terrorist event -- is inevitable.
And clearly, the recent document leaks and security failures of the various secret agencies have freaked out everyone on all sides of the issue -- including the public, who realized just how much data is being collected and how porous the protection around personal data really is.
So again my question: Who is protecting us from monetization?
Clearly the companies we count on to provide us with the means to communicate and share have an obligation to keep our messages and information and data secure and private and away from snoops -- whoever they may be.
On the other hand, I want us all to be protected and if the price of that protection is a loss of some level of privacy -- I'd personally have to consider it -- after all, do I really care that someone might know I just bought a peace sign T-shirt?
Which of course got me thinking: Maybe I do care -- in fact, very much.
At the end of the day it all comes down to this -- who is deciding if my peace sign T-shirt purchase signifies radicalism, patriotism or is nothing more than a perceived cool fashion statement?
When do questions become heresy and social activism become traitorous and innocent gatherings become rebellion? Folks, we see this happen all over the world -- and again, it all comes down to who is in charge.
But these are our questions -- yours and mine -- I really don't believe that the "Internet Giants" are so altruistic as to protect us... you and me. Rather, they are protecting their own data franchise and their perceived right to our privacy.
Which again leads me to my first question: Who is protecting us from monetization?
And I am serious.
Our data are being collected, sliced and diced, aggregated, segmented, enhanced, analyzed, washed and dried....
It's being sold to the highest bidder....
And all to create wealth for others in the name of making our lives whole and full through better targeted advertising....
My Google profile says they can associate no particular advertising preferences with my behavior, yet I have no doubt -- in fact, it's clear -- that they are selling my data, day in and day out, and I sincerely doubt that they tell the buyers that they have no clue who I really am.
Truthfully? I want to be protected from the monetizers as much as I want to be protected from the snoops -- although I can make a better case for the snoops.
Who is going to protect us from our protectors, whoever they might be?
So bottom line: It's a conundrum. I want protection. I want privacy. I want my liberty to say or buy or share what I want. Listen:
"You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom." Clarence Darrow
And therein lays the conundrum....
But I do know this -- it's kind of like the end of Animal Farm where the faces begin to blend together:
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which...
What do you think?