The media is currently concerned about the NSA and of course this last week’s concern, specifically, was the fact that the NSA has been spying on foreign leaders.
It seems to me that we got over the whole Big Brother is everywhere thing a little too quickly. I mean, the fact that the NSA has been tapping domestic phone lines and spying on its own people without warrants is a fairly major infringement of our rights I would say.
This post isn’t about the NSA
Big Brother IS everywhere…
These companies and their Privacy Policies are just the tip of the iceburg. Chances are, whenever you have signed up for any website and “agreed” to a Terms of Service, you have also agreed to let that company use your information.
Surely this doesn’t harm anyone…
I suppose it depends on what one would mean by “harm”. I recall a few years ago hearing about how Amazon used cookies and buyer history to give customers different prices on items based on their shopping habits. Sure enough, on a quick search I came up with this article from CNN where they discuss companies’ ability (legally, at that!) to utilize, what has been referred to as Dynamic Pricing or Price Customization. Check out this CNN article for more information on this subject (Web sites change prices based on customers’ habits)
Big Brother is everywhere, even on MY computer!
On a personal level, I have noticed that when I visit a site on the internet and then go to a site that has Google ads or even Facebook that the ads are often directly corresponding to the site or sites that I had just visited. I think, because I do a lot of research online for this blog, that it stood out to me a little more than the average user because sometimes the sites were from something that was so random, it didn’t make sense for it to be there. UNLESS they were spying on me!
George Orwell would not be happy that Big Brother is EVERYWHERE!
Our actions are being monitored, visually, right in our living rooms (see this article). It’s possible that your habits are being monitored by your everyday appliances (9 Household Products That May Be Spying on You). Your shopping habits are being monitored by corporate giants to set prices (see above). And ads are being targeted to you based on websites you’ve visited and your online spending habits (Why Google’s Spying on User Data Is Worse than the NSA’s).
All of this and I’m not even talking about what the GOVERNMENT knows about us… We have welcomed Big Brother into our homes and into our lives. We have accepted that privacy is a thing of the past and we are now heading to a bigger brighter tomorrow where everything you do will be part of an excel chart and a customer or government profile. It’s not quite as invasive, but it is much like letting someone stand over your shoulder and take notes on what you are doing and buying all day. Then, once you’re ready to go to sleep for the day, you turn to that person and say to them… “Could you please give all of the major companies, and maybe even the government, information on what I do all day and especially be sure to tell them what I am buying and how much I’m willing to pay!”
Big Brother is everywhere! How do I escape?
I recommend checking this site out (Tor) if your privacy matters to you. There are also options within your Firefox browser (to open up a “private window” hit ctrl + shift + P) and Chrome has an option to browse privately as well (by hitting ctrl + shift + N). I don’t think that these options are as comprehensive as Tor, but it’s definitely the easier way to go.