The illusion of privacy (and what we actually care about)

You probably have very little privacy at all, giving it up a long time ago. If you've got a charge card, the card company already knows what you do, where you go, how you spend your money, what your debt is like. If you use a cell phone or a computer, someone upstream already has access to where you go, what you buy, what you type, and on and on. No, you don't really have a privacy. What you care about, I'm guessing, is being surprised. You don't want to be surprised to discover that the card company is sending you gift certificates for VD testing because you've been staying at hourly motels. You don't want to be surprised that a site you've never visited seems to know an awful lot about your buying habits. As computers get ever better at triangulating our interests and our actions, prepare to be surprised more often. It's not clear to me whether the never-ending series of little snooping surprises will eventually wear us out and we'll give up caring, or whether one day we'll sit up and demand that the surprises stop. But privacy? Too late to worry about that.
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