Sadly, once again, Ana writes intelligently about stupidity...
The latest flap is about the US Government spying on/listening to 35 world leaders. Of course, foremost among them is German chancellor, Angie. I can't imagine anything more boring for a US spy than listening to discussions about German domestic politics/politicians. I doubt that much useful information ever reached the ears of US policy makers.
During my youth, there existed such thing as a telephone party line. Limited access to telephone capacity required sharing. Anyone with a connection to the number could listen in on other parties conversations. Young people might not understand lines in old movies of someone on the phone saying "Hang up, Mrs. Jones, I know you're listening."
One learned to keep quiet about secrets or embarrassing information during telephoning: someone was always listening....
Just like now!
Recently, a hue and cry has arisen about lack of privacy and use of personal data by advertisers to target messages, based upon characteristics/interests/practices.
My beef is rather different. I do not mind advertising. Some is even entertaining and creative; some is informative. After all, it is merely a form of communication, some of which I do not mind receiving. What I mind is being “targeted”.
First of all, I do not want someone to decide what I should see or not see, based upon an erroneous interpretation of my likes and dislikes. Trolling my internet searches will not result in a valid profile, because my searches are an eclectic mess and have little to do with my shopping preferences. I do not “do” Facebook or Twitter and rarely shop over the net (mostly books).
Second, I want to see a wide range of advertisements and do not wish to have my exposure to this quasi-art form/communication vehicle to be restricted. I want to decide want to look at more closely and what to ignore. I want to see the entire spectrum, from horrible to excellent. I might not like much of what I see, but I want to know what’s out there.
This is similar to my feelings about news media. I do not want to be targeted with messages I want to hear. I certainly loath much of what I hear or read in unbridled rightwing media and disagree with most (not all) of their opinions, but I want to be informed about what garbage these turkeys are spewing. How else can I have informed opinion about key issues?
Finally, these evil people must do a better job of interpreting data and choosing ads. To date, all ads on websites that carry targeted ads have been worthless. None has had anything to do with my likes or dislikes and have had no relation to any searches, which I have made in the past.
The article linked below is from the Guardian and deals with privacy, or growing lack there of. People seem to be surprised that phone and computer apps record private data and that companies use that data for their own purposes (ie. making money...it’s always about money, as we have so often seen). Anyone that accepts a free shop loyalty card should not be surprised that his or her purchases are noted and analyzed. The iPhone feature, which lets you “Find Your Phone”, allows anyone to find you.
I do not have store loyalty cards, although I do have two allowing me to purchase in limited access, wholesaler stores. I do not care what they know, because I ignore any advertising. Most of my shopping is done at outdoor market stands (all yet to join the computer age) and local shops, such as the butcher, the baker, the can--no, no candles, but fishmonger, a cheese shop, and a green grocer. I am certain that each notes my likes and dislikes and know about my life, my family, and other gossip. A few have paper loyalty cards (buy ten loaves of bread and get one free), but none require a name. None has a website or an app.
Gossip, female intuition, and human curiosity have always played a role in daily transactions. Computers merely mechanize what has thrived on this planet for since trading began.
Companies might collect data, but the ladies in the shops will always know more...and talk about it.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.