Privacy Is Our Freedom

From time to time, I will decide to write about a subject that is not directly related to Know Your Enemy, the cancer book, but is a topic of national interest or one that moves me. This blog — about the war between privacy and corporate data collection — is an example of one such topic. As in, our privacy is our freedom. And today’s technology is infringing on it.

How many of you have had the experience of doing a web search and the next thing you know you’re receiving pop-up ads, on your phone or computer, for products or services related to your specific search? This happens too often for it to be just coincidental… C’mon Man!

Then there’s the fact that leading tech companies like Amazon, Google and others are planning to deploy what the industry refers to as “digital assistants” in the home of consumers. The New York Times March 31, 2018 story, Hey, Alexa, What Can You Hear? And What Will You Do With It? , sheds light on the controversial use of this technology and the potential privacy implications associated with tracking consumer behavior and buying patterns. Register me as a “no” vote for this technology innovation. It sounds like something right out of George Orwell’s futuristic must-read novel 1984, written in 1949.

This got me thinking about how precious, and yet how fragile, our freedoms truly are. Most of us take them for granted.

The following piece was inspired by this fight, and was also influenced by the Eagles 1970’s classic rock song On the Border. You probably know it. It starts with, ”Cruisin’ down the centre of a two way street”.
As you read this poem, think about the following questions:
Is technology taking away our freedoms? Are we complicit in allowing it to?

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Someone’s Watching You

Driving down the turnpike on a mid-summer night,
life in the fast-lane, man I’m feeling alright.
The motorcar of choice, a C8 Corvette,
that looks like a Monet and sounds like a jet.

Passing fellow motorists with relative ease,
when I heard a Voice-of-the-State say abruptly to me,
“We know who you are. Pull over my friend
because your driving privileges we must now suspend.”

This may sound a little crazy, even hard to believe,
for a citizenry that only knows what it means to be free.

Surfing the Web after the midnight hour,
looking for news on the latest party in power.
The next thing I know and it would only be my luck,
I find myself on an unapproved Facebook site, oh, w-t-f.

And then out of nowhere, I could hardly believe.
I heard a Voice-of-the-State say abruptly to me,
“We know who you are. Log off my friend
because your Internet privileges we must now suspend.”

This may sound a little crazy, even hard to believe,
for a citizenry that only knows what it means to be free.
But if we hope to safeguard the freedoms of movement and expression,
we must be resolute in their daily oversight and protection.

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Privacy is our freedom. And big tech is slowly taking it away.