There’s something almost quaint about the debate concerning the conflict over Right to Privacy vs Need to Know. If not quaint, at the very least ironic when the cookies follow you around like tireless pearl and garbage collectors. An immediate for instance? Reading the blurb on Amazon about a book titled Intellectual Privacy : Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age.
The irony: next time I visit Amazon’s website, my visit will have been referenced and I’ll find further titles of the same ilk for my reading and purchasing pleasure. Depending on an outsider’s take on my personality as outlined by my internet activities, I’m sure to fit into a number of bewildering categories. Should some of the more outlandish takes come knocking at my door, the bewilderment might ramp up to stupendous.
In real terms, one of yesterday’s moments of sublime and exquisite exasperation involved the downloading of a software application. This required opening an account, of course, with identifier and password, and sharing personal information on a website guaranteed utterly-secure-until-hacked. But wait! My computer needed an upgrade before I could download the app. The upgrade involved the sharing of personal information again + three secret answers to questions concerning pets, parents, jobs. Full disclosure here: only one of my secret answers isn’t a bit of creative fluff.
I’d love to think that, as a species, we’ll prefer creative and friendly developments in telepathy to further incursions into megatons of metadata. But even those friendly mind-to-mind moments, I suspect, would find truly horrible applications. Why? Because friendly is as friendly does. Sorry to say, all is not friendly. As demonstrated by front page wars and back alley fist fights alike.
Yesterday, out on a short stroll for the look and sound of fellow humans, a bug-eyed someone was offended by a light-hearted response of mine concerning the Horrors Afoot in Our World. “You talk as if the death of millions was the same thing as a neighborhood fist fight,” the person said.
I wish I could report I had the perfect answer to this comment, but half-decent answers don’t show up at every street corner. Even in story, the better ones do their best show after eight, ten or twenty revisions.
Had I been swifter on my intellectual uptake, I might have answered that bemoaning the discomforts of a common cold in no way equated it to the ravages of the Great Plague, for one. For another, sneezing your way out of a neighborhood fist fight made for a less heroic story than Saving Private Ryan, true, mais voilà: the one thing the cookie crumbs can’t predict yet is how a living body reacts to events this time, as compared to another. A body sneezing its way out of a straight jab to the nose is a smart body, in my estimation.
Meanwhile in the proto draft, noise and confusion rule the day. In local projects, the brain still struggles against the temptation to zone out and never return. But, of course, some middle course will prevail. Whether predictable through the reading of cookie trails or not, I can’t say.