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Redefining Privacy is Like Redefining Virginity

“In our interconnect ed and wireless world, anonymity - or the appearance of anonymity - is quickly becoming a thing of the past.”

Donald Kerr
Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence

Kerr said this as the keynote speaker at GEOINT 2007 (the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation symposium). Unfortunatel y, his comments revealed the only geospace surrounding him was the one located between his ears.

There’s no reasonable argument that the right to privacy isn’t headed for the dung heap of history. Companies and the government collect information - from our blood type to which porn fetishes we prefer - without once asking for permission, or in most cases, revealing they’re doing it at all. They buy, sell, and trade us. They use us to market toothpaste and determine (usually erroneously) whether we’re terrorists. In short, they own everything about us save our bodies - which they see as more an empty cicada shells than flesh and blood human beings who pay their salaries.

Kerr’s answer to this issue isn’t to give us back control of our information, but to suggest we just need a different mind-set. “We need to move beyond the construct that equates anonymity with privacy…I think all of us have to take stock of what we are willing to give up in terms of anonymity,” he said.

I know what Dick Cheney’s answer would be. “I’M GIVING UP NOTHING! FU*K YOU VERY MUCH!” I also know this is one of the few times I’d agree with him.

In fairness, the erosion has gone on for a very long time, but it’s fast reaching the point where erosion becomes strip mining. The White House has used a combination of technology and malevolent intent to blast away the last shreds of our privacy in the name of protecting us from a cave-dwellin g hippy and amateur videographer from Pakistan. Personally, I’d rather defend myself and keep my information than to risk losing my identity because some NSA crapweasel had his laptop - and my data - stolen while he was watching porn movies at the local internet cafe.

I’d dearly love for Google to put the Vice President’s house back on Google Earth or attach a GPS transmitter to George’s crapulent ass. I figure publishing their private phone numbers and offering their personal data to a gang of 14-year old embezzlement hackers would be a good way to demonstrate just how much we love and appreciate the rape of our Second Life selves.

Unfortunatel y, that day will never come and even if it does, it won’t matter a whit. Kerr, as unlikable and hubristic as his statements are, knows our data is already in the wild and impossible to call back. He, the administrati on, and the jelly donuts we call Congress stood around while our virginity was unceremoniou sly stolen. And you know what they say about virginity - “Redefining privacy is a bit like redefining virginity. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Amen to that brother. Amen to that.


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One Response to “Redefining Privacy is Like Redefining Virginity”

  1. Best title of the week, Poob!

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