Orwell’s dead. Get over it.

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1984It’s gotten to be a bad joke, recently re-highlighted by the “discovery” that some of the new Samsung Smart TVs have cameras and microphones that could detect the goings-on in front of them (to allow better control of the TV): When people saw the “terms and conditions” warning that any criminal or terrorist-related visuals or words picked up by the TV could potentially be forwarded to the authorities, the web-verse immediately invoked George Orwell, and decried that “1984 was here.”

And as it happened, the spirit of George Orwell reared up out of his grave and said: “Oh, shut up and let me get some sleep already!” Continue reading

What always beats privacy?

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loyalty cardsFor years, scientists, media, politicians and public citizens—hell, pretty much everybody—has been cautioning screaming about the pervasive and invasive tendencies of the digital revolution, its inexorable collection of data related to every aspect of our lives, the erosion of personal privacy and the eventual collapse of civilization that will result.  Yet, when laws and regulations are proposed to rein in this collection of data and loss of privacy, they are always delayed, watered down or struck down… and often by the very people who decry the loss of privacy in the first place.

Why is it that people who are so concerned about their personal privacy can’t seem to prevent others from getting their data?  Because that’s not what we really want. Continue reading