My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well crap. Once again Doctorow paints a pretty grim and believable picture of what happens when we allow our rights to privacy, autonomy and freedom of expression to be circumscribed in the name of “safety” and “protection.”
The most disturbing thing about the potential of this tale to become reality, is that many of the MOST disturbing plot aspects of the novel have already occurred, and even as the perpetrators get their hands slapped, their attorneys rewrite service agreements, that we click “accept” in the little checkbox, and say “Hello nice corporation, I COMPLETELY trust that you will not use any of my private information for nefarious purposes, nor will you turn it over to, or sell it to, any other corporation or government agency that wants it.”
All the while, your phone is sending out “location and usage data” to 50 different services all the time, even if your CarrierIQ has been disabled. That’s okay, they have other ways of getting what they want out of your devices.
So here I am, typing on a website that shares my personal opinion with anyone who wants to see it, any website that wants to aggregate it, I’ve voluntarily placed up my own personal image, stated approximately where I live, given my cellphone permission to gather more “user statistics,” and now I will page over to Facebook, and G+, and use my MapMyWalk, and my GPS, and take pictures that get geotagged and upload them to Flickr…
We are doing it to ourselves, and even when we know, do we plan to stop?
This short story is relevant and worth reading: The Perfect Match, by Ken Liu
More relevant content – some of the real-world issues that made their way into the fictional Homeland: Cory Doctorow – “I Can’t Let You Do That, Dave”