“Don’t you feel like you live in a fish bowl sometimes”? said Sabeena skimming over the news on her laptop. The phone was on speaker mode.
“What do you mean?” responded Andy with the phone stuck between his shoulder and ear, while cooking gits over the stove.
“Thanks to social analytics and what have you, your whole personal data can be pulled from all over the web and used to scrape out detailed information about you. Companies and the Government can & do use this information all the time” explained Sabeena.
“Well sure maybe they have some basic information about us, but nothing of consequence” said Andy munching his cereal.
“Nothing of consequence? They know what you eat, what you drink, what you like to wear, movies you watch, what you read, your age, gender, the color of your hair! They have enough information to map out a complete personality Andy, without once needing to see you. They can even record your personal conversations over the phone or any emails over the web. Like this one for instance. They can track you anywhere using your phone”
“C’mon Sabeena, aren’t you being a bit paranoid? What can companies do with it, except maybe send you more promotional emails for the handbags you are obsessed with?” argued Andy. “And certainly the Government will never misuse such information. It is really meant to protect us.”
“I agree. It is meant to protect us. Protect us today. And sure, this regime or the one after will not misuse it” agreed Sabeena. “But who is to say what will happen decades from now? This technology will only grow. They could start mining your thought patters. Who is to say a more autocratic regime could not come to power and completely misuse it? Or what if it gets into the hands of the very people it is meant to save us from; terrorists”.
“So fine, information is power, and power may be misused. But what of it? We have the right to overthrow an autocratic regime or thwart any terrorist group” said Andy stirring the pot.
“Aah right. Yes you have the right but will you be able to execute it? Before you can even get to move the masses to organize a social uprising, they would know who you are and what you are upto. You would stand no chance. There are so many means at the hands of a corrupt regime to quieten a person or even a group of people. Think only of what happened in Nazi Germany Andy” she sighed.
Outside a truck screeched a sharp halt. Someone honked and yelled. Andy pulled the glass window shut.
“Fine you win. But why worry over something you can’t do anything about? Anyhoo…do you know of any good movies playing?” asked Andy changing gears.
“No I don’t” answered Sabeena. “Google it”.
5 thoughts on “Group Think”
Very interesting. The irony of knowingly provide information and being helpless is scary.
Nice ending – “Google it” 🙂
Thank you. We don’t realize how much of ourselves we are casually giving away every time we use the Internet. Unfortunately, we also don’t have an alternative.