Friday, December 21, 2012

Snared by Technology

US consumer reporting agencies are required by their federal laws to show consumers their credit reports to allow them to correct errors in their own records, but data brokers who collect and sell consumer information for marketing purposes are not required to give individuals access. The business of collecting information about our individual tastes and behaviours is running amok pretty well everywhere in the World, totalitarian or democratic. It's just the purpose for doing it that differs.

Google is now using its mapping and GPS capabilities to send you locally tailored ads - the shape of things to come. One just can't hide, short of dropping off the grid and becoming a hippy or hobo, or going to live with an Amazon tribe. The itinerant Roma keep trying but it's not working. And even true hippies have to consume something commercial at some point.

You can be sure a great deal of the promotional digital bumf that data collection technology developments bring your way will be unwelcome. The old broadly distributed and loosely targeted analogue advertising was easier to ignore than the rifled hit that you get on your smart phone, a message that is more intrusive and may well cost you money to read. Watch an old 1960s Star Trek episode on DVD and you'll time it at 51 minutes, then compare that to the length of the action in a modern one hour show on TV.  Just how many more unwanted messages can we receive before there's little else?

But is anyone really fighting back? What liberates also enslaves, and technology is our modern slaver.

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