Nov 122007

Oh, you silly, silly Americans. Anonymity is a quaint little notion, but I’m afraid you’re going to have to get over it. Dig:

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguards people’s private communications and financial information.

Whew! For a second there, I thought we had a problem. But if government and businesses are on it, we don’t have anything to worry about.

I don’t care for our general lack of privacy at all, but I mostly made my peace with it several years ago. Why? Simple: you can’t be middle-class and live off the grid. To lead a life like most of us lead (in one place most of the time, comfortable), only anonymously, costs lots of money. It’s easier to be anonymous without a fixed address, but that’s no way to raise a family now, is it?

If you want what is widely considered to be a comfortable life, you have to live in hundreds of databases, many of which are owned by organizations that could do you considerable harm. That’s the way it is, and the genie’s been out a long damned time, folks. It’s not anything worth worrying about, because you’ll never stop.

Still, even though I know he’s only describing the way things have been for most of two decades now, there’s something chilling about hearing it directly from a high-ranking federal official’s mouth.

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 Posted by at 5:34 pm

  2 Responses to “Smith! 6079 Smith W!”

  1. I swear; one day I was on line at the Walmarts, and two women were having a chat about privacy. It was funny; they were talking about how they didn’t want the gov’t knowing their business. Then one of them whipped out the cell phone and started telling whomever was on the other end all about their doctor visit that morning.

    Ew! Private, keep that private please.

    Actually, with my married name, I am much more anonymous than with my maiden name. It was unique, and no one else in the south had a scotch-irish sirname from the bronx.

  2. I’m horrified by how little privacy – and anonymity – we have. I try not to think about it and I agree with your assessment of the chill factor of hearing it from someone official…

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