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.