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All My Personal Information Is For-Sale on the Internet!

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I plugged my name into Google and Peoplefinder was offering my name, age, and previous addresses for free, and different levels of my information for a dollar, fifteen dollars, or forty dollars a month, that is, 39.95, of course!

We have returned from the anonymity of the big city to the technology-based everybody-knows-everything-about-everybody of a small village. The question to ask: does this work against being human or is it helpful to it?

Knowledge is power and this is really knowledge without relationship. So power comes very close and relationship is like a paper relationship that is reduced to letter writing or now emails; or a telephone relationship that was reduced to calling each other – or sometimes a one-way imaginary relationship; or a Facebook internet relationship that is also virtual and somewhat unreal unless it adds and deepens the quality of a real and living relationship.

After reading Bill Keller’s OP-ED piece, the “Invasion of the Data Snatchers,” (NYT 1/14/2013, p. A21) I realize that it is really not the case that everybody knows everything about everybody: things the government does are classified and top-secret and can remain so for twenty years or more at a time. That spells untold information about us and very little for the most part about our security state. Bill Keller points that out by mentioning Daniel Solove’s book Nothing to Hide.  The government should not say “Trust us. We are the good guys.” Checks and balances have to be strong so that individuals are not trampled and undone by the concentration of power on top. That has been one ingredient in the freedom we enjoy in our country.

This power imbalance is not the only way the people at the grass roots become dis-empowered: racism divides us, our classes do, that is, those who have money and those who don’t, and in a strange way our political parties now function that way.  Perhaps the old tactic of divide and conquer has also been translated into that of divide and rule, but perhaps the division of the parties has only paralyzed the two chambers of our representative  government, the security state gobbles up more and more power.

What do you think?


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