Here we are on the internet, where we have freely given up almost any semblance of privacy, and not for some grand principle, but mere convenience. We chat blithely away on Facebook, buy whatever catches our fancy, and generally carry on without a care in the world. Our entire lives down to the length of our toenails can easily be stitched together, and private corporations own all this data, and freely pass it around to each other. We know this because when we spend 10 minutes looking at, say, nose warmers on Amazon, we’re inundated with advertising for them everywhere else we look online. We even start getting catalogs in the snail mail specializing in nose warmers. But, hey, it helps us get the best possible nose warmer, in a color we’re sure to like, so it’s worth it. Don’t protest, you know it’s true.
Of course, it makes us feel like idiots, so we complain bitterly on, you guessed it, the same forums that collect all this information and sell it in the first place. Just one more little useful piece of data to round out your online portrait. Why did you think it was free?
In a nutshell, there is enough of your data floating around in the ether to completely reconstruct another you, should the occasion arise. Oh, well, we’ve always pined for immortality.
Understandably, the government would like to have access to this information, too; who could resist? But that’s where we draw the line, by God! Let every entity on Earth have access to the minutest, most intimate detail of our blessed existence, but not the government, no sir.
Of course, we’re also outraged when they fail to detect a terrorist plot in time to do something about it.
Or when we eat our cake, and discover there’s none left.