Monday, June 27, 2016

i Zombie

RIP to my phone. It died suddenly over the weekend in a sudden and acute case of planned obsolescence. Luckily we live in the era of Big Data where we share all of our cherished memories directly to "the cloud" such as that time last month when I almost stepped on a caterpillar.

Mid May Caterpillar

Or that time I tried to make homemade King Cake beer

King Cake beer

These bits are preserved for all posterity now. What's lost, of course, are the things I actually got productive use out of.. such as three years' worth of storytime booklists and fake band names for the Hunkerdowncast Jivewire. So, you know... dammit.

Of course the odds are somebody somewhere probably can still get at that information if they look hard enough. 
Thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know that NSA spies think of smartphone users as “zombies” who pay for their own surveillance. Hence, in the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, corporate leaders in Silicon Valley have focused intently on linking technical innovation with cybersecurity. It’s an approach that aligns the average user’s desire for better privacy with the business interests of large tech companies.

The basic narrative is fairly straightforward: To protect oneself against prying eyes, simply get the latest mobile gadget. Ostensibly, even the FBI will be hard-pressed to access its data. But how, exactly, is the public supposed to believe that clandestine agreements between intelligence directors and CEOs are strictly a thing of the past?

Glenn Greenwald asserts that market incentives will take care of this problem. In a recent interview, he explained that “consumers are now demanding that privacy be safeguarded and refusing to use companies that won’t do that.”

Can market forces really save us? Those who recall what happened in 2008 have their doubts.
Yeah, I have doubts too. For instance, the "latest gadget" I just had a Verizon salescreep push on me is so full of bullcrap games and carrier bloatware that I'm not sure it isn't surreptitiously taking my blood pressure and reporting it to the Obamacare Risk Managment Panopticon right now.  But that's what capitalism has decided is the price of convenience and who are we to judge, right?

Anyway, I'm off to FOIA my booklists. There's no way I can reconstruct them from memory. In fact, I barely remember anything that happens anymore. Which is why I still try and write it all down on this blog. Which, technically, belongs to Google.

This has been "The Circle of Life" but for Big Data. 

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