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A Dark Vision of Vegetarian Pizza


I've resisted long enough; I've got to say something about the ACLU's dark vision of a world in which our government's policies on surveillance and invasive technologies erode personal privacy to the point where -- instead of being left to enjoy our double meat pizzas and Nancy Drew novels under cover of blissful anonymity -- we will all be shamed into eating tofu and sprouts AND paying extra for it. Now, I'm not one to be critical of the ACLU, especially when they are addressing important privacy concerns...but, come on, is that really the most disturbing scenario you can imagine?

Check out the Flash animation at http://www.aclu.org/pizza/, and then read on....

Actually, I think they had a good idea with tapping into the experience -- which most of us have probably had by now -- of calling up the pizza place and being greeted by some kid on the other end of the line who lets you know, within microseconds of hello, that she knows who you are and where you live. It's a creepy interaction. But mostly because it's handled badly. I mean, I was going to tell them where to deliver the pizza anyway. I just don't want them telling me they know my street address and what sort of pizza I usually order before I volunteer that information.

They've got the issue right: a general sense that it's probably a bad idea to let either governments or corporations pull together too much of our personal data in one place or have access to a complete picture of who we are. That's the kind of stuff we want to dole out in small amounts and on a need-to-know basis...and preferably to someone who's there in front of us asking for it. Yeah, it's scary to lose that much control over identity disclosure. But I'm honestly not all that frightened by the idea that the chick at Pizza Palace might know I've maxed out my credit cards, that I've got a problem with impotence, and that I bought a 48-pack of condoms (which, BTW, why if I'm impotent?).

August 18, 2004 in Private / Public | Permalink


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Updated: May 8, 2004
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