You may be right/I may be crazy – but I’m just not worried about my privacy being invaded on the Internet. I read and, more often, listen to stories on NPR about how Google’s trailing me through Bed Bath and Beyond Lands End, right into Overstock.com – but I cannot for the life of me figure out what’s so dangerous about it.
A few weeks ago I wanted two new chairs for my dining table; the ones I’ve been using for ten years wobble and shake. I began at the used furniture stores; found nothing. Naturally, I did an online search. I’d expected new chairs to be around 50 bucks apiece – but they began at over a hundred, too rich for my anemic blood. Figuring I’d wait until the furniture dealer up the street finally got some in, I stopped looking.
Then last week, doing some work-related research, I was reading a study on why men like wet sloppy kisses more than women, when an ad in the margins caught my eye, a picture of a lovely wooden chair with a (fake) leather seat
and high back. Today Only! Half Price! Not wanting to lose my kissing story, I opened a new window and made my way to Overstock.com, where the chair I’d admired a few weeks ago was indeed selling at half price today only. I could buy two for the price of one! It even included my favorite bonus: Free Shipping! I bought them. I’m happy to report they look gorgeous and are divinely comfortable, a great place to sit drinking coffee and reading from my Kindle.
Before I even opened that second window I’d figured out that the ad had been aimed specifically at me, that I’d been a “target” of nefarious Internet shadowing. According to the news, I’m supposed to be offended. Or terrified. Or furious. But I’m not. I’m delighted. How thoughtful of them to have remembered exactly what I wanted, and to place it in my line of vision.
What dreadful fate will befall me if I keep letting Google and Facebook follow me around the Internet? They’ll find out I visit vibrator stores? Go to nerve.com on occasion? So what? They’ll figure out my political sympathies tilt reliably left? They’ll keep bombarding me with ads for stuff they know I want? BFD!
I have the sneaking suspicion that all this privacy paranoia is the usual fear-mongering, calculated to turn us into a bunch of terrified phobics, too obsessed with protecting our pitiful possessions to pay attention to the important stuff. They do it with every invention, every trend, and every new tool or technological development. I’m called a pessimist, but I’ve never seen such a bunch of cynical pansies! If you don’t wanna buy the fucking chairs, don’t! If your email box is overflowing with scams, throw them in the junk box.
- Internet Privacy Bill of Rights Unveiled by White House (inquisitr.com)