The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Who cares where I go, or what I do, or what I see?

11/23/2019

The three great mysteries are (1) why does it take so long to build a road, (2) why are window curtains so expensive, and (3) why doesn’t everyone value their privacy?

Earlier this month, Google announced that it was buying Fitbit, whose devices record exercise data on wearers.  Quickly and quietly, thousands of Fitbit users threw their devices in the trash, because they simply don’t trust Google, which sells user-data to whomever Google chooses.  I am proud of those Americans.  They understand, deeply understand, that privacy is an American value.

In Europe, Google has already paid millions of dollars in fines for violating privacy rules.  Yet, they keep doing it.  Apparently, the profits they make selling user data exceeds the penalties they pay for doing so.  Maybe, privacy is also a European value.  At least, they’re fighting for it!

Millions of people using Google shrug their shoulders, saying “Okay, Google knows I went to the grocery store on Saturday.  So what?”  That’s the wrong question.

Google users and Facebook users are enablers of a “police state” . . . like the everywhere surveillance described in the classic book 1984!

They care about where you go, what you do, and what you see . . . because they make money selling that information about you.

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