Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Scary Side of Life as a Millennial: Big Data Knows When You Go to the Bathroom

I was shocked (and appalled) when I read this article.

I plan to write a detailed blog post about its implications soon... meanwhile I think I'll try and build up the courage to delete my Facebook account. However, I think there's still a cost/benefit question to be posed here; Facebook does provide a great deal of utility for keeping in touch with friends and locating those we haven't seen in years. Might we do that by other means if we weren't so lazy/reliant upon on it? Of course! When I heard from a news report that Facebook's newly required separate messenger app included software that gave FB "super permissions" that allowed it access to your personal data on your phone, I deleted the app. Nevertheless, I have since reinstalled it because I have a friend who moved to Mexico City and it is the best way I have to keep in touch with him. For better or for worse, Facebook is something we Millennials have grown up with, at least since our college days, and most will probably have a hard time letting go of it, even given an overwhelming reason to do so.

Perhaps most disturbing is the extensive harvesting of even the most private data by Facebook and its cooperation with the NSA, the CIA, and other federal security agencies that just so happen to be spying on our nation's own citizens. My friends, any notion of "privacy" and the separation from private and public life are relics of a bygone era. For all intents and purposes, Facebook now knows when you have your "morning miracle".

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