You can tell a lot about a person by their web bookmarks, even more by their browsing history. Where do they go? Where did they go? Where do they keep going? Why do they keep going there? What do they search for? The funny thing is, these questions aren’t hypothetical. As we browse the web the web is browsing back.
Odds are Google knows you better than you know yourself. There is nothing you can do about this, save pulling the plug, and its probably too late for that to matter. You’re already been profiled.
Should we freak out about this? What does it mean? It means something. In the best case scenario, it means software is trying to serve you in ways you will enjoy. People are trying to get your money, but they are doing it by trying to sell you stuff you like. Not a horrible thing, really. In the worst case scenario, everything you’ve read, written, or clicked on can and will be used against you should it displease some overlord. (Shiver)
Paranoia is useful when there’s a threat. “Even paranoid people have enemies.” For the most part, in this brave new world where secrets are revealed and shouted from the rooftops, the only real protection is cost vs. benefit. How important are you? Does anybody really care what you think or do?
If you live in China, where the government wants to control you, even if you’re a fly on the wall they may be anal enough to dig up stuff about you. But even the Chinese masses are protected somewhat by size. When you have a billion people to track, that’s a lot of data. Most of it is irrelevant. The process of pinpointing what’s relevant is complicated. Prioritization will inevitably be used, clearing the way for some fish to slip through the net. Software is always asking which zebra to target in the herd of black and white stripes.
Looking at my own data, I wonder how it might be used? I make many of the same rounds nearly every day. I write lots of stuff. Who knows? The meaning of data is in the eye of the beholder.