Big Brother really is watching, and it’s not NSA

Strangely, the national discourse concerning the outrageous excesses of the National Security Agency has included little about a greater and more dangerous violation of our privacy. With amazing chutzpah, the likes of Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, you name it among Internet giants, recently denounced the NSA for collecting their information for spying purposes.

More amazing than the fact some were paid millions by an NSA they see as a competitor is that there has been little pushback by the public, press or government. The commercial sector, today’s real “Big Brother,” knows just about everything about all 320 million Americans, more than whom they are calling.

In addition to everything we look at by whatever communication means, computer, smartphone or TV via the air, cable, phone line, everything we consume, read, our address, health, age, Social Security number, relatives, friends, acquaintances, education, habits, just about everything there is to know about us is swapped among those companies, sold and resold along with data from just about every public and private source through several thousand data-gathering companies.

That store-brand card is not rewarding us, it is bribing us. The personal information we gave for it is matched with everything we buy with it and sold up the data-collection line. And if Target’s data can be hacked into, whose cannot?

Nobody – government, commercial or public – should have access to that information about 320 million Americans. Sleep soundly, but be careful what you dream, Big Brother really is watching.

Howard Fields