key question

reynt0 reynt0 at
Wed Mar 17 01:58:37 CET 2010

On Mon, 15 Mar 2010 14:49:32 +0000 MFPA wrote:
  . . .
>> In fact, just by posting to this mailing list we have
>> given up some privacy or anonymity.  The nature of the
>> way we write, what we think, the experiences that we
>> relate--all of these reveal something about ourselves.
> When the reader is Big Brother, or a potential employer or blackmailer
> etc., that might matter. When the reader is a random stranger, I
> prefer to think it doesn't. I'm confident I don't post anything that
> should prompt anybody to identify and come after me.
  . . .

Of course, if only one person subscribed to the list is
using a gmail address, Google will have the opportunity
to run their analytical algorithms on all posts, and add
information they find about content, interests, attitudes,
etc to the profiles they try to maintain about everyone
in the known universe.  And isn't their business model
based on making all that info conveniently usable for 
anyone in the known or unknown universe who has a few
dollars to partner with them or maybe even just plain
pay for it?

The concept of personhood built in to European culture
(and its American derivatives) in general presumes
anonymity of the inner self.  That is part of why it
is interesting to watch things now, as the combination of 
decreased locational community in the industrial+ age and
increased access to electronically-mediated self-expression
results in mindless Facebook/etc displays, and to wonder
what cultural adaptations might arise.  European extensions
of privacy protections to electronic activities being one
example of adaptation.  I have been appreciating the
comments by MFPA (who seems to be in England?, a country
with its own problems about personal privacy, cf )
as an expression of careful fastidiousness about privacy.

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