…and the big difference is in a democracy what State knows you can get it to release to you, or you can control what they control, by voting on different policies. In a democracy you can join a party, or start your own, and you’re allowed to have your thoughts.
What we now live in, and what we are watching emerge, most of us passively, some even in a sense of wonder about what science and technology can do, is something else.
Already the bank issuing my card knows what my purchase patterns are, even if they don’t know exactly what it is that I buy. And the large chains knows perhaps not your over all patterns but they know a lot of specifics, like if I shop lots of cat food (“probably has a cat”), or that I buy bread and milk and ecological fruits and veggies. Even if you’re not a member that can track this, as long as you don’t pay cash. Which fewer and fewer do, partly because the shops encourage the use of cards.
And if you’re a member of some chains, who owns not only grocery shops but book shops, shops for home electronics, for clothes… then they know A LOT about you – what you eat, what you read, what sizes you and your kids are.
Trends are more and more shops, or local/national chains, are bought by large multinationals. And then it’s not just the local chain who knows all about you – now some distant number counter with whole divisions devoted to analysis of all of this data, to predict when what to market to whom, when.
And when the rfid tag gets incorporated in products they can even track where you take that product. And it’s not some common interest but a purely economic one, unhindered by us humans.
Some might gawk in awe.
I for one am unable to.
And I think of the future Brazil, as described in Ian McDonald’s book Brasyl.
It’s not only integrity going up in smoke. It’s every thought of independence, of equal rights, of justice, and of a democratic state.
Not by means of any single little instance, but the waves chipping away at the foundations… they seem so innocent, and one day the house falls into the river.
And then it’s too late.
Way to late.