Tag Archives: poor decisions

I am not a number, I am a free man! – I am not a consumer, I am a free man!

imageThere are those happy occasions when a reader’s comment here is so insightful, that the comment deserves to be highlighted as a stand alone post. Comments from Mark Schneider, Michael Fisher, John Bent, and several other readers, have been highlighted previously, using this criteria.

Following a recent opinion piece – Open Source BleachBit 0.9.3 – Deletes HTML5 Cookies – which detailed the rise of a new threat to personal privacy, regular reader RedNightHawk offered this comment for consideration and discussion.

I think you’ll find it worthwhile to evaluate the issues raised in RedNightHawk’s perceptive comment.

“I usually check the Options/Settings/Preferences of my browser after an upgrade to make sure I haven’t lost any settings, and to see what’s new. I remember when I saw an option to allow HTML5 to use local storage (and a sub-option to delete any files on close), I refused to allow any local storage.

I did that for the same reason I used to have my flash storage set to zero – I didn’t know what all the storage would be used for, and if it’s optional then it’s clearly not needed for the technology to work.

I eventually wound up enabling local flash storage (some sites wouldn’t work without it enabled), once I got the NirSoft program that deleted LSO’s, and I used a program that sat in the tray and let me turn the flash bit on and off so I wouldn’t get cookies when I was just surfing; only when I actually wanted to see some particular flash content.

My current most-used browser allows me to click on specific flash objects if I want to allow them. What a pain this all is (how inconvenient!), and here’s the kicker – just a few days ago, thanks to a link in your Tech Thoughts, I was reading about a tracking company trade group CEO telling Senators he thought the industry was doing a good job of policing itself and legislation wasn’t needed to control tracking, or protect privacy.

When mechanical gadgets first started being made it was for convenience – to benefit us by freeing up time for other things. Now, in the information age, the CON part of convenience seems to be prevalent. Corporations know we’ll make poor decisions and put convenience above things like privacy, nutrition, financial well-being, etc.

Too often a gadget or technological breakthrough is a mere piece of cheese, luring the consumer into a trap – the worst kind of trap: one which they never realize they’re in. Are we mice now, destined to live our lives running around the mazes they create for us?

I’m reminded more and more of the opening of the TV series The Prisoner where Patrick McGoohan yells out, “I am not a number, I am a free man!” More and more there’s times when I feel like grabbing a CEO’s lapels and yelling, “I am not a consumer, I am a free man!” Think the message would get through?”

–   RedNightHawk

P.S.
Dan Tapscott has an interesting series about privacy in the digital age on The Star’s website that you and your readers might be interested in:
http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/1204668

8 Comments

Filed under Opinion