I remember many years ago hearing about the “new age” we were entering. The Industrial Age was long gone. We were at the beginning of the Information Age. At the time, I could sort of accept that. Later, I read that people would actually pay to get information. What nonsense! Libraries were free.
We seemed to have slipped into giving personal information away for free. In exchange, we get free services such as Google and Facebook.
The history of my phone use tells the story of our societal shifting relationship to information. My first awareness is that of my rural living wife. She told me the fun she had. The crank phone that hung on the wall – short-long-short, was the ring for her ranch house. Some of the information readily available was obtained by listening in on the “party line.” This configuration had several families on THE one telephone line, distinguished only by the rhythm of the cranks. We didn’t give our personal info away very freely. “Mr. Smith, please get off the line!”
My personal recollection was the more familiar black desk or wall phone. I was younger and remembered my babysitter trying to call her home, just a few doors down the street. The line was busy all night. That’s how we discovered who was our modern-day party line. Very modern actually, as you now couldn’t eavesdrop. Privacy rules were creeping into our lives.
Jumping ahead many years to just after I began my Movin’ On from full-time employment, I bought the iPhone X – that’s 10 years after the first iPhone. I quickly adopted it as an essential tool to both access and share information.
Three years later, I bought an iWatch that does many things the cell phone does even more conveniently if that’s possible. It does a few things my phone doesn’t do. It takes my ECG and blood oxygen levels, even while I sleep.
Encroaching is the best word I could find to describe the gradual erosion of information I can keep to myself. I still want to function in an ever-increasing digital world.
Please give this a bit of a think.
What information do you mind not sharing in exchange for some benefit? That’s a big question. Here is a smaller bite. Suppose Google Search would stop tracking what you search for and stop following you around the internet universe. How much would you pay for a monthly subscription?
Remember, there would be no targeted popup ads with this arrangement, including those irresistible ones for the special at your favourite restaurant. What else might you not see on your screen that you’d miss?
I just donated to Wikipedia. It is a search site, not-for-profit, that doesn’t do the tracking of commercial sites.
How much would you be willing to pay to stop being trapped into sharing your personal information? Is some personal information more critical than others? Is constant tracking of your phone location a priority risk for you?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave me your comment below.
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