The point is, that, these days, you can sign up to some perfectly useful and obvious service, like a monthly video hire service (for instance, naming no names) - money exchanged for a tangible product, and all that - only to discover that your service provider has chosen to share the data - which you originally gave them for a fairly reasonable purpose (send me the videos I've paid you for) - with some "social networking site" that you have been actively avoiding for the last few years.
Online retailers are in danger of colluding in trying to drive us into a form of interaction most of us have no interest in, and have actually avoided - and seem blind to the damage they may ultimately do, not only to their own business, but the entire idea of online retailing as a whole. If you can no longer buy a chair from Argos, say, without worrying that you'll end up with a Facebook account being set up for you, then, you may end up yearning for the high street.
In some ways, it is the fact that the betrayals of our data come from such banal sources, that is most offensive. I once bought a hand-cranked paper shredder, made by Draper (£5.99), from a tools store in Stockport, online.
(Yes: I bought from the lowest budder, just like the MOD. No: I've never been to Stockport, and have about as much interest in going there, as people from Stockport probably have, in visiting my village.)
What could be more run of the mill than that, you may wonder? Except I now get weekly invites to 'follow' them on Facebook. Yes: a DIY store in Stockport... they want me to "follow" them on Facebook!
I never opted into that. Where does it say Facebook has a right to know of my preferences for hand-cranked paper-shredding machines? Or, indeed, Mancunian suburban tool shops. Is the fact I even WANT to own a hand-cranked paper-shredding machine, perhaps, in some ways regarded as evidence of the fact I need to be encouraged to "share" more?
On the plus side, it is quite a good hand cranked paper shredder. I particularly like the icons, warning you of the dangers of trapping your hand in it, while you crank away at it (presumably using the other hand).