@Simon Banyard and what the past decade has already shown us...
I agree it was vitriolic and brutal to read. But the point is, such an abuse of someone's privacy is just a glimpse of our future. It also shows what is possible even now. So if people think thats bad now, then they haven't even begun to see how far this abuse of our privacy is going to go. The way things have gone in even just the past 3 years, I truly fear where we will all be in another 10 years from now. Part of the problem is its not a quick thing to describe, so people with short attention spans are very much part of the problem (and have been throughout history).
Our privacy is slowly being totally wiped out by companies and many government departments, all trying to spy on parts of our life and then if that isn't bad enough, many of them are also seeking to sell whatever they learn from spying on us. The point is, collectively they are all destroying our privacy by effectively stochastic sampling. So that brutal example (once unthinkable) is only a small glimpse of where we are now let alone where we are heading. Imagine that brutal example as the norm done multiple times every hour of every day of your life, done by ever more companies (and governments) worldwide, carried out by complete strangers. Yet even that is nothing compared with where we are going in the next decade.
The companies and governments all want us to give up our privacy (and for good reason, they all smell far more money and power to be made from exploiting us all) and that is also another aspect that this first decade of this new century will be remembered for. The decade our privacy effectively almost died. We have gone from having privacy (and expecting some privacy) to the point now, where we are made to feel bad and wrong for wanting privacy and where some companies and governments have such utter contempt for our privacy, that they are committing effectively privacy rape against us all, whenever they wish.
Our privacy has been almost killed in the past 3 years, so give it another 10 years and it'll be totally dead. Sadly Orwell must be already spinning in his grave by now. Considering how fast its all changing, the next 10 years looks like a nightmare. I still remember the early Internet Utopian dream days. So much for that Utopia where we are all going.
The question I keep asking myself and everyone (and one I try to test on everyone around me) is why is it sliding so fast?. What factors in society are helping to push us all so fast into this Orwellian nightmare and what can be done about it. As far as providing effective opposition to the slide, there seems to be 3 main factors that someone needs to be aware of before they can see and fully appreciate the full danger of where we are going. The 3 factors are.
(1) The lessons of history especially the lessons of the human nature of leadership and the pursuit of money and power throughout history.
(2) An understanding of how technology is being exploited as a way to abuse people's privacy.
(3) An appreciation of human psychology, that patterns of behavior found throughout history still exist today and why they exist.
Points (1) and (3) are different aspects of learning to understand human nature, where point (1) is the results of human action and point (3) is the driving forces behind human nature leading to the resulting harm we see throughout history. When technical people fail to see the danger of the destruction of privacy, its not due (most of the time) to a lack of understanding of point (2). Its far more about failures to understand the implications of points (1) and (3).
I've come to a conclusion that anyone who understands any 2 of these 3 factors has a very good intuitive understanding of the dangers of where we are going and can readily give shocking insights into ways technology can be exploited. The problem is the vast majority of the general population do not have an understanding of any of these areas. But then throughout history, people with an academic background have seen growing dangers in their time, that the vast majority around them fail to see, until its too late. (Throughout history as long as its others in society who suffer, the majority of the population fails to see until its too late. Not so much out of contempt for others, but simply due to a myopic perception of the world around them). The majority failure to see until its too late, is why events are left to spiral out of control for so long, getting ever worse until society ends up so twisted that ever more people end up suffering.
The core problem is, throughout history the minority of people who relentlessly (and most successfully) fight to become our ruling elite in business and government do so via deeply two faced Machiavellian attitudes towards everyone else and so as a result, they have always worked to create a social asymmetry which has allowed them to dominate. Its a process of holding people down and back while they dominate. If its about money, they don't pay people what they deserve, they simply pay what they can get away with. If its about power, they don't give people freedoms, they only give what they are forced to give and negotiated into giving, meanwhile they are always (behind people's backs) seeking new ways to out maneuver any negotiated position, to allow them to grab even more money and power for themselves. They are the driving force behind the social decay.
Meanwhile in the past, the academic people have always had a choice. Which was either get out of the way of the growing asymmetry i.e. move to a safer country, or stand and help fight for a return to a fairer country. The problem is this time around, the way things are going, there won't be anywhere in the world for people to truly hide. Knowledge is power and the Machiavellian attitude of the control freaks combined with exploiting ever more technology, is giving them more power than ever before in history. (The label Machiavellian is often used from the historical point of view of point (1) above, whereas from a point (3) psychology perspective, its more usually called Narcissism (at least at less extreme levels of the behavior (who lack almost all empathy for others), all the way up to sociopaths (who lack any empathy for others). Its nothing special, its simply a label to describe a dominate reoccurring pattern in their behavior towards others. But sadly all to often, their behavior (of effectively selfish contempt) results in considerable harm to others).
So if you think the destruction of even just one part of one person's privacy is in any way shocking or brutal to read, then you haven't even begun to see how far its all going. If the destruction of privacy isn't stopped and soon, then the next decade is going to become an utter nightmare, on a scale most people it seems are as yet, unable to even imagine possible. There will be no limit until people fight to set a limit and while the people in power feel there is no limit, they will continue to push for ever more and elections will not stop this social decay into such extreme asymmetry. Thats because no matter which party is in power, they all seek power so they are all (point 3) the same kind of person and (point 1) going to behave the same way we see throughout history, and (point 2) technology in the next decade is going to continue to improve and continue to be exploited ever more.
So where are we going in the next decade? ... well we all know knowledge is power and human nature hasn't changed throughout history. Worried yet? ... you will be.