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The White House has released a new report on the gathering and usage of data generated by individuals that for the first time shows high-level awareness of “big data”'s danger to individual privacy and consumer freedom.

The Podesta report, available here as a PDF, contains a great deal of interesting material about government gathering of data on individual actions and activities, including the widely-reported collection and analysis of cell phone call data by the NSA. More importantly, though, the report recognizes that the same techniques are used by US and international companies to generate personal, buying and activity profiles that enable highly sophisticated targeting of marketing efforts.

...continue reading "The Podesta Report: A ray of light in the privacy darkness"


May Day is one of those minor holiday names that I found amusing in my childhood... every year, it seemed like one classmate or another found it funny to run around the playground screaming “Mayday! Mayday!” until a teacher or monitor told them to shush. Then we'd do it again.
I still find the pun amusing, but only until I remember that we're here for a serious purpose. It's May Day, 2014... and it's time for consumers to scream mayday.

For too long — generations — we've let our lives be shaped, controlled and manipulated to serve a system that regards us as nothing more than economic batteries. We have lost our value as individuals; we are mere draft horses, hamsters in a wheel, generic D-cells powering an economic system that destroys everything it can reach, including our lives, in the name of profits. We have lost our purpose other than to believe we love powering this system with our days and efforts. We have lost our future of being anything other than maximized engines of consumption... and it's time to do something effective about it.

...continue reading "May Day for Consumers"