27 July, 2021

Rule Of The Know-Alls

Our hyperlinked world endangers our privacy and dignity as a few know everything the rest are doing

Illustration by Sajith Kumar
Rule Of The Know-Alls

Innocence fled through the front door when the story of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica hit the headlines. The comforting myths that businesses in the world of technology make their billions by directing ads at their users and that it is the machine and algorithms that discover your interest and not a prying human have had their obituaries written. There have been ­determined efforts over the past decade to destroy the idea of privacy, because privacy has emerged as the chief obstacle to unbridled use of personal inf­ormation gathered, aggregated, recast and used in ways that keep expanding.

Technology platforms have been built on collecting everything that can be known about a person—what we say, our interests, friends, searches, buys, possessions, tragedies, likes, illnesses, travels, the websites where we can be found, what we do, how we get paid, what angers us, how long we talk, to whom…. We live; they know. Fortunes are being amassed using personal information.

There have been warnings in the past. In his 2011 book, With Liberty and...

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