The database state is starting to make me feel like a bit of a Cnut

The creeping reach of the database state has, in my mind, taken on an almost inevitable shade. These days I feel expressing concerns about privacy marks me out as a figure who like, King Cnut, tries to hold back the tide of progress. I was talking to a friend recently who is all set on voting for the Tories because she thinks it'll begin the process of turning back this tide of surveilence that we've seen brought in by 'The New Labour Project'. Perhaps I'm just jaded but I can't imagine it'll help much.

Largely this is because I think it is only partially driven by sinister political will and the advance of technology. The element which most people who are worried about Big Brother miss is 'the show off factor' that is so deeply embedded in most human beings. People like to tell you what they think. Do they then have a right to turn around and cry, "hey you read my thoughts"?

In our lifetime I predict the following. You'll be about 50 or 60 and you'll hear about some wacky funster somewhere who has rigged their mind up to the internet via a mind reading device (for arguments sake lets call it a helmet) which they plan to wear at all times. It'll be a big news story and older people, like you, will be horrified. All their thoughts will be turned into content, perhaps as part of a TV show (if we still have telly) of some kind. Soon, once the mind reading technology becomes cheaper, everyone will be hooking themselves up until it becomes the norm and those who have not bought into it will be viewed with suspicion. A little like those people who don't use email in this era.

There will be a little debate about if it's ok to invade someone's mind and read their thoughts but ultimately humanity will press onward driven, at first, by a desire to show off and then to fit in.

Those that don't will sit on the sidelines feeling like a bit of a Cnut.

NM

Supporting stories:

Library of congress aquires entire twitter archive
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Facebook's new features and your privacy

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