This odd situation recalls the cigarette ads in the 1930’s
in which tobacco companies brought out rival doctors to argue over
which brand was most soothing to the throat.
No two companies have done more to drag private life into the
algorithmic eye than Google and Facebook. Together, they operate
the world’s most sophisticated dragnet surveillance operation, a
duopoly that rakes in nearly two thirds of the money spent on
online ads. You’ll find their tracking scripts on nearly every
web page you visit. They can no more function without
surveillance than Exxon Mobil could function without pumping oil
from the ground.
So why have the gravediggers of online privacy suddenly grown so
worried about the health of the patient?
Part of the answer is a defect in the language we use to talk
about privacy. That language, especially as it is codified in law,
is not adequate for the new reality of ubiquitous, mechanized