Creeping Towards Conformity

Aaron Barr reports in Media Daily, “According to research company Strategy Analytics, 13% of U.S. households will participate in bundled offerings that include fixed voice, Internet, television and mobile voice services by 2016.” Is Google watching and tracking your every move?That’s a fourfold increase over the current levels, says Ben Piper, director of Multiplay Market Dynamics for Strategy Analytics. . . . Barbara Hudson writes in the LinuxInsider (The Death of The Smart Phone) “Let’s go 20 years in the future. Pretty much every electronic device can interact with your video SPEKZ, which can be anything from a pair of plain-jane NokiaSofts to the latest cool shades from Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). Cars, streetlight surveillance cams, water meters, televisions, and even your clock radio are all talking to each other — and your SPEKZ’ are piggybacking on their data streams. There’s not a single laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet computer in sight.”

John Harris writes of Google World Domination in the U. K’s Guardian Newspaper, “If you have ever raged against the stranglehold practised by Rupert Murdoch, bear one thing in mind: Google’s power now threatens to make him look like a village newsagent. . . . . “Google has a shot not at control of the means to access information, but the information itself. Potentially all information, which is something worth panicking about.”

This confluence of both the means of obtaining information and the information made available worries Eli Pariser in an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times: When The Internet Thinks It Knows You. He writes: “By now, we’re familiar with ads that follow us around online based on our recent clicks on commercial Web sites. But increasingly, and nearly invisibly, our searches for information are being personalized too. Two people who each search on Google for “Egypt” may get significantly different results, based on their past clicks. Both Yahoo News and Google News make adjustments to their home pages for each individual visitor. And just last month, this technology began making inroads on the Web sites of newspapers like The Washington Post and The New York Times.

“All of this is fairly harmless when information about consumer products is filtered into and out of your personal universe. But when personalization affects not just what you buy but how you think, different issues arise. Democracy depends on the citizen’s ability to engage with multiple viewpoints; the Internet limits such engagement when it offers up only information that reflects your already established point of view. While it’s sometimes convenient to see only what you want to see, it’s critical at other times that you see things that you don’t.”