Funny, I've been collecting and reading references for a very different article than this. But yesterday I deleted all of the words because The Guardian changed the story.
The danger of ad companies like Google and Facebook isn't that they are selling aggregated personal data. The danger is that they are aggregating unprecedented amounts of information. I applaud Google for fighting against the Justice Department but the problem, as The Guardian has shown, is that Google will lose much more than they will win.
The danger in Facebook collecting conversations in a restaurant is not that they will know what kind of perversions you might enjoy and sell you appropriate paraphernalia. The danger is that Facebook holds an enormous index of identifiable, personal information in one place.
These stashes are natural bait to those that would do evil, including government organizations.1 It's not the collection of data that is a problem. It is the aggregation and correlation that concerns me.
I, for one, will do as much as I can to avoid giving it all away at will.
Ok fellow Americans, don't get your undies in a knot. This goes for all governments. If this story was about Iran, it would be the same travesty. ↩