Monday, March 4, 2013


We live in the era of "share everything" and "I've got nothing to hide:"

I wrote about some aspects of this issue in a previous post called "The Slippery Slope - Surveillance." but if you aren't yet convinced why this is bad, here's another example of why privacy matters:

Your health insurance company may be buying your shopping history data and using it against you. From the Wall Street journal, Feb. 25, 2013:

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina recently began buying spending data on more than 3 million people in its employer group plans.  If someone, say, purchases plus-size clothing, the health plan could flag him for potential obesity...Marketing firms have sold this data to retailers and credit-card companies for years, and health plans have recently discovered they can use it to augment claims data..."

Another quote: "...the so-called advanced analytics industry provides an opportunity to zero in on errant employees and alter their behavior...."

Have you noticed how often problems are dealt with by using so-called "behavior modification," otherwise known as operant conditioning? The common term in modern culture is "incentives:"

"Johnson & Johnson,  for example, pays employees $500 to submit their biometrics and other health information; J&J then offers eligible employees an additional $250 if they get pregnancy counseling, enroll in a disease-management program or get their colonoscopy on time.  The "tailored and targeted messages" paired with the monetary incentives are a "great way to bring people to participate in the program," says Dr.  Fikry Isaac, the company's vice president of global health services."

The people who operate the machinery of your everyday life aren't waiting around for you to figure this out. They have already decided that your privacy doesn't matter, They have already concluded that you don't have free will, and that the best thing for you is to control and adjust your behavior through well established scientific methods.

Thank you, B.F. Skinner, for providing corporate America with the pretext for treating the public like pigeons in a lab experiment.

1 comment:

  1. Watch out if you buy donuts at the food store! Your insurance company will hear about it!