recommended reading

Americans Gave Away Online Privacy to Advertisers Long Ago

Ronda Churchill/AP file photo

New stories surface every day detailing the National Security Agency’s administration of secret programs designed to keep the US “safe” in an era of internet communication and global networks. Having a strong opinion on any particular set of details would be premature.

But allow me to offer this: Whatever abuses of privacy occurred, we remain entirely responsible for our reaction to them and the subsequent action taken by lawmakers. So far, in general Americans have been apathetic—the New York Times described the reaction as “a collective national shrug.” While sales of 1984 have spiked in the wake of the NSA reveal, Americans have basically told our leadership that the monitoring of personal communications is A-OK. If we look for a genesis of this unbelievable attitude, I believe we must look closely at the tech industry’s addiction to revenue models that cost end-users nothing except their privacy.

The conundrum of privacy in a digital era is that the more of it you give away, the better the service you’re using becomes. Facebook mines your friends and preferences to make your Newsfeed as interesting as possible. Foursquare analyzes your check-in data in order to give you recommendations when you visit new cities. Twitter routinely recommends new and interesting accounts based off of who I already follow, as do scores of other services—network effects are, after all, what makes these websites so useful in the first place.

Read more at Quartz.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.