Losing Your Privacy

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George Orwell worried about Big Brother, but in the world post-1984, the real worry is little brother – and millions of them.

Credit card companies, banks, supermarkets, video stores, HMO’s, and hackers; they’re the new, all-knowing powers. From online cookies to debit-card swipes our lives are being tracked purchase by purchase and click by click. They’re watching you even when you’re window shopping.

A whole information industry offers up documents about you online: your phone number, property value, previous addresses, even your housemates and neighbor’s names.

If privacy is the unspoken cornerstone of the US Constitution, what’s going on today may be downright un-American. Benjamin Franklin worried famously about privacy: “Three may keep a secret,” he said, “if two of them are dead.”

If he worried about it back then, shouldn’t we, now? Privacy–on this hour.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Robert Ellis Smith author of “Ben Franklin’s Web Site: Privacy and Curiosity from Plymouth Rock to the Internet”, and Simpson Garfinkel, author of “Database Nation.”