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@Gavin -- we much have pushed the publish button at the same time. Japanese is already the first language of blogs and Asia has been far ahead of the US on adoption. I would not be at all surprised if that's where the next innovation comes from. What I find fascinating is that the language of computing may be more universal than the various languages we speak. As we said earlier and others said better than me, we use terms like Web 2.0 and so on to comprise a much bigger concept.

You talk about people being able to get online. Only if they've got the money to jump in. My mother is currently being held hostage of a nasty telecom provider in Italy so she has sketchy service at a high price, which on a fixed income is difficult. In an earlier post I talked about how the connection pipes by and large still serve the corporations that built them... we are just on a lease.

@Mario -- thank you so much for the resources. I will check out especially "Don't Make me Think!" it sounds just perfect for me ;-)

@Carolyn Ann -- forgive the brevity here. You bring up valid concerns. And yes, somewhere in the back of my mind I always think about someone checking out my patterns in purchasing. I'm afraid I'm quite predictable when it comes to that. I was reading something the other day about cyber-crime and the level of sophistication it has achieved. I will discuss that in a future post, I think it deserves its own space, but trampling over people to go to market would not be my idea of service.

Oops: "fancy future where of data servitude"

should read: "fancy future of data servitude"

Carolyn Ann

I'm not so sure that we, the consumer and the individual, can ever re-assert control over "our" data.

The government(s), credit card companies, Google, banks and others maintain an incredible amount of information about each and every one of us. Some of it immediately accessible, some of it with a minor speed bump in the way. At some point, someone will come up with the business model that aggregates all this data, and then we'll live in a world that mixes Franz Kafka's and George Orwell's worst nightmares.

The social impact of this sort of knowledge is felt all around us; the arguments about The Constitution of the United States, for instance, have debates about "privacy" as a major component. (FYI, "privacy" is not written into The Constitution. It's in a small series of English laws that were passed from 16-something, through to Tom Paine's days.)

The world is changing, and people do feel less secure; when a corporation, or a government, tells us that we have nothing to fear from them holding the data on us... Well, I fear for the future - although I'm quietly resigned to the fact that it will become what it will. Europe tried to close the barn door on data privacy; the lackluster efforts were better than any in the US, but still amount to nothing more than a hill o' beans. A small hill, a mound perhaps, at that!

If, like me, you make most of your purchases with a credit card: you basically allow the corporations and information vendors access to your life. They don't (and won't) make decisions for you, but they're perfectly placed to "guide" you to decisions you might not be aware you've made.

Before we all zoom off into this fancy future where of data servitude, let's at least stop and consider what we can do to help us all feel a little more secure in the world. At-source encryption, taking cyber-crime seriously, and so on are all measures those active in this brave new world should be considering. Not to shape laws to their advantage, but to society's advantage and use. Individuals still count in Huxley's world, but sometimes, often, they get forgotten in the rush to bring them the latest service.

Oh, Valeria: re data loss. Yeah, I've been there. I've got some (now amusing) stories about that sort of thing; but it took a few years before they became funny!

I don't mean to be a Luddite, or a naysayer: I just think that those who are busy creating this brave and wonderful world should be ready to not only consider the consequences of some of their decisions, but help shape a solution to the more problematic ones.

Carolyn Ann

PS I'm republishing a good portion of this on my blog! :-)

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