That’s it. I’ve done it. I’ve pretty much just completely surrendered.

Baaaaaa. I’m one of the Sheeple now.

I’m fully Orwelled. Or Jeremy Benthenmed/Panopticoned, Minority Reported. What I’m talking about is having all but fully thrown in the towel on personal privacy. (Ironic given a bunch of years ago I wrote a book on the subject. Foolish. I’d take it back if I could. ‘Twas a pointless exercise.

How did this happen?

It was the iPhone. And Google. As much as I wanted to wait for the Palm Pre, I just needed a solid Smart Phone. Battery life crappiness notwithstanding, the iPhone was fully integrated into my life inside of a week of owning it. I don’t just mean the flight sim games or my many personal hobbies enhanced with data, or all my Newsfeeds available while waiting on the checkout line. It was really the calendar that did it. The ability to sync my iPhone calendar with my Google calendar and subscribe to additional iCal enabled calendars was just too much. Add to that I’ll be using Google Apps as a lightweight, but effective system for my new start-up company, and Salesforce Mobile with an App, well… I’ll have separate business and personal calendars, but have them synced on my iPhone. Now THAT is USEful. It’s beautiful. I love it. But to get it I had to throw in more towel. I had to sync iPhone contacts with Google or risk losing them off my phone. There’s ways around that, but too much trouble. So it’s just more social graph out there for the network analysis folks. No personal privacy violations of course; just aggregate data fodder. And personal and business schedules now fully enmeshed.

I Read, They Learn. I Move. They Know.

Google, for example, knows not only what I’ve expressed so far, but they know my blog reading. They just have this great newsfeed reader both web and mobile. So they know what I read, how fast I read it, what I tag for later and what I forward. I wonder what they’d learn if they talked to Amazon? Amazon knew a bit about me before, but with my Kindle II, they now know my book habits, both in terms of what I read and possibly how fast. Not to mention passages I choose to tag and notes I take. (They have a handy service that lets me see this stuff online. It’s great. I’m sure it’s all private to me. But it’s… it’s up there.) I should just bite the bullet completely and install Lattitude on the iPhone. I mean, as it is between my E-Z Pass, transit cards and any flight plans I file, I’m easy enough to track anyway. Let’s make it complete with actual lat/lon coordinates!

The Irony

I study this stuff. Social Graphs and Visual Network Analysis. Having these data points available is a boon to social scientists and interaction designers who for years have had lots of theory, but no good data sets to work with. Besides the fact that I help design or build some of this technology, I don’t really trust some parts of the cloud. It’s not just that as a pilot I know from weather theory that clouds can be deceptive. (And yes, you may think that a really weak metaphor,  but it really is apt.) So my stuff was always backed up on my own server, separate emails for customer service accounts, etc. It was never so much about concern or paranoia as much as just wanted to have some control over MY very own SELF, which includes meta data about me. It’s more that for years I’ve tried to keep my personal stuff mostly personal. If that seems odd given a long career in online, lots of public forum posts, the occasional blog, etc. it’s really not. I’m not talking about that which I choose to share. I’m talking about concern regarding just a bit too much ambient data trails over which I have zero control. (Or at best minimal control at a cost of huge effort.) The whole Privacy Thing is already being done to death on both sides of the fence all over the ‘net. I’m not sure I have much of a point in adding more to it here. I suppose I’m just thinking it’s rare that I’ve fully surrendered. It’s different for me. In some ways it’s liberating. I’m really not at all sure if I’m stronger or weaker for it. Or if it really matters at all. But it is different for me and since not that many people read my blog anyway, it’s a fine place to just get it all out.


So I guess that’s it. Pretty much full capitulation. I’ve often said to others there are times when you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I believe that a great many in the “Get Over It” camp don’t so much feel OK with things; it’s more that they’re more fully accepting of their learned helplessness. I’ve not had these issues to date thanks to avoidance. But now there’s some services I’ve decided I want to partake of and my only options are a lot of effort or just joining the rest of the Sheeple.

So for those with access, here I am, what I’m doing and where I’ll be later. Have at it!