Corporate Surveillance Is Not What I Fear

The Left seems to be wasting its legitimate outrage about surveillance on the wrong targets.

At a base minimum, people should be able to walk down a public street without fear that companies they’ve never heard of are tracking their every movement — and identifying them by name — using facial recognition technology,” the privacy advocates wrote in a joint statement....

People simply do not expect companies they’ve never heard of to secretly track them using this powerful technology. Despite all of this, industry associations have pushed for a world where companies can use facial recognition on you whenever they want — no matter what you say. This position is well outside the mainstream.”

Look, I am all for these folks campaigning for better privacy protections on businesses, but really, isn't this the wrong target.  Seriously, Target is tracking me in order to ... what?  Make me a targeted discount offers and rearrange their stores to better match my shopping habits?

Look, the government has guns and prisons.  They can take my money and my assets.  What the government can do to me makes the fear of being in Pepsi's marketing data base seem like a pure joke.

Every day I leave my house I have to pass this damn government surveillance cactus not a hundred yards from my home, tracking my face and license plate.

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There are at least two more of these in walking distance of my house.

I have news for you folks on the Left -- the government doesn't give a crap about your privacy, but is willing to beat on private corporations for a while (which really pose you zero harm) to divert you from the real threat, which is them.  And in the end, despite all their rhetoric, they will likely let private corporations do whatever they want as long as the government gets a backdoor into the data.

It is the latter that worries me the most.  I couldn't care less what Wal-Mart knows about my shopping habits.   But I do care that data they gather could be funneled into Uncle Sam's greedy hands.


  1. chembot:

    I remember the stories of about the installed spy cacti (maybe even from here?) I am kinda surprised there hasn't been some guerrilla warfare enacted upon them. They don't look omnidirectional. seems like an approach from the appropriate vector and a small can of krylon would go a long way to restoring liberty.

    It seems a little strange to me how paranoid a lot of folk have with corporations that seem to evaporate in the face of gov't. Say what you want about corporations, but if you have a beef with them there are a lot of options for recourse. You can organize a public campaign or boycott. You can write reviews. You can petition the legal or regulatory system. You can write your congressman (or whatever). You can contact various trade associations to lodge complaints. If government decides they have a beef with you, what recourse do you usually have? Especially considering that in a lot of cases they have specifically made themselves exempt from liability or limited the rights of the citizenry to sue the gov't.

    One can hope that an outcry would eventually ratchet this sort of thing back, but unless it affects a congressman or movie star or some unusually sympathetic figure I wouldn't count on that. So I guess throw it on the pile with all of the other injustices like civil forfeiture, eminent domain abuse, and the like.

  2. HenryBowman419:

    Why haven't you or someone else disabled these devices? Can't be that difficult...

  3. STW:

    Is there anything government wants to do that doesn't flunk the Jews in the Attic test?

  4. jdt:

    I had no idea that government surveillance cacti were a thing. And people thought the government couldn't innovate...

  5. BobSykes:

    How much does a can of spray paint cost?

  6. Nehemiah:

    I've seen a lot of these on the golf courses in AZ. Are you sure this wasn't some errant drive off the tee?

  7. vikingvista:

    Government gave themselves an explicit exemption in their HIPAA legislation. That's right. It is explicitly legal for government to violate your medical privacy, and they do it all the time with mandatory reporting of a whole slew of test results.

  8. Rob McMillin:

    I get the point that government is the ones with the guns and jails, but ... Smith v. Maryland is basically a candy store. The government asserts that it can demand any third party record about you it wants without a warrant -- and the courts have consistently upheld this. It is the basis for all mass spying in the US. And as we have seen with license plate tracking cameras, private third parties are doing exactly this using NDAs with local, state, and Federal governments.

  9. madanthony:

    "Government Surveillance Cactus" would make a great name for a band.