Thursday, July 31, 2014

No Place to Hide

As we approach the 2016 presidential campaign season, we will be inundated as never before by relentless barrages of political ads, most of them highly negative, hoping to induce us to vote for one bloviating buffoon or another. Hour-long TV shows will shrink to 20 minutes of program and 40 minutes of foul attack ads, the radio will blast out misleading campaign ads between every pair of songs, your mailman will need a forklift to deliver the bales of scurrilous junk mail, your telephone will ring off the hook day and night with  annoying robocalls, and reinforced platoons of earnest yet clueless young campaign workers will beat a bath to your door to encourage you to Vote for Blotnick because the other candidate is a lying, scum-sucking, big-spending pedophile who will take away your guns, force you to submit to a gay marriage, and turn over the US government to the United Nations. They don't tell you what Blotnick stands for ... just that his opponent is the personal trainer for the Antichrist, and if you vote for him, you're stupid and you hate America.

And that's just the beginning.

According to this scary article from OZY, the characters who plan political campaigns are already working on the next generation of ways to find and target you with their ads, no matter what stratagems you employ to avoid them. There will be more campaign ads targeted precisely at you - crafted specifically to your age, sex, religion, zip code, hobbies, shopping habits, marital status, and all the other personal information about you that's been hoovered up by the collectors and amalgamators of Big Data*. Campaign commercials aimed right between your eyes will appear on your Facebook page, and in the margins of every website you visit. Do you have geolocation enabled on your phone or tablet? If so, you may received unsolicited ads that try to guide you to the nearest office or campaign event for Senator Blowhard. Did you use your local grocery store's frequent shopper card to buy milk or cheese? You will start getting ads telling you Representative Gasbag's position on dairy issues. You will receive ads precisely calculated to push the buttons that campaign planners know will make you respond in a certain way.

Gone are the days when you could have an honest, face-to-face discussion with someone running for office. Nobody cares what you think and care about, except insofar as certain elements of your personality and beliefs can be used to channel you into a specific, targeted group. You've already been gerrymandered into a carefully designed, ludicrously-shaped voting district designed to minimize the power of one party and maximize the party of the other ... now they're going after your brain.

You are no longer a person. You are the sum of your data. And there's no place to hide from the people who collect and abuse it ... and the worst offenders aren't in the government.

Have a good day. Keep your digital head down. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Worried about the NSA? At least they get Congressional oversight and legal reviews. Did you hear Mr Snowdon squealing from under his rock in Russia about the violations of your privacy by Big Business? I thought not.


Dave Peterson said...

"As we approach" the political season??? We've never left it! If I recall correctly, THE DAY AFTER THE 2012 ELECTION the "news" outlets were mentioning 2016. I am *so* sick of it...

eViL pOp TaRt said...

It used to be that if you avoided most of television and used a mobile instead of a landline you would avoid those intrusions. No more.

Dave is so right.

Kristen Drittsekkdatter said...

I'm not looking forward to that at all.

Mike said...

The most fun thing you can do is put some false data out there to mislead the data collectors.

Grand Crapaud said...

Thus far I've not been pestered by phone calls from the Republican primary. Maybe it will change with the general election.