The temperature continues to rise this morning in the City of Pittsburgh. The weather forecasters on the radio are now saying that the high could hit 93 in Pittsburgh today. If I go outside today, and that’s a big if, it won’t be until the sun goes down. I’m too old to be getting heat stroke.
But you know what? If I had some fun money I would be on my way to Armand’s in Little Italy in a couple of hours for a few cold beers. So, in all honesty it’s not about the heat. It’s about money. Yes, I guess it always comes down to money. Well, I get my fun money for July on Friday.
But I digress…
The book I checked out of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (the public library) yesterday is an eye opener. The Internet Of Us (Knowing More And Understanding Less In The Age Of Big Data) by Michael Patrick Lynch is taking me to school. The author contents that while the Internet gives us immediate access to all the information we want, it’s not making us any smarter. Unlimited data does not equal wisdom. And not only that.
The Internet tracks everything we do. That’s how YouTube knows what videos to recommend to me (what other videos I might like to view) from the information it collects from my previous visits. I have to admit its recommendations are spot on. Because the Internet tracks everything we do; Google and other search engines are able to pin point the kind of ads that might interest us. Today when I clicked on the Huffington Post and The Hill, a banner came up asking if I agreed to the fact that the site used cookies (these attach themselves to your computer in order to give you “a better reading experience”); if I did not agree but used the site anyway I would be agreeing in principle. This information does not go away. Ultimately, all this information about your likes and where you go on the Internet and what you do there and how long you stay can be farmed by different government agencies. This is what the flap was all about when it was reported in the mainstream media that the NSA (National Security Agency) was keeping records on the electronics communications of tens-of- millions of law-abiding Americans citizens just on principle. The communications were swept up while the NSA was looking for people who were legitimate threats to the US.
In other words, the Internet is changing our sense of privacy; or what privacy we have left.
This is Guy Hogan reporting for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.