They're Trying to Shape What You Believe
I love my digital devices, but people keep telling me to worry more about my privacy.
"Encrypt your emails!" "Drop Google and use search engines like DuckDuckGo that don't track us!"
I probably should. But I don't. I'm lazy, and I like that web companies know me and show me things I'm interested in. I like that they display "restaurants near me."
"You do not understand the way that that system is being used against you," says whistleblower Edward Snowden in my new video. Snowden is in exile in Russia because he revealed how the NSA spied on us and lied about it. He says I should care more about what companies like Google and Facebook know. But why?
"I figure that teenage boy across the street could be picking up stuff I send," I say. "The cork's out of the bottle! What difference does it make (if media companies have it)?"
Snowden replies, "They're trying to shape... what you believe."
I don't feel very threatened. Amazon and Facebook want my money, and to get my money in a free market, a company must give me what I want. That's a good thing.
"When we talk about the free market," says Snowden, "We presume... open competition... I don't believe this."
He may be right. Perhaps big internet companies are now monopolies, so dominant that we can't leave them if we don't like what they do. But the "experts" also called IBM, AOL and Myspace monopolies, "immune to competition." Whoops.
Still, today's social media companies are powerful enough to do real damage.