My friend Kevin Mullett occasionally talks about online privacy when he is doing a presentation and points out that before this whole World Wide Web thing, we had phone books.

Phone books were delivered to every address and listed everyones address and phone number.  You had to pay extra for an unlisted number.

I recall years ago how my Mom did not trust buying things online, but she would regularly give her credit card number to a stranger over the phone when placing an order from the Sears catalog.

Privacy was something we assumed we had, because we didn’t know better.

We signed up for credit cards thinking that we were getting credit.

What we really were doing was creating another entry into a datebase. Our shopping habits as individuals are being tracked.  And we are doing this willingly because we don’t read the fine print in the terms and conditions.

The Kroger grocery card I swipe when I buy food records what I buy and they send me coupons based on my shopping habits.

Big Brother is here.

Okay, let’s pretend you have done everything possible to avoid being tracked.

You only use cash.  You never give anyone your Social Security Number. You never use the internet.  You don’t have a drivers license. You use assumed names. Lot’s of them. Change them everyday.  Change them multiple times a day.

You disappear from family and friends.

You go “off the grid”.

Guess what.

Big Brother is STILL watching you.

The last two places I have worked have security cameras.  They record who comes and who goes.  And these cameras are not just in the offices I work.  They are in the places we visit, the places we drive by.

What started me down this rant this weekend?

A collection of things.

The latest post from Seth Godin:

…Should there be speed limits? If so, should a violation depend on the bad luck of getting caught by a random cop on a random road (maybe)? Or should it be automatic?

Should drunk driving be permitted? If not, why not have a breathalyzer in every car, so that a simple puff of air is necessary to start the car? What if the insurance company gave you a big discount if you opted in?…

Then there is also the current events chatter about the affair that our CIA director had and how it was discovered and covered up etc.

We have a choice as to how much we contribute to this collection of info about us that is being gathered.

We can decide how much info we share on social media, and other databases but, we will never, ever have total privacy again.

Let’s hope that Good prevails over Evil.

Check out Seth’s full post this weekend.