While a bill limiting what the NSA can do with your phone lines is a good thing, maybe the NSA is not the entity you should worry about when it comes to privacy. One thing that many people keep neglecting is what big business does to your privacy. Sure I understand why people are skeptical of government practices, some cynicism is healthy, but when you ignore the bigger problem, then it becomes irrational.
Here is how big business interferes with your privacy. The internet is filled with cookies. Cookies are a file stored in the server of the website and is sent to what is called the “cache” that stores all of your web information. The cookie then communicates back to the host server with information about the computer’s settings. By itself a cookie is morally neutral. Every time you log on to a website and hit the remember me button, a cookie is sent to your computer so that you can log on automatically. Cookies are beneficial; however, they are incredibly vulnerable to abuse and you can visibly see this. For example, let’s say you go to a companies website. It can be anything ranging from a candy bar to a car brand. Once you go to that site, they will send a cookie to your computer and you will start seeing advertisements for whatever website you went to. They can do this without warning you and odds are you get about 2-3 cookies per page click. It adds up and the biggest offender is Google. Type something in there and that search along with all your sites are stored information.
Outside of the internet, the violation of privacy doesn’t stop there. There was a news article once about Target and their algorithm. Just by looking at the orders of their customers, they were able to find out a teenage girl was pregnant, they found the IP address linking her credit card and sent her ads to her email all before her doctor found out she was pregnant. This type of computing puts the NSA to shame. If that lack of privacy doesn’t scare you, then I don’t know what will. There are ways to mitigate these factors and make your web surfing more private, but the fact that we are given no warning about this is alarming.