Monday, July 24, 2006

Spies! Damned Spies!

The end of privacy is near. Read here about how companies are starting to follow you around wherever you go. We might as well start tattooing barcodes on our foreheads. Slap a tag on me and call me Sally!

There are eyes in your fridge, in your basement, even in your pocket! Proctor & Gamble are aiming to hold a patent to track customer's habits. Viagra pill-poppers are already reported to Pfizer when they buy a bulk-pack of sexual performance enhancers. I don't know if it's scarier to be stalked by marketing researchers or William Shatner. Through radio-transmitted signals, more and more corporations will be able to tell when customers are buying their products, when, and how often.

But people don't like to be toyed and tested like little rats in a cage, the evil scientist wondering: how big a dose can we give them before they go beserk? Leave us alone! we say. Or, perhaps, to quote the late Pierre Trudeau, the statement "what is done between two consensual adults behind closed doors is none of the state's business" (or anyone really). This resonates with our Canadian psyche. Companies like Benetton have already suffered economically since customers were peeved off at the thought of being monitored by spy-chips and promptly returned their clothes.

I've always thought that an invisibility cloak would be handy, or perhaps a ring of Gyges. However, fiction aside, privacy is something hard fought for. With the internet, anyone can be a celebrity in their own homes. We try so hard to be popular. Is privacy passé? Maybe not. Most of us still think we deserve the right for a little down-time, alone.

Side note: Speaking of Viagra (sildenafil citrate) and making things more attractive to customers, branding is always relevant. If you want to make a product a hit, you've got to give it a good name and you've got to make it pronounceable. No one wants to go around asking for citalopram hydrobromid (for depression), methotdrexate (for psoriasis) or loratidine (when those darn ragweeds are making them sneeze). With this idea in mind, the folks down at Pfizer were commissioned to come up with a generic name for the drug Viagra, (used for men with erectile dysfuction). They came up with several but the one that tested best on the focus group was mycoxsifailin.

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Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

It's funny you mention the barcode thing, I thought of this when the US first learned of this about four years ago. In fact, the city of Tampa, FL was going to order camera for 24 hour surveillance to reduce crime. People protested by wearing barcodes around.

10:45 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:21 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes indeed. George Orwell was certainly very close to the mark in 1984.

Though some people say we need those prying eyes. I'm quite uncomfortable with it, that's for sure...

5:15 p.m.  
Blogger Carmel said...

I certainly don't want anyone spying on me! I think it's ridiculous, like alot of things.

2:10 a.m.  
Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

Ditto comments above!

9:52 a.m.  
Blogger madamerouge said...

so... try V yet? (Just for the heck of it, like we talked about last week...)

8:18 p.m.  

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