I am the former treasurer for Charles Taylor of Liberia, and I have an offer for you…

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Reason's celebrated June cover story is now available for your delectation. Declan McCullagh explores the personal, financial, and commercial benefits of living in the Database Nation.

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  1. I don’t trust business not to hand over the info to government. I don’t trust government to police itself; the checks and balances of Federalism and three separate branches seem to work more in collusion than in conflict.

    So I’ll pass on the advantages of a database nation. I buy most stuff with cash, when asked for ID numbers, I balk or offer a fake one, but I don’t take it too far: I’ve never told reason they couldn’t share my mailing info. I don’t have that convenience card at the store, but usually either the cashier or the person in line behind has one to lend.

    I think we will live to see the day when annonymity is worth more than the savings a database nation can bring.

  2. The article paints a nice picture of a database capitalist utopia, but I’m not convinced. I’m just uncomfortable with the whole idea. It’s creepy. Period. I know that’s not a rational argument. But I can’t help how it makes me feel. Being under constant passive surveillance may be efficient and wonderful for business, and it may save me a few pennies at the grocery store, but it gives me the creeps.

  3. Actually the worst part is when the government requires businesses to collect personal info and then requires them to turn it over. Supposedly in this situation the right to privacy is no longer applicable since you’ve already given the info to the business its now public domain.

  4. The more information you give to people you don’t know, the less you know what might be done with it; and in particular, you don’t know whether it will get into the hands of some government official who doesn’t like what he finds out about you. I buy with cash when possible, block cookies on the Web, and decline “rewards” cards that track my purchases. I choose privacy, even if it costs a little extra.

  5. I’d of liked to have seen John Gilmore’s face when he got his issue! Guess he ain’t writing no check to rppi after y’all sided with Brin, in essence

  6. “Actually the worst part is when the government requires businesses to collect personal info and then requires them to turn it over. Supposedly in this situation the right to privacy is no longer applicable since you’ve already given the info to the business its now public domain.”

    Like the regulations imposed by the 1968 Gun Control Act.

  7. Well, I got my June issue today! All I can say is, what a rip off. Sorry, Nick. But I have a regular old house in a regular old neighborhood, and you sent me the generic cover. Thanks for nothin’.

  8. You can be for this application of technology or you can be against it — but that is largely irrelevant.

    The question is this: What are YOU going to DO about it?

  9. I’d get worked up over the “database nation,” except that I grew up in a small town. Homeland security has nothing compared to Aunt Ida.

  10. What am I going to do about it? I feed the hungry info system with bad data. Assumed names that make the recipient say “Duh”, bad e-mail addresses that invoke the mailer demons, social security numbers from dead people with the same name as mine, it all works to make the database less reliable.

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