Where’s Our Cut?

You’ve probably seen people driving around in cars covered over – “wrapped” – with advertisements for some service or product and wondered how much the owner got paid to allow his car to be transformed into a mobile billboard.

But he is at least getting paid.

The non-wrapped cars are working, too – but their owners aren’t being compensated with even a coupon for the data being mined from them as they drive. Data about their preferences and habits, which is sold for money to interested parties – who in turn use the information to tailor and personalize the sales pitches they make to the same person who isn’t being cut in on the action.

Who is the action. Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $25.00 (as of 12:00 EDT - Details)

You.

Some of this is opt-in and even laudable, or at  isn’t objectionable – because you still have the choice to say nope – or because you do get something besides a sales pitch.

For example, Amazon is offering in-car delivery, making it possible to order stuff from the car and have the stuff sent to the car, wherever it happens to be – because Amazon knows where it is via GPS locater technology – and has the stuff you bought put into the car even if you’re not in the car – because you’ve given Amazon the “keys” to your car (remote access to the trunk, etc.).

In California, fuel delivery service is available. Sign up for this and the fuel company you do business with knows when you’re running low – the car lets them know – and sends out a tank truck to top off yours. It’s a nice service for those who are willing to pay a little extra for the convenience – and who don’t mind that a corporation is keeping track of their fuel usage and knows where their car is at any given time. Probably other things, too.

But what if you do mind – and don’t want? And can’t say nope?

Then it’s a problem.

“Connectivity” is like a rip-tide that sweeps everything along with it. Many of us do mind and don’t want to be tracked (and audio/video recorded) by always-on GPS transponders in cell phones and microphones and cameras embedded in our laptops – but good luck finding a phone or laptop without these devices.

And good luck turning them off.

You can say nope – technically – by not having a smartphone or a laptop. But good luck working in the “connected” world without them.

Fate meet acccompli.

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