On privacy

In short: I'd be fine with tracking if I completely trusted the organizations tracking me.

I've just read a riveting Wired article about the NSA's efforts to track every bit of digital communication (without warrant, mind you). I've been thinking about privacy, what with SOPA and PIPA and CISPA and iOS address book uploading and more.

I split tracking into two categories: commercial and governmental (a distinction that CISPA seems to dissolve a bit, by the way).

Commercial tracking seems relatively benign. It's Google trying to give you better ads. It's businesses trying to improve their services with Mixpanel. It tracks you without asking (and sometimes a lot -- I count 28 different trackers on Merriam-Webster's entry for "latin"); this is creepy. It sends your personal data to advertisers; this is creepy. But their end goal is to squeeze every dollar out of you that they can, and they really can't do much of that without your consent. They might be able to sell you things you wouldn't otherwise buy, but this doesn't kill me.

Government tracking seems far less benign. Their end goal seems to be to protect citizens; their method seems illegal and certainly unsettling. It's a violation of privacy. To me, it seems flat-out illegal by some states' constitutions and debatably a violation of the fifth amendment. I have yet to be convinced that this tracking is (1) legal (2) effective (3) done by organizations with citizens' best interests in mind.

Until I trust the government, I will not trust them to track me responsibly.

(A note: I do not mean to suggest that the government is devoid of morality. I simply don't trust the NSA with the kind of power they're commandeering.)