I happen to love the Art of Manliness. In a day when the average man is depicted as sloppy, immature, directionless, and thin-skinned, it’s nice to see a website dedicated to helping men act like men. It also has articles on how to perform common household chores like installing a toilet, rewiring an electrical outlet, and jump-starting a car.
What’s funny is that Internet privacy and the NSA has become such a big issue they address it in a recent article by explaining how to protect your privacy online and why it is imperative to do so. One reasons given is the practice of price discrimination based on browsing history. In other words, they charge you based on what they know you can afford to pay for a product.
In the article, writer Jeremy Anderberg points out why privacy matters while surfing online and how the Fourth Amendment is as applicable today as the day it was written:
Your information can cost you in more than just your wallet. Have you participated in any medical forums like WebMD? When applying for health insurance, that information can be found and used against you. Have you searched for illegal topics online (we’re all curious how bombs are made…)? You can be put on a government watchlist….You may not think your information online matters all that much, but it can impact you in very real ways that are only getting more intrusive.
……Honestly, this didn’t matter much to me until I read a little bit of backstory on the 4th Amendment. In the mid-1700s, as tensions began to rise between Great Britain and colonial America, the king issued orders that colonists’ homes and possessions could be searched basically without cause to find smuggled goods. Nobody was exempt, regardless of proof or suspicion.
So when independence was won in 1776, privacy from the search and seizure of personal possessions was so important to the new country it was written into our very constitution. Our government and mega-corporations are getting their hands on our personal information, and it’s sometimes used against us without any probable cause. Now, is information the same as a personal possession? It sure seems like it. To take measures to protect your privacy is to offer a small bit of protest to the unlawful measures that our government has been proven to use in gathering information about the American people.