Privates

The digital humster has been frantically riding its wheel since May 25th 2018, humming to the tune of GDPR.

If you happen to be in Europe, you probably realized the European Union has a long reach when the General Data Protection Regulation triggered a blitz of unsolicited messages—a kind of saintly spam—from pretty much everyone who holds information on you.

And like most of us, you impatiently clicked, swiped, and thumbed those messages into oblivion, agreeing to each and every new condition without a second look—after all, who wants data protection getting in the way of the world’s favorite pastime?

Once in a while, I come up with a new word, and today’s word is ‘dak’. Language is alive, and therefore new words enrich it. Digital yak, or dak, makes the world go round.

Dakking is the business—in fact, it is the business. For huge corporations, it’s the sweet spot, perhaps even the G-spot.

It impinges politics, personal choices, and relationships. It provides artificial connections but stimulates genuine separation.

My sheltered life had never exposed me to the marvel of a G-spot vibrator—what a wonderfully inventive world we live in—but the measuring tape marked at twenty-five feet may be a tad hopeful. A note about Mr. G: Gräfenberg means count mountain, which should at the very least give you pause.

I got my share of GDPR love letters—many of the more touching ones from US corporations, pledging undying love if I only agreed to allow them to do something to me that I’d never allowed in the first place.

All this dakking generates a lot of money and corporations have spread a vast tarp under the world’s dakkers, catching the words, sounds, images, and movies as they fall—that tarp is called Big Data—the digital equivalent of King Solomon’s Mines.

Perhaps the first thing that struck me is how many companies got in touch about GDPR—I couldn’t remember half of them. All have been busy selling my data.

I’m not a natural dakker, perhaps because I’m not a born yakker—should you be gmailing, instagramming, facebooking, and tweeting ad libitum, your personal info has sailed further than Vasco da Gama.

Things you say, see, and do have always been used against you, but whereas folks once exercised a certain discretion before telling all, social media bring out the exhibitionist in us. We glorify in advertising every bit of what we do—effectively providing a free service to advertisers, and I mean that in the broadest possible way—hotels, restaurants, stores, airlines, and… politicians.

And it’s getting much worse. This week, a friend pointed out two key aspects of this new society: not only is free speech threatened, but also private speech, through a well-trodden trail where one or more parties to a private conversation decide to make it public—verbatim, so the blame will lie squarely on the originator, the snitch is merely a vehicle.

Snitching is not a novelty, but regular anonymous leaks of private matters that tap into the reach and speed of the internet and result in swift public crucifixion, is new.

The second aspect is Twitter, perhaps the most insidious of all the platforms, because it has grown around negativity—it works best when it’s stirring up dissent, or even hate.

Trump now has fifty million Twitter followers, and the number will keep growing. Just as he did yesterday with the US jobs report leak, his M.O. is very simple: anything he disagrees with, even if it originates in his own government, is fake news, and the stuff he likes is beamed up.

Bottom line, like Uncle Joe (Stalin), or the Great Helmsman (Mao), Trump is wed to the personality cult—he wants everyone to look to him for the most important decision of all—the split between wrong and right.

In this increasingly uncomfortable world, I’m trying to fly below the radar. I hate the dogma that everyone’s personal data will be the property of a few.

I’m not alone. Out there are apps that erase your trail, or place you somewhere completely different. There’s software that will make all your internet connections ad-proof, a particularly appealing concept.

In the end, all this boils down to human relationships, and what their boundaries should be.

Dakking is everywhere—couples no longer caress each other, they caress their smartphones, searching for the G-spot.

Search no more.

We’ve found the G-spot, and it’s called Google.

The India Road, Atmos Fear, Clear Eyes, and Folk Tales For Future Dreamers. QR links for smartphones and tablets.

 

 

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