Here’s the Problem: I recently came across this article about how to pause your Google search history. I’m sure it will get a lot of attention because people these days are paranoid as shit. Similarly, this morning on the Today Show Matt Lauer exposed how Target can figure out if you’re pregnant based on your recent purchases (it’s the pregnancy test and pre-natal vitamin combo that’s tipping them off). BREAKING NEWS!!! People notice stuff. Your next door neighbor sees when you bring in take out on Friday night and can figure out you broke up with your boyfriend. The guy at Starbucks will recognize if you’re out of work for a few days and come back with a tan. I don’t really know how different this is than a huge corporation knowing what you’re looking up on the internet or buying in a store.
I’m not saying I’m above it all. I’ve done my share of searching embarrassing diseases and ways to kill your cat without imposing much pain. Who cares? Some numskull in a cubicle who is collecting this data? What is he going to do with it that the nurse at my gynecologist isn’t? Tell his boss? Put it in a database that finds how much girls my age hate their cats? If the patterns of my life are all that interesting to anyone other than me – have at it. The first time my mother took me to Lohmann’s and I had to try on clothes in a group changing room she told me that most people will be too focused on their own cellulite to notice mine. I still live by that assumption. And, hell, if some under-confident woman wants to steal a look at my runner’s thighs to compare hers – enjoy. So if some Gmail employee thinks it’s interesting that I’ve written 3 emails about how the prices at Ruth’s Skincare have gone up, I only hope it’s not the highlight of his day.
Actual Problem: Protect your social security and credit cards numbers. Keep your household income private if you wish. Don’t go out of your way to share the results of your recent blood test on Twitter. Other than that – what do you have to hide?