Originally Posted by MJ1970
I know. I'm not ignorant of the issues, I just don't see them doing me any real harm, certainly in exchange for the value I receive at this point plus I have a variety of ways to block the stuff if I care enough.
Originally Posted by MJ1970
But it's just that most people don't really care. (...)
Fine. Don't want to be tracked, don't use them.
"fine, don't use them" is an argument that can be used, however you do understand that citizens may wish to fight/campaign for the right to use the internet without companies and/or the government collecting private information? You often make the point that companies are less dangerous than the government when it comes to freedom - in your estimation what happens when governments and companies combine forces? eg. "we'll let you off unpaid taxes and you give us your database"?
I do not care if internet companies know that we play tennis or buy fishing gear, but I do care that they collect and store info about eg. our political views, sexual orientations, etc etc.
You may say you have nothing to hide, but what happens when political system change, and suddenly you have something to hide? I am presuming most on this thread are in USA, right? That is fine for you, but what about Hungary, a nice democracy since the fall of communism, but now with a new government? People are losing their jobs (teachers) because the government knows which websites they visited. What about people in China going to jail because their internet profile is available to the regime?
It is not so long since people in USA were being persecuted for their views - real or alleged - by Joseph McCarthy; sometimes because of a comment they may have said a party and overheard by one Hoover's employees; that is hardly 50 years ago. Careers finished, lives destroyed for having views which were collected and sorted.
As Edwin Black writes "Mankind barely noticed when the concept of massively organized information quietly emerged to become a means of social control, a weapon of war, and a roadmap for group destruction" in his book about the Nazis' punch card database of Jewish people and other minorities. That was in the 1930s. And IBM was happy to supply the punch card system.
Your point that we can protect ourselves by blocking trackers etc is taken, as is your point that many companies provide lots of value and wish to make a profit. Surely the aim should be that they continue providing these services and continue covering their costs and making a profit - but without analyzing private emails between me and my loved ones? Without storing data about my reading interests & habits? We have managed to evolve into societies where the vast majority do not steal each other's property, we respect each other's living spaces and privacy. Should we not aim to evolve the internet into something similarly civilized?