Privacy Ends Where the Parking Lot Begins

Nordstrom department store experiments with creepy tracking software, is transparent about it, and stops it upon request. Why do we expect less in the non-Nordstrom world?

16 thoughts on “Privacy Ends Where the Parking Lot Begins

  1. That’s people for you: consistent. No really, it’s way different when some company does it than when our dishonest and unresponsive government does it.

    I really hate the fact that anyone can spy so easily in the first place.

  2. The difference is obvious: with the USG, there’s no competition you can go to, the only way out is to boot it. Remember: if voting made any difference, it would be banned.

  3. What’s the beef, Ted ? After all, if one’s not doing anything wrong, one has nothing about which to worry – which, presumably is why, the NSA, GCHQ, etc are so exercised about being found out….


  4. Bucephalus has made a really good comment that I’ve been chewing over for most of the day.

    Nordstrom is a brand that has a loyalty base, and the reason that they snapped to and stopped the sneaky-pete behavior is because they know that one handbag is just like another, a blouse is a blouse, etc. Even the people who “swear” by Nordstrom will simply switch to another company. So much for loyalty.

    Technically, that’s true of the U.S. government as well. Every one of us could simply “shop” elsewhere. The Green Party gets a minuscule sliver of the vote. The Reps and Dems split the supermajority of votes between them. But almost no one gets fed up with the Republicans or the Democrats and walks out to go shop down the street at the Green store. Obama, his hands still dripping with the blood of the children his drone strikes have blown to bits, tells us about how he could have been Trayvon Martin. And his supporters just keep clapping and nodding.

    I get the feeling that if we could figure out why people are okay with the latter hypocrisy but not okay with someone knowing how much they spent on a purse, we would really be a lot closer to coming up with a cure for it.

    • Alex, your analogy only works in a world where Nordstrom has exclusive access to advertising, where other retailers and stores are not only prevented from advertising but cannot even get themselves mentioned in the media, and so on. People aren’t even aware that the Green Party exists, so how can they vote for it? Not to mention, if the Green party ever did become a force in society, it would rapidly be co-opted by the inherently corrupt nature of the system. But that’s a long stretch, because they’ll never get that far.

  5. alex,

    That’s an easy one. Most people are very casual when it comes to politics. I don’t personally know anyone who spends a tenth of the time on politics that I do. They can’t believe that the entire system from the media to the pols is conspiring to keep them ignorant and complicit while their pockets are picked, their rights are stripped, the environment is debased, and the helpless people’s of the world are raped; that the purpose of government they’ve all been told is the exact opposite of the purpose it truly serves.

    It’s the same reason people believe in God. They don’t want it to be true that this is all there is. They don’t want to believe in the finality of death. They don’t want to think that there’s no big brother in the sky helping them through life. They don’t want to accept that there will be no justice served after this life.

    They don’t want it to be true that the FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT is actually an inhuman monster. They don’t want to consider that our way of life is corrupt to the core. They don’t want to wonder if our government is evil.

    Most people will choose to believe whatever is EASIER and if you challenge their desperate beliefs, expect vicious resistance.

  6. @alex

    No, actually it’s not true. The system is rigged to GUARANTEE that either a Republican or Democrat will win; and to guarantee not voting for the Democrat is helping the Republican.

    Most people understand that- only the hardcore leftists and those affected with terminal “white knight” theory think that voting Green is anything other than a useless protest vote. And will stay that way unless and until we make massive changes in the way we hold and fund elections (which will never happen as long as your votes help Republicans).

    • Whimsical, I agree with the first half, but the second half is nonsensical. It is absolutely impossible to make substantial changes to this system from within the system sends the people in charge of the system have zero interest in doing so. That’s why those of us who understand the need for revolutionary change persist in arguing in favor of that even though we know the odds are slim.

  7. @Ted-

    ” It is absolutely impossible to make substantial changes to this system from within the system.”

    I understand that you need to believe that in order to cling to your little revolutionary fantasy, but its simply not true. Yes, the left has failed to change the system from within, but all that proves is that the left is stuck on a stupid, doomed to fail strategy- NOT that change is impossible.

    Change your strategy, have some patience, and you CAN change the system from within. I guarantee it.

    • @Whimsical: So can you point to a single example of revolutionary change – revolutionary – achieved from within a system?

      I’ll settle for any time, any culture.

      Remember: revolutionary. That means the total transformation of society.

  8. Ah Ted-

    Moving the goalposts- a sure sign you realize you’ve lost the argument. History is full of people who made SUBSTANTIAL changes to the system from within the system. But you’re so determined to cling to this fantasy that “revolution” is necessary that you’ll do anything to try and avoid acknowledging it isn’t- even apparently, logical fallacies.

    • Well, we were talking about revolution. I think nothing short of revolution will suffice. So what we have is you telling us revolutionaries that we should work inside the system to achieve something we don’t want – incremental change.

  9. @Ted-

    Actually, we weren’t. We were talking about changing the system. So you acknowledge that the system can be changed from within, then?

    I’ll grant you that the system cannot be changed the amount you want it to be changed, in the time frame you want those changes to happen in, shy of revolution. But given that your expectations have never been remotely close to realistic, the answer is you better managing your expectations and buckling down to do the work to someday have a better system.

    Not you going -“Oh, I can’t be arsed to do the work necessary to leave a better world for my great-grandkids! Viva la (unrealistic, unnecessary, and frankly – in the short to medium run- will do a lot more harm than good) revolution!”

  10. Ted, please do use that in a cartoon – people need to be confronted, time and again, with the irony that the same people who claim that if one is doing nothing wrong, total surveillance is no big deal, completely lose their cool when their own shenanigans are revealed to the public….

    Further I submit that our «Whimsical»’s guarantee that one can «change the system from within» if one «ha[s] some patience» is entirely correct – or at least a reasonable assumption. After all, it is estimated that the universe will still be producing entropy, i e, not die of heat death, for another 10^100 years, so time is on your/my/somebody’s side. Not to worry !…


  11. @ mhenriday –
    I’ve fought the mentality that you describe for as long as I can remember. It makes me wonder why there are laws against “Peeping Tom” voyeurs; if you’re just walking around naked in your bedroom and doing nothing wrong, why should you object to somebody’s watching you, huh?

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