No, I didn't miss that point, but I'm probably communicating my own position somewhat unclearly.
You may be surprised that, in fact, I actually consider myself to be something of a privacy advocate, although probably not nearly as extreme as some. I guess I still see the good that the advertising revenue has done for the web as well as the bad, so I guess I've been taking a somewhat contrary position to balance the debate.
I love a well-reasoned contrary position; nothing wrong with forcing people to think about their own.
Keep in mind that I view "advertisement" and "intrusive personal data mining" as distinct issues as well, although it would be naive to dismiss the relationship, of course.
And I said I don't mind advertising, only the distinct feeling that there's an entity-like algorithm behind the scenes ticking boxes when I do things.
Ultimately, we're probably going to need some "complete opt-out" legislation, perhaps similar to the "do not call" list for telemarketers.
That would take quite an honest & vigorous debate to enact; I doubt ten years is enough time for this, so I prefer to advocate personal obfuscation *now*...
I assume you're asking about free as in "freedom"?
No, actually; As you point out, we have "Freedom"-free (at least at the moment before the Impending US Net Neutrality Murder has played out completely). I'm saying that giving up our privacy is a 'beer-cost' which we're certainly not getting full dollar value for, at least in the US.
"do we have any online privacy?", and unfortunately, the answer is "probably not". What is the danger of a lack of privacy, aside from being worthwhile in itself? The collected data could potentially be used to actually curtail freedom instead of simply passively eroding privacy - the temptation to do so is huge. So, yeah, I do believe it's a real concern, and it's going to be a huge issue in the next decade or so as we figure out how to balance all of this realistically.
Well said, but the danger of a lack of privacy is, should be, self-evident: If I've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to see.
All that being said, I still think you're pining for an internet which basically few people actually used except a handful of academics and enthusiasts (sort of like Linux fifteen years ago, I guess). I was there, I saw it, and it was pretty damn uninteresting and far less practical than the internet we have today.
The impracticality protected us from being interesting enough to spy on. The impracticality for the average computer owner kept them off; ubiquity of the internet makes the target interesting enough to spy upon. "News for Nerds" vs. "News for Everyone"... I know it's not coming back, by the way... I just miss it.