When I was six-years old, my parents left me and my older sister in the care of my grandparents on a hot summer’s day when a very busy Italian parade would be passing through their street. They were given strict instructions to keep all sets of eyes on me because I was mischievous. The family was on the porch enjoying their Sunday spaghetti, etc. and frankly, I became extremely bored. I traversed to the living room and was struck by a very large and ornately carved mirror that my father had designed and built. It was propped up against the wall in such a manner that you could see behind it. I was utterly fascinated and instantly questioned whether or not the mirror was double-sided. So my small self crept behind it and realized that it was not. The family noticed my disappearance and let’s just say that I let the joke play on for too long rather than emerging right when my Nonno (grandfather) cried out for me.
In any event, this well-told narrative reminds me of the double sides of the NetMirror that we discussed in class in our first meeting. When we are logged on, we have an interactive screen that can actually see. However, when we shut down (actually even while we are still in the “on mode”), companies are mining our data. That’s what I see as the back of the mirror.
As Dr. Zamora mentioned, what if we become prisoners (ok, her language was not that dire) to the preferences that websites have set for us? What if we do not take intellectual risks to make alternative choices? Is that real democracy? Frankly, it worries me. It’s time to become educated on this issue and make informed sources based on viable, multi-informed alternatives. Things didn’t seem to be to0 comfortable for the prisoners observed by the Panopticon operators. I do realize that this my be an exaggerated comparison– we aren’t prisoners (but are we?)