When I received my first invite to GMail I replied to my inviter with a sneery note thanking her but pointing out “they serve adverts with your email, you know!” The horror of a commercialised inbox back then outweighed the convenience of the storage on offer. “It was just a joke,” my inviter responded bashfully.
A year later I emailed another friend to ask for an invite. A free online mailbox suddenly had more value than the purity of my private offline mailbox.
Like the legend of the frog in the pan, it seems the incremental erosion of our privacy masks the transition from convenient, through comfort to the point of no return. It’s the small steps, the creep of acceptability that blinds us here. I wonder, however, if perhaps what we’re most blind to is not so much the loss of privacy, but rather the increasing rosy-eyed dependence on these technologies to run our lives. What else are we loosing of ourselves in this exchange?