The Transparent Society (cont’d)

by F.

I was taking the garbage out and bumped into my neighbor. “Hey,” he said, “Congratulations!” Not knowing what I had done to merit this, I asked him what was up. “You house is worth” and then he gave the number. It was news to me—a pleasant surprise, actually, but it could have just as easily been a rude shock. “I was down at the bank,” he said, “getting a line of credit and I could see all the other houses on the block and how much they were worth, including yours.” We then proceeded to talk about prices for various houses, which he had on the tip of his tongue, apparently via Zillow. A few years ago I would have found this both shocking and slightly invasive. But times change. As my neighbor and I chit-chatted about flowers, McNealy’s words floated into my brain: “You have no privacy. Get used to it.”