EU Perspectives

“…the fastest way to share little moments with our friends – to let them know where we are or how we feel right now.” Snapchat

The irony may be lost on many but it is nevertheless quite staggering to think that the girlfriend of the man who became a fugitive from US justice for revealing the extent of NSA snooping into our private lives, was happily posting very private and intimate details of her relationship with Snowden on an open blog entitled “Adventures of a world-traveling, pole-dancing, superhero.”

This then is the story of Lindsay and Edward. Two cute, young hipsters from the east coast of the USA whose paths crossed for five years and then abruptly diverged in completely opposite directions. Lindsay is left to fend for herself as a pole-dancer in California. Edward ends up hiding out in a Moscow suburb. No doubt this will have a Hollywood ending though what that ending will be is anyone’s guess.

What we can say for sure is that Palo Alto love Lindsay and mistrusts Edward. The EU loves Edward and is worried about Lindsay.

Like so many of her generation – the FB generation – Lindsay Mills found it perfectly acceptable and normal to post pictures of herself semi-naked on an open blog. There are pictures of them kissing on a Hawaiian beach as the sunsets on their idyllic life in Hawaii. We can read all about the ups and downs of their relationship, the exact dates when they move house, evenings out with friends in sushi bars, family visits even random thoughts such as “I looked over at E and smiled. This was the most adult, boring moment I’ve had ever. I felt grown-up, suburban, and oddly content.”

Lindsay was more than happy to share her little moments with friends on-line and to let them know where she was or how she feel right at that moment. In short, Lindsay made every effort to make her blog beautiful and fun. This is very good news for Palo Alto for the day people stop sharing every single mundane, inane detail of their lives – from holiday snaps to medical complaints – is the day their profits dry up.

Palo Alto’s business is to harvest our data for sale. Luckily for them their sites tap into the attention-seeker in all of us. It encourages us, like it did Lindsay, to portray our lives in the best possible light, to get as many likes as we can on random postings, to stimulate comments (no matter how puerile) on an evening out with friends in a sushi bar, to showcase our families’ achievements, our experiences, our inner-most thoughts, our political affiliations, our personal tragedies. It has an oddly addictive attraction.

Until, that is, you discover your boyfriend’s face is splashed all over America’s Most Wanted. Then those personal musings may suddenly seem infantile and a tad ridiculous. Perhaps Lindsay, like this lady and Mario Gonzales from Spain, in light of all the media attention and publicity surrounding Snowden, simply wants the world to forget about her? A right Lindsay Mills living in the USA will not be able to exercise but one which Mario living in the EU now can do.

 

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