A few small rebellions against the big snoops

Now they're everywhere, pretending their intrusions are for our own good

Privacy in this hyper-connected world has become as elusive as a dust mote, and so I stage my small rebellions.

I rebel when I sign on to Gmail and there, via an alarming banner at the top of my inbox, the Google gods are asking for my phone number. This has happened repeatedly in the past few days.

It's for my protection, the Google gods assure me, for my security.

No. No. No.

I will not give the almighty Google my phone number, no matter how many times the mindless bots demand it or how much terror they try to kick up in my heart. I will not be manipulated in this way, even if it means all my data may one day disappear into the same black hole that swallows sunglasses, pens and winter gloves.

Viva la rebelion!

I rebel when I go to the hair-care products place to buy shampoo.

"Are you in our system?" says the perky clerk.

"No."

Surliness surges through me, though I try to hide it because she's just doing what she's paid to do, and, really, my surliness is aimed at the corporation that has trained her to think it's only reasonable to give away your personal information just so you can wash your hair.

"What's your email?" says the perky clerk.

"Do I really need to give my email to buy shampoo?"

"It's for our system," she says.

"I prefer not to be in systems."

"It helps us keep track of what you buy in case you can't remember next time you come in."

"I'll remember."

"Wouldn't you like to be on our mailing list?"

"No."

"We have some great promotions."

"I don't need any promotions. I ... just ... want ... my ... sham ... poo."

CHICAGO

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