Companies are selling our data to the highest bidder so we can buy more products we don't need.
George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton sold us on the idea that we no longer needed a manufacturing economy in the U.S. because the internet was coming and it would provide entirely new business models.
Now we've seen what that new economy looks like: spying for sale.
Facebook takes all the information you give them, which they then use to create profiles to sell advertising to people who want your money or your vote.
Your internet service provider, with former Verizon lawyer and now head of the FCC Ajit Pai having destroyed net neutrality, will soon begin (if they haven't already started) tracking every single mouse click, reading every email, and checking out every one of your online purchases to get information they can sell for a profit.
Your "smart" TV is tracking every show you watch, when and for how long and selling that information to marketers and networks.
And even your credit card company is now selling your information -- what have you bought that you'd rather not have the world know?
To paraphrase Dwight Eisenhower's Cross of Iron speech, this is not a real economy at all, in any true sense. It's a parody of an economy, with a small number of winners and all the rest of us as losers/suckers/"product."
While it's true that Facebook's malignant business model may well provide a huge opportunity for a competitor to offer a "$3 a month and we don't track you, spy on you, or sell your data" plan (or even for Facebook to shift to that), it still fails to address the importance of privacy in the context of society and law/rule-making.
We cannot trust corporations in America with our personal information, as long as that information can make them more and more money. Even your doctor or hospital will now require you sign a form allowing them to sell your information to third parties.
It's been decades since we've had a conversation in America about privacy. What does the word mean? How should it be applied?
Much like the NFL provides solid rules for how football games are to be played, government sets the rules for how business is played. The Facebook crisis may well provide us with a great opportunity to again discuss privacy, and what should and shouldn't be considered "private information."
While the Fourth Amendment protects us from snooping and spying by the government without due process, nothing in the Constitution protects us from our ISPs or Facebook or our banks or supermarkets spying on ("tracking") us and selling our private information.