Geoffrey Jones
Days Gone By

I always enjoyed the film  “Big Fish…” it gave me many smiles with its clever story telling style..

One scene I remember well is the one where the Circus ringmaster, (played by Danny DeVito) meets the gentle giant Karl, (who is made to look about twenty foot tall) and instantly wants to hire him.

A small clown who is handy fetches a contractual agreement and the ringmaster asks Karl: “Tell me Karl, have you ever heard the term “involuntary servitude ?” “No?”  “Unconscionable contract?” Karl again answers “No.” The Ringmaster hands him the contract to sign. Naturally we all give a little chuckle at Karl’s naivete.

This all comes to mind in relation to the many contracts we sign or agree to daily on our phones and computers. Virtually every site we go to prods us, not to mention every tech company that claims to “serve” us (they do indeed “serve us up“ to their many business partners and myriads of others). “Click this and give all your contacts access to your personal data so we can better serve you.” We use cookies so that we and all our affiliates will better understand you and better understand all your personal needs.” If that language seems a bit vague wait till you get to the real small print.

And thanks to the European Union’s efforts more and more of us are actually doing that, grueling a job as it is, to be actually reading our contracts and faced with the scope of the surveillance that has been applied to us. We’ve been taking the shiny candy and ice cream of tech for years now and been way too easily distracted by these tasty tidbits to recognize the hidden poisons to our privacy and individuality that were tucked neatly out of sight the whole time.

Well thank goodness for the EU, they have gotten the ball rolling!  I wish we might have attended to this a lot earlier. There is still a long way to go, but unlike Karl, the fictional character of Big Fish, we are real life people. Hopefully we will continue forward with eyes a lot wider open from now on.

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