Americans prefer data collection by Target over NSA

Staff Writer

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An enraged father stormed into a Target outside of Minneapolis and demanded to speak with the manager.  

“My daughter got this in the mail! She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?”

A few days later, the manager called the man to apologize again and there was a change in the father’s attitude.  

“I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”

Many retailers have entire departments dedicated to finding out what people like and need, and which coupons will make them most likely to buy. In this example, Target figured a way to determine a baby on the way long before one has to buy diapers.

Here is another similarly disturbing idea: when one logs onto a website, files called cookies are created and store browsing information—information such as site preferences and profile information. In order to use some Google services they require a Google Account.

St. Edward’s University freshman Lauren Gray sees the effects of cookies. When she needed to buy IB books for her high school classes, her search history lit up with used book searches and everything to do with IB.  Years later, her Google search still asks her if she wants to know where to find the cheapest IB books or if she cares to resell them.  

Most people do not mind if Target sends them a “Congratulations!” card or if Google can fill in their credit card information, but, thanks to Edward Snowden, the same people are enraged when the National Security Agency searches for bomb threats over Facebook.

The NSA collects metadata on the phone calls of over 120 million Verizon subscribers and on Internet communications.

Created in secrecy in 1952 by President Harry Truman, the National Security Agency was comically referred to as “No Such Agency.” 

After the NSA was uncovered, government officials began to review what they found. 

In 1975, former Sen. Frank Church stated, “that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”

The NSA might be so powerful it could even predict a pregnancy before it occurs or ask to search for used IB books…oh, wait. The truth, not to downplay the blatant violations of privacy the NSA makes, is that people are so focused on what the media hypes up and tells the public to be angry about that citizens are failing to see what lies in front of them.

Having privacy compromised is devastating on any scale. If one is to be outraged at the government and not the local supercenter, it might be that our values are out of balance.