Willy Wonka is Watching

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In the United Kingdom, there’s a contest put on by Nestle. You know Nestle—they own the Kit Kat Bar, Willy Wonka Candy and all that. The idea behind Nestle’s contest is this: You buy a candy bar. If you’re not a winner, you get to enjoy eating the candy bar. If you are a winner, then the simple act of you opening the candy bar wrapper triggers a GPS tracking device hidden within the candy. The Nestle Company then promises that they’ll find you within twenty-four hours and present you with a check for ten thousand pounds (that’s a little over $16K in United States dollars). It’s a fascinating, innovative contest idea. It also lays a great foundation for a discussion of how modern GPS technology has made all our invasion-of-privacy nightmares come true and, for the most part, how much we seem to enjoy it.

 

Invasion of Privacy is Fun!

Remember Men in Black? Remember The X-files? Remember The Matrix? It seemed that, during the advent of the Internet, there were a lot of healthy discussions as to how our privacy might soon become extremely limited. All those neat little secrets we used to have–like what restaurant we were at on a given night, which former boyfriends or girlfriends we were still secretly talking to, our location at any given time—might soon be out there for all to see. The thing is, we now live in a world where all that information is out there for us to vomit onto Facebook. The big surprise during this transition of popular culture is that a lot of individuals don’t seem to care whether people know or not.

 

Does Anyone Care if Their Privacy is Invaded?

Let’s go back to Nestle’s contest, which is called “I Will Find You.” It’s designed to be a play off popular fears (?) that Big Brother is just around the corner watching us. Honestly, it’d probably be really fun to open a candy bar, watch the GPS go off, and wait for the Money People to show up with a check. The concern over this contest is that it makes light of a cultural shift that most of us seem to have gleefully set aside: That we have no privacy, and that for some reason we never seemed to want it in the first place. This is a challenging truth. George Orwell’s apocalyptic paranoia predictions of last year have become the fearless chuckles of today.

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John Chapman

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