There are good things and bad things when discussing the trade-off between privacy and transparency. Back in the days when I frequented many a Santa Fe Institute lecture, there was lengthy discourse about The Beer Game, which simulates a distribution system for beer sellers with knobs to allow for certain levels of transparency from retail to distribution to wholesale. The point of the exercise is to determine 'How much transparency is too little, and how much is too much'. If you don't expose your retail demand in a timely fashion, you end up having no inventory. If you expose too much, you end up 'flapping' your distribution chain with wild inventory swings.
I think back on this exercise frequently when it comes to the Internet+Social Media, and the blood/brain barrier of privacy and transparency. Should I share my trip details, or keep them private? What efficiencies (e.g. catching dinner with friends also in town) do I miss by omitting my travel plans from my blog, etc..
In this day, it's difficult to ascertain the level of data being collected about you, especially when I methodically opt-out of every data-gathering clause I find, deliberately out of my frothing libertarian paranoia.
You can imagine my surprise when I just received an automated telephone call from CostCo, a big-box retailer in the United States, alerting me that the Clif bars that I purchased 'between June and December' were possibly a infection vector in the recent Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak. They were able to determine this based on the fact that each SKU (part number) is tracked through sale, and tied to a particular CostCo member identification number. Since they have my telephone number from the CostCo application, they were able to call me and notify me to trash the Clif bars else risk the wrath of Salmonella.
Am I happy that they warned me? Absolutely. Am I surprised that they were (admittedly well integrated and efficient) tracking my purchases to that level of resolution? Absolutely. Will it stop me from purchasing more goods at CostCo? Nope. Now I get to be tied up with this privacy/transparency quandry for a while.
What would you do? Does this type of tradeoff offend you or do you feel that you'd sacrifice privacy for this entitlement? Do you mind that Google knows more about you than your family physician? Speak up!