And yet, in many ways, we have not yet fully consented to these authorized intrusions.Even if it is legal for companies to scoop up information about people’s mental health, is it socially acceptable?She ekes out a living trolling for treasures at yard sales and selling them at a flea market.Bilal Ahmed, thirty-six years old, is a single, Rutgers-educated man who lives in a penthouse in Sydney, Australia. Although they have never met in person, they became close friends on a password-protected online forum for patients struggling with mental health issues.Patients Like Me used the opportunity to inform members of the fine print they may not have noticed when they signed up.The website was also selling data about its members to pharmaceutical and other companies.Sharon was trying to wean herself from antidepressant medications.Bilal had just lost his mother and was suffering from anxiety and depression.
Not only had an intruder been monitoring them, but so was the very place that they considered to be a safe space. Nielsen was operating in a gray area of the law even as it violated the terms of service at Patients Like Me, but those terms are not always legally enforceable.
But technology has made it cheap and easy for institutions of all kinds to keep records about almost every moment of our lives.
Consider just a few facts that have enabled the transformation.
Nielsen monitors online “buzz” for its clients, including major drug makers.
On May 18, Patients Like Me sent a cease-and-desist letter to Nielsen and notified its members of the break-in.Privacy is often defined as freedom from unauthorized intrusion.