“[A]ccumulating data about you isn’t just a strange hobby for these corporations. It’s their whole business model,” said/yelled Al Franken during a speech given to members of the American Bar Association. “And you are not their client. You are their product.”
The quote rightly caught fire online; it’s a variation on an idea that’s animated the anti-Facebook, anti-Google crowd for years. Its first formulation didn’t come from a Clay Shirky or a Jaron Lanier. It most probably came from a Metafilter user who goes by the handle “blue_beetle.”
So, credit where credit’s due! Though I have to admit I’m a little sad that one of this decade’s most important technological ideas originated in a comment thread about the Digg redesign.