Friday, December 11, 2009

Your liberty or your convenience

While going about my usual evil and UnAmerican afternoon activities of eating pizza and reading various news sites, I was struck with the thought that - while it would result in, or rather need to arise from further structuring and monitoring of the internets - it'd be really nice if i sat down at a computer and said 'i am 22 years old' and it said 'ok, we'll stop asking you now.'
I've been an internet denizen (its a little different from being a user) for as long as makes no difference to being my whole sapience and I can not think of a single instance in which my age was an actual barrier or even a deciding factor of what content I did or did not absorb - barring of course various jokes I was too in-experienced to get or sexual acts I thought just yucky rather than an acquired taste. And yet whenever I watch a trailer for a game or a movie, I'm told first how old I should be before I should continue to watch - that is to say a big colored thing comes up and says 'if you're not a certain age you should not continue to sit there watching this video you clearly decided to watch anyway.' Some sites still hold onto the annoying practice of asking a user's age before letting them partake of their content, despite the obvious loophole in this practice (that it can easily be subverted by anyone with the most rudimentary arithmetical skills.) Frankly, I'm tired of proving that I am who I am and that I'm old enough to look at boobs and guns, and I'd like some way to stop having to repeat the procedure.
I feel somewhat ill at ease over this. As I said above proving my identity would of course require my identity to be known and recorded, then somehow tethered to my specific workstation. To forgo anonymity and security for ease and convenience is to turn against what I have held right and proper for most all of my 'adult' life. "If you can't take it apart, you don't own it." has always been a creed i could relate to and rely on. But more and more I've been looking to warranties for repairs and wishing for someone else to create a system to manage my data and information for me.
I wonder if I'm just getting lazy, or if my desire for 'better' user interfaces is simply an organic response to a more complex and harder to manage set of online identities and personal data. I'm not sure what implications might arise from my desire to have an easier time of viewing guns and boobs, but I have a feeling such regulation and identification is probably inevitable.

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