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Privacy invasions only count when they're creepy

Privacy. Everyone talks about it. Few really care. Many blithely sacrifice it for three things: convenience, economics and security. Ask anyone who goes through automatic toll booths, saves on groceries with loyalty cards or carries (the biggest privacy busters) cell phones and credit cards.

It’s not privacy that will interrupt the mathematical modeling of our lives. It’s creepiness. Take a look at this prediction from Ignited’s David Martin. He says that behavioral advertising is "only going to get creepier" ( ex Marketing Pilgrim).

Across the predictive industries, the data-hounds I call the Numerati will really have to watch it to make sure that their targets don’t feel invaded. This may mean camouflaging the accuracy of predictions. Instead of telling a supermarket shopper exactly what she wants, and making her feel that someone is sharing her brain, it might make sense just to steer her in the right direction.

So the Numerati face two enormous challenges. One, to get it right, which will always be difficult. And two, to keep it from seeming too creepy. (adapted from post at

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