The Economist says we are learning to live with Big Brother. It used to be easy to tell whether you were in a free country or a police state because in a dictatorship the goons were everywhere. But now in democracies, it's more subtle.
"These days, data about people's whereabouts, purchases, behaviour and personal lives are gathered, stored and shared on a scale that no dictator of the old school ever thought possible. Most of the time, there is nothing obviously malign about this. Governments say they need to gather data to ward off terrorism or protect public health; corporations say they do it to deliver goods and services more efficiently. But the ubiquity of electronic data-gathering and processing-and above all, its acceptance by the public-is still astonishing, even compared with a decade ago..."