Lately we've heard a lot about the National Security Agency. They're not doing anything they haven't always done, nor are they doing it all that much more than they used to do it. They're just, if you believe one guy holed up in Hong Kong, getting bigger and more brazen about it, and farming more of it out to the private sector.

The privatization of intelligence work sounds bizarre, but it's logical. To see how logical, just look at what the likes of Google and Yahoo have done with the Internet.

To them, it's the most far-reaching and comprehensive intelligence tool ever devised. The stated goal, which is no secret, is to put every living human being into a coccoon, or maybe a Matrix, in which every move, thought, action, and appearance is analyzed for marketing potential.

It used to be kind of clunky and silly. If you talked about politics a lot, you started getting political ads, usually for books by people you didn't agree with.

That was then. They're getting much better at it.

And it's not just the Internet. It's anywhere Big Data wants it to be. My mother never understood why Pepsi sent her free samples after she bought Coke, using her market discount card. I tried to explain the Brave New World. I even loaned her a book about it. Even so, I'm not sure she ever got it.

I get it.

Actually, we had a golden opportunity to nip this kind of thing in the bud about 10 years ago. People became aware of "spyware" and "adware," and a few fought back. Laws were proposed. More books were published. Web sites were established. But it never reached critical mass. There were just too few people who gave a damn.

The rest were either apathetic, or they actually wanted to be probed, analyzed, catagorized, tracked, warehoused, and served up to the money changers like suckling pigs, complete with a back end database apple in the mouth. How fun. How 21st century. Cool beans.

And this brings us to May 20, 2013, which for many creative souls will always be a date to live in infamy. That is when we were suddenly and abruptly shocked and awed by the Brave New Flickr, in all its corporo-fascistic glory. It had all the warning of a cruise missile hit.

Soulless, isn't it? Mechanical, right? Brutal and stupid, no?

Of course it's that way. It's not about sharing photographs. It's about the commodification of the human spirit. Photos are no longer the product. YOU are the product, and unless you're in a target demographic, you're damaged goods. You have been probed, analyzed, catagorized, tracked, warehoused, and all that, and found wanting. You don't buy enough shampoo.

Now, with Big Data ascendant everywhere, in the age when "privacy is dead," as they say, why SHOULDN'T the government pay the same kind of people using the same kind of software to find the ones doing behavior that does not meet with its approval?

After all, We The People gave the whole show away years ago, so what's the surprise? I'd have been more surprised if they HADN'T been doing that.

Except that, this time, we won't get free Pepsi. We'll get drone strikes and that 4 AM knock on the door.

We have met the enemy and it is us.