Database Nation

Looking on the Bright Side of 'Zero Privacy'

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
The June cover of 'Reason' magazine

The June cover of Reason magazine hide caption

toggle caption

As subscribers pull the June Reason magazine out of their mailbox, something about the issue should look familiar. The magazine published 40,000 individualized covers displaying an aerial photo of the subscriber's home and the surrounding neighborhood.

Inside, the personalization continues. Subscribers can find out how many of their neighbors are college educated and what percentage of kids in their zip code are being raised by their grandparents. An ad for the Institute for Justice shows the number of eminent domain cases in their state where private property was seized and given to private developers. And an ad for the Marijuana Policy Project tells subscribers whether their congressman voted to stop federal raids on medical marijuana clubs in states where they're legal, says Reason Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie.

"Living in a database nation raises innumerable privacy concerns," writes Gillespie in the June issue. "But it also makes life easier and more prosperous. We may have kissed privacy goodbye — and good riddance, too."


Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief for Reason magazine



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from