Dear “The Internet”: A sonnet on privacy

the-nsa-trained-edward-snowden-to-be-an-elite-hackerBy Tim Young

Written for and recorded at Webster University Geneva’s 5th Annual Media Conference – Media and Privacy Invasion – this is what Shakespeare might have had to say about the Internet.


Dear ‘The Internet’

Shall I compare thee to a Class A drug?
Thou art more persuasive and addictive
Your ever present all enshrining hug
Like a jealous love is most vindictive

Before we met I dared not to believe
That I could discover a true new friend
Who would bring me a daily sweet reprieve
From this dull grind with which we all contend

But there you were with such great temptations
With more delights than I ever might need
Seemingly set without limitations
Dependant only on connection speed

How was I to possibly know or guess
That I would come to love you so much – less

As seasons sprung and then fell into years
You brought me tides of new joy every day
Flowing ceaselessly like Niobe’s tears
Soaking into my life in every way

I never questioned why there was no price
I thought it was just unconditional
I didn’t think that you could be so nice
And then go and present me with a bill

But then I found out I’d been quite naïve
There were ‘conditions’ that I should have read
The secrets I’d shared were yours just to thieve
And you’d recorded every word we’d said

The honeymoon was over then and there
The prelude to the end of our affair

I thought back over all that I had said
¬And shuddered at the depth of honesty

I had invited you inside my head
And you just handed everyone the key

You obviously missed that lesson at school
The one where fairness and trust were explained
If you had listened and noted the rules
You’d know that false friendships can’t be maintained

Now we all know the extent of your game
The time, dear friend, has come to say goodbye
Living without you will not be the same
But at least I won’t be friends with a spy

Apparently you know all there is to know
So tell me now… will I dare to let go?

 Spoken version available on YouTube