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Digital Privacy News

ACLU Satire From 2004 Proves Eerie Reminder Amid Pandemic

By Samantha Stone

If you want to illustrate something abstract, connect it with an experience everyone understands, like ordering food. Extra points if you get a few laughs.

The American Civil Liberties Union did it in 2004, to show how scattered records of personal activity can be centralized and connected to a unique identifier.

“Scary Pizza” was their darkly funny and prescient video, warning of a boundless new appetite by government and business for personal data. It featured a mock cellphone call to a pizza restaurant, where caller ID also reveals an extensive customer profile.

“That video was, for many years, the most watched piece on the ACLU’s site,” Senior Policy Analyst Jay Stanley, the lone veteran of the education campaign that produced the video, told Digital Privacy News.