Privacy? An Afterthought

6 Dec

Side Story series 

How much internet and cell phone related information do you exchange?

Do you tweet, giving random, anonymous people tweet-by-tweet details of your mental state, your happenings? Is your face all over your profiles, including your family and friends?

Do you use those “discount” cards at local grocery stores or drug stores to get a discount that used to be available without a card tracking each and every purchase? 


Gosh, years ago I saw a 20/20 news report, I believe, that showed where prisoners were processing loads of data from “discount” cards. Those were the first goosebumps that I got from the underbelly of data mining.

But then years later I heard during a presentation that “all the F.B.I. needs is a peek into anyone’s curb side trash to make a “99.999% accurate profile of them.”

That really got me to thinking. 

Of course We the People have never ever had true privacy, of course not. We’re ruled and governed for crying out loud and even with the strides in jaw dropping technology there has always been myriad ways to spy on anyone. (From strategically placed ink pens to cameras in stuffed animals gazing from fireplace mantels–a favorite used on babysitters and nannies–to two-way mirrors.) Of course we were always being watched in some way. But in the last handful of years it’s gotten so much worse and so very many people don’t seem to notice or care that certain aspects of their privacy should stay, well, private. 

And no, I’m not paranoid or hiding from The Man. I just value privacy and refuse to be an information guinea pig for random companies that I will NEVER do business with anyway. 

If you want to put your business out there, fine.  If you don’t mind your photos in your bathing suit ending up on a Russian dating site advertising single “available” women, fine.  But that’s your risk and a choice you make. But what about the truly dirty side of data mining, the stuff you may not know about?

Think this is all ridiculous concern?

Did you know data miners (a multibillion dollar business!) can tell if you’ll be divorced before you do? Did you know a person’s cell phone habits can reveal their depression even when they haven’t texted one clue about feeling down? Hmm.

For you doubters, check this out from ABC News Nightline:

See That Man Over There?

Personally I refuse to use my legal name on those aforementioned “discount” cards.  It’s one of the few choices I have left to maintain privacy.  Or at the very least, not make it easy for data miners, etc., to track what should remain private.  ( If I buy maxi pads or prefer Advil over Alleve it’s no one’s business. If I have a dog or a cat isn’t either. If I pay for a meal at Olive Garden at 2:38 p.m. and what I purchased doesn’t need a record, either.)  All of one’s preferences and movements simply should not be for sale.

Whatever shred of privacy I can keep, I’ll keep it, thank you very much.


One Response to “Privacy? An Afterthought”

  1. NS March 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    It’s not private if you use a bank card. Even if you don’t use your real name, if you’re paying with plastic, they know who you are.

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