Privacy (and where yours has gone)

The facebook scandal has everyone a bit concerned. I tend think the concerns somewhat exaggerated. At least, I tend to think those concerns exaggerated so long as we are not stupid enough to demand government regulation and “protection”.

What would government regulation do? Government would not prevent the information from being collected. Think about it. Does government prevent information from being collected or find some way to give itself access?

Here is an example. One thing news media does not mention is that facebook virtually gave the Obama campaign access to all of its information for free. Did the news media have a cow? No. They just thought the Obama campaign brilliant.

You don’t want private corporations getting invading your privacy? Then don’t tell them anything. You want to go on the Internet and not be monitored. Then you will have to pay for the privilege. When something is “free”, then you are the product.

Works like this. Because of advertisements, TV is “free”. Sponsors pay for programs because that allows them to advertise at you. You don’t like advertisements? Then you have to pay for what you watch.

The Internet allows advertisers to focus their advertisements. Based upon your viewing history, they place their ads. Just the next logical step.


Never in history has personal privacy been more protected by law. Yet never in history have people sacrificed their own privacy so completely. 

If you confess a sin to your pastor or priest, that member of the clergy cannot tell anyone else that you have said—not even a police officer, or a judge and jury during a trial. Your confession remains private among yourself, your confessor, and the Lord. 

Health professionals are also required to keep your information confidential. They cannot even share your information among one another for your own good without your permission. If you are in the hospital and a family member or friend (or your pastor or priest) calls the hospital for information about you, the hospital workers cannot say anything about you—not even whether you are there. 

If you are a student, your teachers cannot discuss your academic progress without your permission…

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19 thoughts on “Privacy (and where yours has gone)

  1. Things were a lot simpler and wiser 3000 years ago after King Solomon wrote this proverb.

    Cast out the scoffer, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
    (Proverb 22:10)

    I believe someone who disobeys laws of a country, especially if they enter uninvited, could be termed a scoffer.

    You would think it would be a simple matter for the supposedly wisest nine justices in our country to decide.

    In my opinion, we need the Supreme Court Justices to pass a simple wisdom test before they are appointed.

    The first question might begin with this yes or no question.

    Do you believe a person who enters the USA illegally can be termed to be is a scoffer of the laws of the USA?

    If they answer no, they should be expelled from being nominated without any further test questions.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The underlying issue here is why the attempt was so successful. If we don’t address the fact that it was only effective because so much of the American population is highly misinformed and under educated then we can be sure to expect foreign entities to continue to use methods like this to try and sway our elections.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @August Jensen

      I won’t say that advertising with Facebook does not work. However, I am uncertain of how much of a role it played in the election, especially with respect to foreign entities trying to sway our elections. Compared to what the candidates spent, foreign entities did not spend anything on Facebook. RT.COM seems to be the sort of thing that the Russian actually invest their money in.

      I agree the American population is highly misinformed and undereducated, but that is because our government does educate us, and that is not working.

      America’s Socialist education system is just another example that Socialism does not work, at least for the People. For those who want America to look like Venezuela or the failed USSR, our education system is working.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re absolutely right that American political groups use this to a much larger extent and in the same way. The sad fact is that by giving biased or sometimes outright false information you can easily sway an uninformed and uneducated voter.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As I mentioned over at Salvageable’s place, it’s not so much that corporations are invading my privacy that bothers me. It’s a little creepy but I have no expectations of privacy on plans like Facebook, Word Press, etc…If it’s a free service than the product is most surly you.

    What does worry me is that these large social networks are being overseen by a handful of companies who are actively discriminating against conservative viewpoints. They are private companies and so have the freedom to do this, but since more and more people are getting their news via social media this is a big concern.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @Trica

      This is the subject that I think the debate over privacy is intended to distract us from. For some reason it is okay for Obama to get Facebook’s data, but it is a disaster of some sort if anyone but a Democrat gets it?

      We really need to reduce the government to size, and we to let the market place work so that we corporations get so large that they become difficult to manage they can’t buy advantages for themselves from the government.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s an interesting paradox.
    We are currently looking for a new home, and my husband was perusing loan sites online the other night.
    At the top of the screen the company stated, “Your privacy is paramount, we don’t share your personal information with anyone” (or somesuch)
    At the very bottom of the screen in small letters it stated that by clinking on the “agree” prompt you agreed to share all your personal information.
    Fortunately he read this and stopped right before offering his personal cell number (the last item on the page).
    Others weren’t so lucky (as he found, upon reading the reviews).

    I never wanted to join Facebook. For years I had hoped the trend would die off (though everyone assured me I was wrong…sometimes I project and think everyone else views things as I do and since I cannot imagine the draw of this medium I assume others feel the same). Then I was essentially strong-armed into it when my husband got his current job. It was the only way to join the numerous groups required (spouses clubs, key spouse program, et al).

    I was in a military spouse training meeting and the Public Affairs person asked who in the room didn’t like social media. I was the only one who raised my hand. He asked why and I told him exactly why. He kind of laughed it off and went on about what a great way facebook is to get the message out (citing a few examples, “look at this…it’s donut day! This representative posted about donuts with images!” and so forth). I cited security concerns and he told me there had never been a confirmed security problem from a military person posting on social media. I told him there had never been a terrorist killing in the CONUS until 911 either but the events that set that off weren’t exactly a good idea. I’m sure I made him uncomfortable.

    I think there’s something about social media that leads a lot of people to let their guards down. Something they’d never say in public, they might spew on their Facebook page as though they really are just alone in their living room, or among close friends who understand their quirky/dark sense of humor. We have a tech sergeant here who just got in trouble for something very untoward he said on his personal FB page.

    On a related note, it’s interesting to think of how the world has changed.
    I watched the Charles Bronson movie “Hard Times” a few months back. It was about a boxer who moved around and kind of started life over to escape his past from time to time.
    Seasoned spies in the past spent decades of meticulous labor to capture and relay the type of information a comparative pogue could access and relay to the enemy now in seconds.

    New identities were relatively easy in the past. A person could leave one town and start fresh in another. Imagine the difficulty of something like a witness protection program now. How safe could anyone really be with cameras and GPS trackers everywhere?

    We’re entering an era where there not only isn’t any escape but even something as little as a stupid, non-criminal statement or action you said or did in high school will follow you forever. In parts of Asia in particular one’s online profile is very important for employment. THink it’s China where they have actual companies one can procure to improve one’s FB page (to include fake “friends” posing with the person to feign that he/she has an active social life). What sort of culture does this cultivate? The closest one that come to mind is Las Vegas, a land run just about entirely by, and entirely for, posers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @anon

      Whenever Rush Limbaugh talks about the social media, what he talks about is the phoniness. I think you explained it better than Limbaugh does.

      Have a facebook account for Citizen Tom. Created it to check out facebook. Now I can’t get rid of the darn thing.

      What drives the social media? It is one of the same things that drives smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, and getting into all kinds of trouble, peer pressure.


  5. In my mind, some of the worry is founded on a bit of shame. Many think what if I took a picture and it was posted when I was in High School or College of something embarrassing or sinful now that I’ve gotten older with some wisdom perspective know that it is wrong. If I were to run for office, what if this photo reaches the surface or if I get offered a job promotion.

    Of course, what this actually brings to the surface is our vainglorious nature as a society. I think of St. Augustine and the donatist who insisted that the clergy should only be from the pure but Augustine argued that this contrary from the Gospel. Yes, he committed theft, lied, defended pagan immorality, committed adultery, but when he was baptized into the faith that sinful man died, so to speak, and Augustine put on the ‘new man’ as St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians and Colossians.

    If Facebook has evidence of any sins of my younger years, I’ve deleted Facebook about two years ago, let them have them, for that person in a sense no longer exists.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @Philip Augustine

      Good as explanation as any. Facebook does not have anything that people did not choose to give it, but we do change our minds and look back with shame on our foolishness.

      “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
      Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
      Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
      Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

      ― Omar Khayyam

      Hard to take some things back. Fortunately, it is as you say.


  6. Sadly insurance has made sure that nothing you tell your doctor is private. My doc of 37 years and his nurses now tote a laptop or tablet with them, and are typing everything I say. Why I asked. Answer, required by insurance. That gets fed straight to the insurance company, and ALL their employess. Those employees have no such responsibility to keep my info private.

    I’m going through a health insurance issue that I had to converse with the insurance company for over 5 months. Several calls to them, every other day, spoke to no less than 3 people each time who all had access to ALL my information. Why so many each call? Because the first 2, or 3 or 4 people pulled up info but couldn’t help me, not their department, they weren’t sure why insurance was being held up, not their job, etc but they ALL were pulling up my information and reading to me what my issue was.

    Privacy has been long gone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @Margaret

      Theory versus practice. There are rules. If people violate the rules you can sue them, but I expect the violation would have to be blatantly obvious.

      Corporations are chartered by government. Effectively, they are for-profit government entities. That profit motive tends to make them efficient, but they are still bureaucratic, and their large size makes it relatively easy for them to buy politicians. So our information tends to become their information. No easy solution for this problem. Government certainly does not have the answer.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The priests and the doctors and the teachers are not supposed to be able to discuss your private affairs without your permission but I have a sneaking suspicion that many of them do it. Just because there is a law against something is no guarantee that everybody is going to abide by it. I have been privy to situations where doctors will tell their nurses — after they think a patient has left the area of their speaking — but when the patient has not yet departed and can still hear everything that is said — “That guy that was just in here is a flaming homosexual” or some other such demeaning remark and I know for a fact that teachers discuss their pupils classroom behavior and academic achievements among themselves in teacher lounges on breaks and so on and so forth. There is no guarantee that people will obey the laws against disseminating your private information.

    Liked by 2 people

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