Last week, my friend Handy found himself a news messenger bag...it's Coach, a great dark blue canvas, and he got it for a steal. I countered by saying the messenger bag of my dreams is also canvas and leather, but from Ghurka. There was a discussion, and I googled the Ghurka website so I could send him a link.
No sooner than I had sent said link did I notice a new ad on the side my Facebook home page. Now Ghurka is not exactly Kate Spade, and few people are acquainted with the brand out here on the tundra, yet......
Currently, there’s a storm over the NSA information gathering on Americans. This is all part of the powers extended by the Patriot Act. At that time, Ziggy declared this to be a slippery slope and that the very nature of privacy would be challenged. "The Founding Fathers never thought of this one," he would say again and again. And he was right; they could not have thought this one up at all.
The truth is that there is no electronic privacy. There never has been and never will be. The minute you write it online _someone_ you don't know has access to it. If you use any "check in" function, someone you don't know knows where you are. If you search for something on the web, your computer knows, your search engine knows, and your server knows. ....and all of them will immediately begin tailoring that which it shows you in the ad slots.
Let's say you ordered a bunch of plumbing pipes and some fertilizer from Home Depot. Need uranium? You can order some right from United Nuclear easily enough. Not only does the retailer know what you bought, the manufacturer does, too. Did you remember to click "doesn't want emails" on or order? Well, even if you did, the email address you used is now in the marketing pipeline. And you can bet your last Molotov cocktail the government knows, too.
If you're not terrorist, the NSA or whomever is watching, eventually figures that out.
But what if you are a terrorist?
How do you think the spooks find the terrorists? Through tips from little old ladies like me? Surveillance is what's used to keep the lunatics from blowing up the asylum. It seem to work most of the time, but not all of the time.
The internet and electronic media has changed the entire nature of the game. No matter how many pseudonyms you use, you are never really anonymous. Every electronic entry can be followed back to a server. Mountains of data are no longer sifted through by humans; it's all done with algorithms and massive amounts of computers. It a never ending search for that needle in a haystack.
Now, you get to ask yourself: what is the price national safety? What constitutes personal privacy versus the public good?
This is not the easy question one might think?
Did the government fail in not fingering the Marathon Bombers? There was tons of information that was missed because the powers that be asked the wrong questions. Should they not have had access to the cell phone and server records?
What goes on in a bedroom between two consenting adults is a matter of privacy. But what if an online child pornography site leads investigators to a bedroom where one of the participants is neither an adult nor consulting? Is that an invasion of privacy? What if it's a predator luring young girls on Facebook (recent case too close to home....the cops got there in time and the child is safe) should that not be permitted?
Understand, I'm an not advocating for a nanny state here, but I do think the legal definition of privacy is about to change. I believe that SCOTUS will have to decide if information posted on the web is to be considered private. Is there a difference between paper and data? What will constitute secure v. public? A safe deposit box in the bank may be quite private because it's physical location, but what about a blog with a password for entry? Is that to be afforded the same protection?
|Fresh Philly photo by LMP-S|
By the way, the Constitution does not, contrary to popular belief, guarantee privacy. The closest it comes is in the 9th Amendment which states, rather amorphously at that,
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Uh, I don't see privacy mentioned specifically there...but then again, most jurist seem to think the right to privacy is one of the "certain rights" mentioned.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide which bothers me more: that one simple search on Google has totally impacted what I see on Facebook....or that the government harvests our cell calls. I'm not sure which is the bigger privacy issue.
Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Living in turtle country during egg laying season?
Keep a broom in the car so you can hurry them across the street
without picking them up.