Saturday, March 10, 2012

Just a rant about privacy

Ever get the feeling you're being watched?

Pick your nose in the wrong part of the building and your boss will might see you on a video feed. Pull your pants out of your butt in the aisle and K-Mart will know it. Have a quickie in the high rise elevator and Maintenance Man Joe will have a nice ten minute clip to show his friends. Hell, better make sure your blinds have maximum coverage when you're in the apartment alone with a porn. You are being watched.

There was a movie with Will Smith and Gene Hackman called Enemy of the State that offered a glimpse into how scary surveillance and tracking has come (and that was in '98). You can be tracked by your credit card, by your IPASS at tolls, GPS in your phone or in your car. An alibi can be established on every errand you run by time-stamped video. I just got a ticket along with a video of my car going through a red light! And if you happen to be under investigation and all else fails, the IRS already has you by the balls.

Do we care anymore? Are we desensitized? We should be or it might drive us crazy contemplating it all. In the '40's and '50's everyone was made to be so scared of communists that invasions of privacy were the norm. What was it, the McCarthy Red Scare? Our government had a field day prying into the private lives of otherwise normal citizens. Today, the terrorist card can be played as if the government even needed an excuse. Sure, these are private companies that record your movements and track your spending and websites your browse, but that information is out there. Every text, every email. You might hit delete, but it doesn't ever go away.

Facebook - Oh, Lordy Facebook. I'm all for social media. I like Facebook for the mere fact that it's like an address book that everyone else keeps up to date for you. But kids these days don't seem to want privacy. They want everything to be known. GPS doesn't have to track them, they'll tell you right on FB that they're going to Starbucks. They'll tell you their kids have a cold. They'll post a picture of themselves, or what's worse - YOU, drunk at the party, hanging off the ceiling fan in your underwear. Good luck at your next interview. And then it will be there for as long as the Internet is in existence.

I'm trying to be an author; a successful author. And I had a rather extroverted life in New Orleans, but thankfully, that was in the late '80 and 90's before YouTube. If I become a household name, I worry that something might surface because I have a feeling it is out there; a picture, a video, an arrest warrant (just kidding), waiting to embarrass the hell out of me.

And finally, in playing devil's advocate, the one thing I can rationalize is that there are so many people to keep track of, who cares if Joe Blow knows you rent romantic comedies on the weekend? At least those that need to be watched, probably are.

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