Thursday, October 04, 2012

Your Privacy

Recently, I discovered that my Facebook timeline showed publicly some very private conversations that had been in my messages. I was able to hide those conversations from my timeline, but I discovered that when I went to my friends' timelines that some of those conversations were still there.  This was disconcerting because friends (and is self included) have shared some very private things as matters of prayer, and I felt violated.  I vaguely remember some long lost Facebook friend, who had long ago deactivated his account, prophesying that this would happen and that our photos and our words posted would no longer be our own but the property of Facebook.  Needless to say, I have been slowing working on deactivating my account (untagging and deleting photos, etc.). 

These events spurred a conversation with my mother about our privacy and the fact that it's almost non-existent today.  Do you have a credit card?  Your purchases are tracked.  Do you have a rewards card?  Those purchases are tracked as well.  Do you have cable or satellite TV?  The shows you watch are monitored and the capabilty exists for companies to show commercials targeted directly at you based on the shows you watch.  There are also in some, if not many, products that contain microchips that follow you home, tracking where you take your purchase.  For many years, our military has had the capability of flying over any home in America and listen in on your conversations....I'm not just talking phone conversations, but table conversations.....not that anyone is interested in what you or I have to say ;)    I am certain that there are countless ways we are being watched, marketed to and targeted, and we are mostly ignorant of it.  Some of us, sacrifice our privacy for the sake of saving money, but will we regret it in the long run?

Take Wal-Mart.  When they first arrived on the horizon, we were all excited and thrilled that they showed up to bring us so many things under one roof and at such cheap prices.  What was the final cost to us?  Loss of small, local businesses, loss of manufacturing jobs to cheaper overseas companies, etc.  What will happen if we don't start drawing the line with our privacy rights or are we already too far gone.  I fear it is too late, and I now have this gnawing twinge every time I scan a rewards card or use a credit card, but what's a girl to do?

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