It’s Time To Take Back Our Privacy

I had a heated conversation with a friend earlier today. We were talking about invasion of privacy and crumbling civil liberties. She told me I was an unusual advocate for greater privacy considering I’m on TV and publish this blog every day.

What’s in this blog is the truth. It’s just not the whole truth. I don’t write everything.

You won’t hear about a fight with my daughter or disagreement with my wife. I don’t write about friends making foolish choices.

I’ve been on-the-air over 40 years. I understand how to compartmentalize life so I only reveal what I want revealed.

This Carrier IQ story has me disturbed. The charge is CarrierIQ software, installed on many cellphones, is keeping track of your smartphone usage keystroke-by-keystroke.

The company denies the accusations, but a demonstration by Torrington’s Trevor Eckhart seems to show otherwise.

It doesn’t make much difference. If it’s not being collected in the phone my cell provider certainly has the capability to collect this data on their end. Don’t think they won’t do it!

Verizon recently changed their privacy policy and, as reported by Androidandme.com,

Verizon will now begin storing your device’s location, as well as web sites you visit while connected to their network, and will use that information to both serve you more customized advertisements and for Verizon’s internal marketing and business reports. Additionally, this information may be shared with outside companies.

Verizon will do this UNLESS you opt out!

Recently the Supreme Court heard arguments on a case (United States vs. Jones) that centers on police planting a GPS tracker on a car without bothering to get a warrant. The police ask, how is this different than surveillance?

As Business Week reported,

The justices were taken aback when the lawyer representing the government said police officers could install GPS devices on the justices’ cars and track their movements without a warrant.

Justice Samuel Alito captured the essence of the court’s concern when he said, “With computers around, it’s now so simple to amass an enormous amount of information. How do we deal with this? Just say nothing has changed?”

I work in an environment where computers speedily analyze tons of data. It’s how weather isforecast. Incorrect assumptions are made all the time!

I don’t want my life scrutinized that way.

We have already lost much of our privacy to businesses and the government. The time to slow the progression is long gone. We need to turn back the clock and return control of our private lives to ourselves.

8 Responses to “It’s Time To Take Back Our Privacy”

  1. webguygary says:

    Geoff, I like how you broke the info down in a way that most can understand the issue, but…

    what is the solution? to me, that’s the real question. how can we feel “safe” but also feel “free”?

  2. KC says:

    As someone who works with adolescents I would have to say that this sort of data collection does not seem to concern them. They share anything and everything when they lack the filter that comes with prefrontal cortex development and life experience. Social, mainstream and cable media only reinforce the idea when entertainment aimed at them is “reality” based. It seems likely this sort of buisness practice will only proliferate if it seems like a normal idea to the next generation as they come of age.

    They don’t have the life experience or perspective to understand how misinterpreting this data can negatively impact their life in the short or long term. Most adults probably don’t either until you hear about a case of it happening. I do appreciate your analogy to weather modeling and the assumptions that are made- that really clarifies the potential pitfalls well.

    Food for thought.

  3. Junie says:

    Geoff – I’d like to share my experience of ID Theft. My ID thief has the same name as me and lives in the midwest. She somehow obtained my SSN 7-8 yrs ago and had been using it to try to obtain a mortgage. Failing that, she’s been using it to for cell phones, rentals, utilities, emergency rooms, etc.

    Since then, my life has been an open book to these creditors trying to recoup their losses.

    I pay my bills and (ATTEMPT!) to maintain a good credit rating. I’ve lived and worked in CT all my life, but continually have to fight for my dignity, credit, money and right to privacy.

    Just today I received another call from a credit collection agency and had to go through the whole, sorry routine again. I deprive myself of things (such as a smart phone) because I am afraid of opening myself up to potential ID Theft pitfalls.

    In this cyber-age, there is no more privacy – especially from those who wish us harm.

  4. Reisa Miller says:

    I’m with you, Geoff. Wish I had a solution. I try to release only limited information; I don’t post photos of any significance anymore, I keep my phone number unlisted, I give out little to no information when asked. I don’t apply for things that require my ss number. I use initials instead of my name when possible. I do what I can do.

  5. Scott says:

    You have a choice to opt out of having a smartphone. If you dont want your information out there then simply dont participate in technology …… its as simple as that. It’s not like you dont have a choice.

  6. Miz Laura says:

    Right On! I have nothing to hide, but that does Not mean I’m comfortable with the scrutiny!

  7. DorisC says:

    One line said it all “I don’t want my life scrutinized that way.” …….me neither Geoff….me neither!!!

  8. bob says:

    Yeah, you have the right to opt out of the phone but, what other wys are we being looked at? There will be another service or device they will use. If you keep opting out we may be back to the 50s…Hey! I liked the 50s.

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