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Privacy… February 23, 2009

Posted by handspiker in Uncategorized.
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My professor recently posted a video talking about our digital dossier/footprint and the amount of information out there about each and everyone of us. I realize that in this digital age, as it expands, more and more of who we are and what we are doing is being documented. It was really a scary thought. I had flashbacks to George Orwell’s “1984” and Mulder from “The X-Files” [the truth [of us] is out there.].

Simple daily tasks that we do without much thought leaves these footprints behind. Daily activities such as: logging on a computer at home/school, surfing the Internet, using debit/credit cards, or phoning people from home or a cell phone. It’s scary to think of what trail we leave behind and what people might do with that information.

This reflection caused me to think about two incidents that happened to me when I was younger. Firstly was joining “Dooly’s” a pool hall chain. When I applied for membership I was told, very harshly, that I needed to give them my SIN number. I flatly refused and told the bartender that it was illegal for him to ask that of me. I told him I would give him 24 hours to check with a lawyer about the legalities of it, but that he could not with hold membership in that hall due to me not providing him with a SIN number. At this point it was all about proving him wrong, due to his demeanor. I went back the next night and he very sheepishly apologized for his mistake and promptly signed me up. Would anything have been wrongly done with my SIN number, probably not, but who knows.

The second incident was in filing taxes one year. I for get to get something off of my previous tax form, from the year before, and went down to my local tax office for a copy of said form. I walked in, waited, was called and received a copy of my tax form. I began to walk away when it hit me, I was never asked for a piece of id. I turned around and asked the gentleman if he needed anything else. He looked at me confused and said no. I asked him if it was normal policy to ask for id when handing out personal information. He said nothing. I called over a supervisor and registered my concerns.

We have the ability to control what we put out there. I still refuse to give personal info out over a cordless phone. I have a shredder, cross-cut, for my documents/mailings at home. I limit what I post on social networks. But I know I cannot bury or hide everything. What about people like the above situations? Do they value my concern about my info as well? Look at banks, stores, governments, that have over the past few years had to deal with public info about peoples’ lives just sitting around in dumpsters, trash, missing hard drives, etc. Am I paranoid about this? Is this a huge concern? Is this just how our “new” lives and society are going to be?