Jun 19 2013

Chronic Tonic- I Wish I Didn’t Mind

(8 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Originally published at Voices On The Square

So, last night I had trouble getting to sleep because I had been arguing on the internet! Stupid, I know, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. There’s a lot going on in my life and people would think that I have enough on my plate, why in the world would I stress myself out over anything more; why take on anything additional. Well…because things bother me.

I have tried to go the mindless route, it just does not work for me. I don’t want to be one of those people they stop on the street for a candid video who cannot tell you who the attorney general is or not know what’s going on in the world or what my government is doing. So, when somebody on the internet tries to tell me that I shouldn’t mind that my government is collecting information they have no right to be collecting because Google or Target is collecting information or that I shouldn’t worry because it’s the same government that has my Medicare info, what’s the big deal, oh, that bothers me a lot.

I usually keep this post non-political, but this week I just can’t do that. There is much in my life that I need to compartmentalize, much that I need to live day by day, some hour by hour just to get through.  But here’s the thing, why; why am I fighting so hard to do that? For some dystopian future? No, fuck that noise.

So, yes, I take care of what I need to at home:  My kids, my mom, my own achy ass, I play a few games, I do love me some hidden object games, I watch some teevee, but I don’t need both hands to count my “must see’ shows.   And in my spare time? Oh, some shit bugs the shit out of me. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. I really wish I didn’t mind, but I do. I mind terribly.


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  1. triv33

    and it’s no better today.

  2. TMC

    at Al Jazeera by Laura Beth Nielson, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Legal Studies, Northwestern University, and research professor for the American Bar Foundation, who gave this explanation of why it’s not right for the government to be collecting information from social media sites, etc:

    President Obama was careful to tell us no one was “listening” to our phone calls and many commentators have pointed out that US phone and internet companies already were collecting this information. The implication is that we already give away these data, so we should not care that the federal government is collecting it. The flaw of that argument is its failure to acknowledge the tremendous difference between entering a relationship with a private company by choice and the government’s wholesale appropriation of that data.

    Facebook – and the other communications giants reportedly involved with PRISM – is free to the user because the information about when and how we click, and which of those clicks lead to purchases, is valuable information. Facebook sells that information to advertisers so that they can customise the experience for the user and, hopefully, generate more sales for the products advertised; that is its business model.

    As such, when we sign up for Facebook we are making an exchange. While sometimes annoying, we give permission – you could even think of it as “selling” information about our internet habits – in exchange for a wonderfully easy way to connect and share with our family and friends. No-one is required to be on Facebook, but if you are, you willingly entered into this bargain.

    Think also of your grocery discount card. In exchange for saving 25 cents when you purchase your favourite cereal, you agree to allow the store to sell your purchasing history to companies that “mine the data”. Analysts figure out that most people who buy your cereal also buy a particular kind of yogurt. The next thing you know, that particular brand of yoghurt is one of the discounts available on your discount card or, if the pattern is strong enough, the products are sold near each other in the store. Sales for the cereal and yogurt go up for the company and you get a discount. Again, the private company and the consumer have made an exchange.

    The federal government is not a grocery store or a social networking site. The government has a special relationship with its citizenry. The terms of that relationship in the US are spelled out in the Constitution of the United States of America. The right to be “secure in our persons, homes, and papers” has a long history of protection in the United States. In response to the tyranny of British rule, this country was founded on principles that embody freedom from government intrusion in our lives.  [..]

    But wait, you might say, no-one’s life is at stake in the airport example. So what about bone marrow and organ donation? There are some 120,000 people in the United States waiting for life saving organs at any given time. That’s 40 times the number of people killed on 9/11. And yet, the idea that the government could compel everyone to become an organ donor is unbelievable.

    What if they required us all to bank our DNA and mined that data for matches? We would all be horrified. That kind of medical information and medical procedures are – and should be – private decisions made in consultation with one’s doctor and family.

    The federal government has a sacred relationship with its citizenry. Ensuring that the government meets its burden before taking something from us is the way we ask our government to live up to our founding principles. And so, Americans, just because Mark Zuckerburg has this information does not mean the government is entitled to it. We have not only the option to oppose this massive violation of our privacy, but also a constitutional obligation to resist the Obama administration’s intrusion into our private behaviours.

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