Scallywag

Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.

~ Pearl S. Buck ~

BTW Please Note That With Each Post Your IP Address Is Recorded

September 28th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 28 secs

Weird to think companies have this much data about you.

Don’t look now but they’re watching you (that little byline saying “please note that with each post your IP address is recorded” means they know where you live).

Actually, it’s a watchers watching as we watch world out there. In case you didn’t know, there’s probably a security camera near you keeping an eye on things. Not that I want you to feel paranoid. But apart from what the Stasi did in East Germany, humanity has never been scrutinized as we are now.

Back in the naïve 1970s, Andy Williams had a hit about boys watching girls while the girls watch the boys who watch the girls go by. Now it’s more like firms watching folk while the folk watch the screens while online crime will pry. Meaning, that you should please note that with each post your IP address is recorded while they keep an eye out on all the other websites you try. I mean, really. Do we have to have that level of surveillance? What’s wrong with respecting people’s privacy?

If anything, that last question shows I’m old school. People born under the watchful eye of computer technology rarely quibble. But baby “kaboomers”? Well we want to know why our particulars are being slipped into someone’s pry file. A tiny fine print disclaimer saying, “please note that with each post your IP address is recorded and, oh by the way, we are spying on you to boost our bottom line” just doesn’t wash.

Once, I innocently thought so long as you weren’t doing any harm, what was there to be concerned about? But these days your shopping habits, favorite color, identify details, and personal comments are up for grabs in a data free for all that sneaks under the radar of our awareness. Having every post on Facebook or elsewhere logged for its advertising potential and your IP address (cyberspace location) recorded and potentially sold or stolen isn’t good. I know companies want our information but it wears a bit thin. Which is to say, it’s not a happy aspect of the modern life.

Perhaps the best example of good practice can be found in Germany where they take people’s need for confidentiality seriously. Based on harsh experience, Germans know how important it is, and even if it’s not without flaws, we ought to take note. France, meanwhile, has shown that it tolerates media peeping toms taking pictures of people in their own backyard and splashing them across magazines “for the public interest”. Yet I suspect a lot of French people are dismayed by this lack of privacy because, actually, it’s not the French way.

Why is this relevant to happiness you might ask? Well, the extent we give each other the dignity of space reflects the good spirit of any society. When people feel safe to be themselves without feeling watched, it’s always easier to relax and live more naturally. To me, that’s a very civilized thing worth preserving. Besides, not all who pry have noble eyes. All the waivers (incidentally, always at your expense) to please take note that with each post your IP address is recorded, exploited, and potentially sold should be requests, not declarations. US citizens may have a Declaration of Rights, but unless good people stop to question what’s happening, the erosion of respectful privacy will keep on marching on.

Feegs
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