Have you noticed that our privacy is eroding day by day?
The latest news is in regards to airport screening. If you’re a frequent traveler and wish to avoid the tedious security lines, you have to agree to be pre-screened. This means you agree to an invasive background check and freely provide all kinds of personal information. All this so that you can keep your shoes on your feet…Hey, I’m all in favor of safety and national security, but there are better ways to achieve it than eroding my amendment rights. I didn’t have to submit to special background checks OR remove my clothing and shoes OR get patted down when last in Israel and London, which are known for their strict security…
There’s also the passport issue. In the imminent future the U.S. government will require computer chips to be embedded in our passports to provide a great deal of information about us. Just like with airport screening, this was conceived to thwart terrorism but instead will be a perfect set-up for identity theft and other crimes.
And what about social media? First, Facebook rolled out their ridiculous timeline concept, which controls what’s on your page rather than YOU getting to control what is there. Not to mention what I recently read about the first airline to use social media in its new “Meet and Seat” Program. Passengers flying on KLM can select profile details they want to share from their Facebook or LinkedIn pages with fellow passengers. According to the KLM tutorial video, this new program is about more than finding an ideal seatmate. The airline is encouraging passengers “to connect” before the flight. Malaysia Airlines has introduced their MHBuddy program, which works similarly.
Many other airlines and travel vendors will soon follow. Some folks might think this is harmless (some may even think it’s a cool concept) but I don’t like the idea of total strangers knowing personal information about me that was intended for close friends and family. And think about this, what if a scammer uses this information to target you (because he realizes you’re the V-P of a certain company or that you’re financially well off even though you didn’t say so, the photos you posted of your new Cessna or your St. Lucia vacation pix are proof enough) or some mentally-disturbed person gets it in his head that you’re his soulmate and stalks you or someone doesn’t like something you’ve posted on your profile and decides to harm you as a result or…
Amazon is no better. I have a Kindle Fire and love it. But let’s face it, it’s pretty clever on Amazon’s part the way it works. You must have an Amazon account to use it. And once logged it, they are tracking your every consumer move. But who isn’t? A 2010 study conducted by Carnegie Mellon is summarized with this troubling statement by Professor Lorrie Faith Cranor, “My students and I discovered that Google, Facebook and thousands of others essentially have bogus privacy policies.”