Saturday, May 2, 2015

Orwell and Irony

This month I received notifications from my financial institution, a utility provider and a consumer service where I have a loyalty card, informing me about my right to privacy. In an uncharacteristic move, I actually skimmed the documents and then attempted to change my preference to the most restrictive limits of sharing my information. 

I evidently don't have many legal rights in keeping my consumer habits confidential and those rights that I retain, require a multi-step process to initiate. 

We are receiving a higher than usual volume of calls. For your connivence, please call back on Wednesday or Thursday, excluding the first and fourth weeks in the month, from 3 am to 6 am. We value your time and your business . . . 

But we value the sale of your information more. 

This leads to an additional question. When I moved, about two years ago, I canceled by television service and pay only for wi-fi. No one the household has noticed the end of television services and I have no intention of returning. Both cable companies that service my area are hellbent in soliciting my business. 

Fortunately neither have my current cell phone number, though how long it will be before my cell provider sells them that information, I do not know. 

However, they do have my home address and in the pile of junk mail I receive (which is tossed in my recycle bin before it befouls my my counter space) there is at least one weekly notice of a very exciting offer that I would be foolish to ignore. Who, in their right mind, believes that this is an effective form of advertising and who in their right mind believes that a mailed flier is a personal and time-limited invitation to participate in a fantastic new product?  No one born after 1900. 

Foolishly, I did get entangled in a discussion with a cable provider in a makeshift kiosk at the entrance of my local grocery store which advertised wi-fi connection for half of the price I was paying now. The price was certainly one they could provide, with a two year contract and excluding the rental fee for the equipment and the service was the lowest speed available but for an additional charge the speed should be adequate to open email in one sitting. 

Please tell me that people going to the grocery store, my grocery store, in my neighborhood, are not that stupid. Please tell me they have the discerning capability to compare one presented price with the quadrupled final price and be aware that it is not the same price. 

Today there was a Facebook post warning against Google locations in smart phones keeping detailed records of movement and activity and here is where some Orwellian irony comes into play. Facebook is synonymous with lack of anonymity because it is, and follow this closely . . . 

Facebook! You know the repository of selfie posting and perpetual self disclosure.

More irony? I am blogging about my frustration over lack of privacy while voluntarily participating in social media and hoping to increase my readership by making my post more Google search engine friendly. 

At this point, I'm relying on Google to promote my activity, keep life convenient and entertaining while not exploiting my potential as a consumer and keeping NSA out of my business. 

Orwell's head would have just exploded. Actually, he probably would not have been surprised and I don't know which is more disturbing. 

Up for a final Orwellian irony? This is a photo of a CCTV camera outside of George Orwell's house . . . 

Except it isn't. It is a photoshopped image. 

My point? What took a team of highly motivated, informational specialists under Stalin is now accomplished by  a 10 year old with computer access. 

So, a quick recap? 

Digestible information, presented through a "reliable" source or not (Fox "News" I'm looking your way) is suspect. 

All information, digital or otherwise, is for sale . . .

with the exception of the NSA, which doesn't need currency because a governmental copy of all inappropriate photos sent by Jr High students are vital for our national security. 

However, the NSA is probably obsolete because the inappropriate photos sent by Jr High students are eventually posted on a public access forum.   

One more bit of irony? Police forces are pressuring politicians to make filming the police illegal. 

I think a nap in a location with no satellite reception is in order.

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