I value my privacy. Because of this I do not subscribe to any of the internet’s social media, but that doesn’t protect me from prying eyes. Having served on many committees, chaired fundraisers, write this column and appeared at public events, my life no longer belongs to me alone. Interestingly, much of the information is skewed or false.
To illustrate this, let me tell you a story. Many years ago when the internet was still in its early public stages, Jason and I decided to look up my father’s name. We were told that Dr. Kavelle was 99 and living in Riverdale. Imagine my chagrin (and guilt) when I realized I hadn’t visited him in years…and that’s because I had his ashes in my closet for the last six of them!
I’m always shocked at how gullible people are and believe everything they read on the ‘net’. True, using computers can give us information at the touch of a finger or a quick verbal command. Doing research today is no harder than just ask Alexa. But the information is still being entered by human beings and very few of us are infallible.
I don’t want my name, address, and phone number available to just anyone and now, when you’re mentioned even once, that’s exactly what happens. It gives me no control over my own existence.
I have no ‘secret life’ I’m trying to hide. I just like the idea that it is MY life and when I wish to share things about myself, I’d like it to be me doing it.
I doubt that many 21st century people feel this way. They have grown up first playing games on a computer and then using it for study and information. They don’t remember privacy as we 20th century folk knew it. Everything about them is shared from photos of what they’re eating to their likes and dislikes. Medical information, correct and incorrect, is taken as gospel, as are political profiles. Instead of thinking for themselves many let their computers do it for them. They are held captive by their laptops, telephones, and watches which have become their mentors and perhaps even their mythological gods. All this helps them bask in ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ over and over and over.
My generation will eventually die out and with it the privacy we were able to retain. Perhaps this generation feels loved and wanted by their followers, enough so to keep sharing the most mundane things about themselves. Or perhaps this kind of sharing is fulfilling now but will eventually lose its fascination and they’ll settle down to looking at each other once again, and not at their hand-held devices.
I wonder if any of my readers feel infringed upon?! Even opening my email sometimes angers me because my privacy is being violated by unsolicited and unwanted trivia.
Email is the way to go these days. We reach someone quickly…a friend, an acquaintance, a business partner…we can’t very well get on without it, but what a waste of time it is to delete all those ads and would-be scams. Once again my privacy is being breeched and my time wasted instead of saved by the uninvited.
One more example before I close. A friend of mine was asked recently why her son had needed to appear before a judge on numerous occasions. They had looked him up on a website that gives partial information until you agree to pay for more. Her questioners were sure they had uncovered something damaging about the young man.
Although upset by the insinuation my friend couldn’t help but fall into gales of laughter. Her son was not a criminal but a police officer who, of course, appeared before a judge many times, doing his job as a witness for the prosecution!
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