We Need To Care

By The Onion Router (Tor) Project, Naval Research Laboratory, US Department of Defense, Washington DC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By The Onion Router (Tor) Project, Naval Research Laboratory, US Department of Defense, Washington DC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I recently got involved in an online thread, when I asked about how to leave the Amazon.com contest. It was an interesting conversation, but what kinda disturbed me was how the money was the big motivator in the decision to partake in such contests at the expense of rights. Then, I watched a 60 Minutes piece about data mining. See this link for privacy protection information. I’m not naïve about data mining, but I was definitely raising my eyebrow about the extent of data mining. How is any of that even remotely legal, what with all the protection-of-privacy decrees we have out there? With all our indignance over domestic spying? If we get all ruffled over our own government agencies directing their spying efforts on ourselves, how to do we even remotely allowed commercial spying on ourselves?

There is so much to go into, here, on this subject, but the point I want to narrow down to is that we need to care what we sign away for our rights, for our toys. I read all those pages of terms before I get any app…and have dumped some apps because I didn’t like the terms. But does this even really matter, given the indecent lengths to which commercial companies are mining all of our data and actively selling it to other companies? Data as personal as what diseases you have, your sexual orientation, whether or not you use drugs (and how much), and what web sites you visit, and for how long?

It is also not made any easier by companies increasingly doing more and more business online, asking extremely and increasingly more personal questions online that are becoming mandatory before you even use their online functions. Even now, we are losing large leaps of privacy in the name of ease-of-use and accessibility.

Many argue it’s an inevitability. We can’t win.

I’ve asked a handful of people about this kind of thing off and on over the past few years, and I’ve received a disturbing amount of “I don’t care.

Good Lord, that scares the crap out of me!

You do not care that your personal rights-to-privacy are quickly eroding, just so you can tweet you’re taking a shit at a Pink concert?

You just want to take the money and run, and not care how a novel your poured your heart and soul into will be treated forevermore in the future?

Have we become so shortsighted a race in the  name of the goddamned Internet? Instant gratification, where everyone’s a superstar on Twitter?

There is so much good about the advancement of technology and the creation of computers, but I guarantee you will regret it sometime in your future. You will. You will regret you did not take better control of what you let go in the frenzied grab of the next useless toy and app you installed on that toy, and it will be far too late.

But there are agencies out there fighting this uphill battle, and I applaud them. They realize the logical conclusion to all this insanity. Just because you can do something, does not mean you should. Just because you use the Internet does not mean others out there are granted the inherent right to snoop in on you. To market what they mine to others because it better suits them in their marketing (i.e., they can make more money off of you—the almighty friggin profit-driven society).

Again, there is so much to say on this topic, but I just want to bring it before you now, and implore you to pay attention to what you’re doing. Don’t give away your freedoms. Say NO. Encourage others to do the same. And it doesn’t matter what’s already out there. It’s never to late to stop, to say No, and attempt to put an end to this heinous use power.

We need to care.

10 Responses to “We Need To Care”


  1. 1 Wendy Brydge March 12, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Could NOT agree with you more about this. It’s insane how much information people blindly give out today on the internet. And the strange thing is, I’m willing to bet if some stranger knocked on their door and asked them these very same questions, they’d refuse to answer a great deal of them. But online? “Oh, you’d like to know the size of my bra? Here you go.” Although all you really need to do is check their Instagram page and you’ll see they’ve already told everyone that! : P

    And you’re right. It’s NEVER too late. You don’t have to give in and join with the crowd. This is just one example, but one I feel strongly about: I use cash to pay for everything (excluding any online purchases, which I try to keep to a minimum). I don’t even have a debit card, or any points cards, or store-specific credit cards. And everyone says, “You have to get with it!” They push their cards in the stores and so many people just give in. Well, guys, not me. Take your cards and shove them. I don’t need you storing my personal information when I could just hand you cash and you never need to know how much money is in my bank account.

    And internet, take your nosy questions and shove them too.

    • 2 fpdorchak March 13, 2014 at 3:27 am

      It’s getting to be quite the weird little world out there. Companies feel just because you use the Internet they have a right to your financial and personal DNA.

  2. 3 blackcatpratt March 12, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I struggle with this every day. I cannot tell you how much I think about shutting most of it down, but I fear there would be things I’d miss, people I’d miss, career opportunities I would miss (my only reason for LinkedIn), and even some things I enjoy (we don’t all share our bra sizes on Instagram, Wendy – and BTW, Pinterest can be a very revealing public forum as well)! So, I keep going – maybe I back off here and there, give myself a break. For example, while my blog page still exists (mainly because I’ve had the domain for years, and I want to keep it – I just don’t know what to do with it right now), I’ve come to the conclusion that blogging is not for me – I’ve seen a lot of information innocently dispersed via blogs – it’s too easy when people are trying to connect with their readers! I write enough EVERY DAY…

    Seems we are stuck in a rat race, trying to keep up with the latest and greatest – as the human race has always done. For now, I’ll keep my Twitter (if it weren’t for a few people on there, I’d be gone), Facebook (I hate to admit it, but it’s helpful to keep up with previous animal rescue colleagues…and extended family), Instagram, Pinterest (FOREVER! Yes, I’m addicted to that one), LinkedIn, website domain, credit cards, online purchases, and everything else. Will I regret some of it someday? Maybe…probably. :) But maybe not. I’ve tweaked how I use each of these platforms over time, I look at what others share, what others think is private but isn’t, and I just try to learn from their mistakes.

    And if I ever disappear from Twitter again (or any of the others), I’ll still receive blog post notifications via email, so I won’t miss a beat of “Runnin’ Off at the Mouth”!

    • 4 Wendy Brydge March 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Yes, I am well aware that not everyone uses Instagram to do that. I implied nothing to the contrary. It was an example to make a point. Speaking specifically about the kinds of people who share too much information. Said point being, they do it everywhere.

    • 5 Paul March 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      I, for one, have never shared my bra size anywhere. #JustSayin

    • 6 fpdorchak March 13, 2014 at 3:37 am

      Thanks, Mandy, it’s nice to know that “Runnin’ Off at the Mouth” has some fans! Thank you. :-] I also constantly evaluate the need for social media and—just the other day—was even contemplating, hmm, should I just leave it all behind? But there are pros to it, as well, like meeting all of you, out there, I’d never have met otherwise. And sometimes I do, also, take a little break. It’s not a parochial world anymore. And, yes, some of this stuff is fun…but we have to watch what we’re doing and we’re allowing. Hopefully we will be able to curtail some of this stuff…but (it’s bad enough to think, don’t want to actually put it into words…)….

      Like Wendy says, it’s great if you can live off of cash, but for many of us, that’s too impractical anymore. The “need” is that we should change the root issue of greed/power…not cause everyday people to perform workarounds to the evil that corporations do. What we allow…grows in power….

      • 7 karen Lin March 13, 2014 at 10:36 am

        I agree the rights grabs are concerning. And we can always say no to the business ($ grab) if we want to back out altogether. But privacy and rights… well I suppose we said a huge goodbye to those once the internet came about. If I read it right, Amazon (to pay 70%) for your books, gets to put your book in their library for others to check out without compensation to the writer. A writer once told me he thinks all intellectual property should be free-for-all to use. he’s a writer but he’s also a HS teacher so has his way to earn his money and retirement separate from his writing. How cavalier with others’ property!

      • 8 fpdorchak March 13, 2014 at 4:39 pm

        I don’t recall that [library] issue. If you use a certain ISBN then I know they’re marketed to libraries and academia versus retailers, but I don’t remember every little stitch of the contract anymore. In either case, it is what it is, I’m still *selling* books…and sometimes library readers want to own some of the books they’ve read. :-]

        Thing is, nothing’s perfect, and we all pick and choose our poison. We can all see have far trad publishing got me…now I’m trying Indie….

        As to the intellectual property comment, all I can say, is “*geeze!*”

  3. 9 karen Lin March 12, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Yep…it is all about the money (business is). I have another take on this based on what an agent (or two or three) told me about the Amazon contest (which I entered with two books, did well, and yet it netted me nothing. Why? They only allowed 5,000 entries and in the scheme of things being a finalist in such a small group doesn’t really say much about the writing. In te end it is the writing, not something about a contest nudge–I did it for the exposure (and because it was free), did get a Publishers Weekly review out of it which I do quote. But it will not sell either of those books. I think one reason they run the contest is to drive more writers (including those who are readers, critiquers, friends) to their site. A little cynical? Yes.

    • 10 fpdorchak March 13, 2014 at 3:44 am

      Wow, now there’s a conspiracy theory if there ever was one, Inky! But, really, sure, that’s got be what they’re doing! [Most] companies don’t do something, like issue contests, to be nice and help others out. They want something out of it, and, in this case, I’m sure it is to draw more consumers of their stuff. Make money off of good work. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, though. It’s just all the immoral rights grabs, IMHO. Publishers wouldn’t even be around if it weren’t for writers, yet that was all lost,oh, so long ago, once it was learned money could be made [at the expense of the writer]. Big money. I just wish we could all play nice with each other….


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