When Convenience Collides with Privacy

Recently, I heard a piece on NPR stating that PayPal is moving to the smart phone in order to create a wallet free option for consumers.  You would no longer need your wallet or purse – simply use your smart phone, which has a photo that identifies you and a PIN to confirm your transaction.

In the name of convenience we have rapidly dove deeper into the digital abyss; however, there is a price to be paid for ease and speed. That price doesn’t always equate to a reduction in our bank balance or debt accrued but rather a compromise for our privacy. The smart phone option allows businesses to track your shopping habits. They know when we entered the store, what we look at and if we leave without purchasing anything.

Of course being tracked is nothing new. We can be physically tracked literally everywhere we go using the chip inside our cell phone whether we make a call or not.  Our IP address allows us to be tracked throughout the virtual world of the Internet. Yes, that infinite land of servers known as the World Wide Web tracks our every move. All of those Facebook users who choose to view Social Cam and play games are being tracked and now Facebook even tells their friends what videos they have viewed.  So what about our privacy? Should we be paranoid?

George Orwell may have gotten it pretty darn close, but Big Brother is Big Business rather than the all seeing eye of government.  In fact we may be dependent upon the government to try and protect our privacy at some point in the future, but don’t hold your breath.  The Internet is, at the moment, ungovernable space that can be used to exploit individuals, businesses, and even nation states. In the future the only certain protection could be unplugging from the network, but that might require therapy.

Don’t get me wrong there are many wonderful things on the Internet. Some have argued that Wikipedia is the single best cure for poverty man has ever created.  Knowledge has migrated to places where school was a dream two decades ago. We can share, inspire, learn and develop via the Internet, but there must be opposites in all things.  Where there is good evil also lurks.  We must be careful what we share and where we go.  We are sure to keep our kids out of the bad parts of town so we must be just as vigilant to protect them from the bad servers scammers and virtual thieves.  Find the good, avoid the bad, and be careful what you share.

Happy surfing.

a morning view…

I like a room with a view; a breakfast nook with lots of windows and a table set for looking.  Not that I’m really looking for anything in particular, but right after I wake up, when the clock says it’s time to get started but my body says “you’re nuts” I like to stare outback and give things time to warm-up.

I’ve often sat, as I tried to shake the cobwebs of sleep, and thought what would be the ideal view. It’s an individual preference of course. Some folks like a view of the city from high up in their apartment, but a concrete jungle doesn’t appeal to me. Water is attractive to some. The river with morning fog or a lake with ducks clears the morning mind.

I like my mountains, perhaps a field or pasture. I like to watch the animals as they search for a morning morsel. I could sit for hours but life’s schedule never permits. We live a life of timekeeping, so much so that we identify retirement as freedom from a schedule – liberation.

Well, it’s 7:00 a.m., time to get a shower, some breakfast, and then baseball practice. I have a bike ride planned after that and then some chores I’ve long promised Lisa. It’s Saturday and I’ve a schedule to keep…..

June notebook…

June notebook…

Went to the ballpark tonight. It was our 20th trip in the first 21 days of the month. It’s our lives. We do it and love it, because they love doing it. I’m speaking of our kids and their love affair with sports of course. It’s an investment in the memories they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

The usual crew is there – other parents who volunteer to coach, umpire, run the concession stand, keep the books, run the scoreboard, and cheer their kids, your kids, our kids. There are very few places you can find a village trying to raise a kid today, but you can find it at the ballpark.

“Son, you’re better than that. Get in front of the ball. Pick your trash up. Tell your mom thank you for bringing you to practice. Tuck your shirt in,” are the words they hear, because they were the words we heard when we were kids and feel they are worth repeating, so we do.

It’s time for district tournaments and then State for those born in a year that was good for baseball. We’ve got a chance this year. The perfect storm could be brewing in Clarksville so we focus on the kids, because we love them. Go Big Blue!