Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trust Me

Okay, raise your hand if you trust the government or corporate America.

Seriously, we joke about the corruption of our political leaders & "captains of industry", but do we really feel that way? Are they really not to be trusted, or are we just kidding around? Realizing the kinds of private information that are being asked of us, we might want to give it a little more thought.

Not all of these stories are about the U.S., but hey, let's not be isolationists. It is a New Global Order after all. I'll let them do the talking today:

Genetic mapping of babies by 2019 will transform preventive medicine
Every baby born a decade from now will have its genetic code mapped at birth, the head of the world's leading genome sequencing company has predicted.

Personal genome sequencing, however, will raise legitimate concerns about privacy, “Bad things can be done with the genome. It could predict something about someone — and you could potentially hand information to their employer or their insurance company,” said Dr Flatley. “Legislation has to be passed.”

Complete genetic privacy, however, was unlikely to be possible, he added. “People have to recognise that this horse is out of the barn, and that your genome probably can't be protected, because everywhere you go you leave your genome behind.”

Mexico 'to fingerprint all mobile phone users'
Under a new law published on Monday and due to be in force in April, mobile phone companies will have a year to build up a database of their clients, complete with fingerprints. The idea would be to match calls and messages to the phones' owners.

The register, detailed in the government's official gazette, means new subscribers will now be fingerprinted when they buy a handset or phone contract.

Sure, the Googlebots know your deepest secrets - but it's worth it
I use Googlemail for my e-mail. As is the case for millions of others, it is the hub of my online existence.

I have just sent myself an e-mail saying that I wanted to buy a new bed. Within four minutes this link appeared in the small ad box at the top of my inbox: Tempur-Pedic Mattress Sale: Get Free Delivery, Free Pillows, No Tax & Much More.

What has happened is that Google has digitally "crawled" my inbox, noted that I was writing about beds, and sent me a targeted advert. To some this is very scary. Google knows what I am writing about all the time. In theory, it knows that I have just been to the doctor for a check-up.

I have made peace with myself over Google's "invasion of my privacy" because of the service it provides.

Google is watching
'THERE was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment . . . It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time."

That quote from George Orwell's "1984" becomes increasingly prescient in light of developments in eavesdropping, pioneered by Google. Recently the company launched a service called Latitude, which allows consenting users to monitor each other's whereabouts. It's the company's latest snooping tool, the most controversial being the Street Views photographic mapping service.

When I tried Street Views by entering my address, I was surprised to see that with a single click a truly Orwellian image popped onto the screen: my house, my car, the newspaper in the driveway. I could zoom in for a clear view of the open window on the second floor and the handy drain pipe that potential burglars might use to reach that window when no one was home.

Existing law makes distinctions between public property and private property; between public figures and private individuals. Yet in the Google Universe, these boundaries become fuzzy.

"Fuzzy boundaries". Nice. I have to believe that you can do just about anything when you have fuzzy boundaries. And if something can be done, history has shown that it probably will be.

Good thing we trust these people.


Homehearts said...

Doesn't it just make you want to shake your head in disbelief? I read of these things and I keep wondering what is happening to this world.

Something I took note of today which had real echos of a theme in your book "What So Proudly We Hailed"....The stimulus bill has a provision written into it to establish a government database for all our private medical information. This portion of the "stimulus plan" is credited to Tom Daschle who made a comment that in essence said doctors need to quit trying to act as "loners" and get with some sort of system. I think that means he wants the doctors to practice the medicine that the government deems appropriate. How do you read it?

Apparently our privacy rights regarding our health care and our mental health care never did actually exist because this is not even being debated and people are just not as furious as they should be about it. This provision will also start controlling the care doctors can give. Because people have been so apathetic and unwilling to get loud or to stand up against things such as this, we allowed the government the grandiose idea that is has a right to control our health care. Now our rights to privacy in our medical care and a chance to prevent government controlled health care was just handed over on a platter.

I think this bail out really is just our government bailing out on responsibility to the citizens and making a money grab for their own "want list" of government projects. I am just SICK about it, but I think I'll forego health care at this point ;)

This country is in BIG trouble.

K. Dixon

Blaine Staat said...

Dear K., I think you are absolutely correct regarding your question about "what the government deems appropriate", but since government is so heavily swayed by corporate lobbyists, it is just as much about "what the medical industry (pharma, insurance, etc.) deems appropriate".

One of my frustrations is that when people talk about "health care", they are actually talking about "health insurance" and treating them as if they are the same thing. They are not. "Health care" is about me & you and what is best for us. "Health insurance" is about making money and what is best for corporate profits.

The bottom line is that our entire health care system has become an industry based on profits, not health. You can't serve two masters; we're simply living with the consequences of the one we've chosen.

My opinion anyway.

Homehearts said...

Well said.

And to repeat what you said in closing the above blog comment ~ "Good thing we trust these people."

I say that with tongue in cheek so far I might dislocate my jaw.

Kimber Dixon