The press are pouncing on it, but what I find interesting is that this “scandal” really is mild in comparison to the everyday privacy invasions and data manipulations that have been going on for decades that are as bad, if not worse.
There has always been insurance companies checking up on your houses and inspecting without letting their clients know of the secret visits (once I had actually saw the act myself). I remember when I had put my house for sale, I got a peculiar letter from my insurance agent threatening to cut off my insurance because they said they had “proof” I wasn’t living there, which was patently untrue.
When I called, the proof was the real estate pictures online — the agent determined the rooms looked “too empty” and I had to explain I removed furniture because I wanted more accurate photos of the rooms’ size, which was true (and it did its trick). My insurance wasn’t cancelled — but there was the company, googling my house, specifically looking for anything to penalize me.
If they are looking on MLS, they are also looking at your Facebook feeds — and there is nothing to say they are not buying data from companies to gain more intelligence about their customers, who have no idea about it.
When I lived on a busy Main Street, my front of the house was a solarium and I could see the comings and goings on my neighbourhood that had both commercial and residential buildings — and every single day, there were people with cameras and clipboards from various levels of government, taking pictures and writing forms. Some would come to a specific house or building, and other times, they were scoping one house or building at a time. One level of government had pictures of my house in their files, even though it was hard for them to justify the intrusion or having that picture at all — and for the record, I am not implying my house was the only one on file.
I also had one government worker come to my house for a nonsensical and petty reason, quite smug that “they knew” something (mistaken identity), but the his taunting question, “Do you know how we know?” showed a clear abuse of power — and Stasi-like snooping.
It meant the taxpayer money was being wasted on something that wasn’t important — and the intimidation tactic didn’t scare me as I worked as a journalist and saw all sorts of privacy invasion in my line of work.
Big Brother has no life.
And also no sense or morals.
The Ontario Liberal’s government public bribe of wasting over two billion dollars in mental health is an interesting promise, but remember, many people who sought psychological or psychiatric counselling were later denied entry into the US because their records were made public to a foreign regime. People who had dealings with police — or whose name was brought to their attention, only to be dismissed, have had jobs rescinded and other serious problems because those records were shared with people who had no business knowing something that neither ended up with an arrest or a conviction.
And I am just talking about Canada, but the US has also had its share of snooping on citizens with that information being exploited and misused later on.
I once had a letter from a book publisher from the US come to me — the letter was opened complete with a sticker letting me know the government had seized the letter to read it — a peculiar invasion considering there was nothing in the letter that would justify looking inside. I do not have a criminal record. I am not a terrorist. I am a peaceful woman who looks after my family, and yet the government had no trouble going through my mail. There was absolutely no justification for it. It was just a fishing expedition, and I am certain a very disappointing one for whoever got their jollies looking at a standard correspondence between a published book author and a publisher.
The brouhaha over Facebook’s latest blunder is a self-serving one for journalists — and government — both groups which make it a habit to invade privacy as part of their jobs. They want that power, and they are losing to social media because neither Establishment institution bothered to keep up with the times.
The truth is that our privacy is being constantly invaded — from CCTV cameras to racial profiling. It is a way to frighten and control the middle class and the poor who are already pacifist by nature.
However, this doesn’t stop the criminal element nor organized crime — they pay off the right government workers — and police officers as they openly flout the rules. Laws do not apply to them quite literally.
And it is fascinating how many mass murderers and serial killers post their manifestos and threats online…and funny how governments never seem to see those.
Nor insurance companies. No one. You can kill a dozen people, but stage your loft to show off its size, and you get a threat from the people who you pay to protect your home and belongings. We have pedophiles doing all of their business online and getting away with it, but our finite resources are wasted on intimidating elderly people because they put a bag of cat dung in the garbage bin at the dog park instead of dog dung.
Hamilton had a destructive riot on Locke Street, and yet no city official or police officer knew when it was going down or how. They let it happen and then the vandals all went home.
Misuse of private data is a serious problem, but it didn’t begin with social media. It began much longer than their creation.
But no one is making much of a fuss of the practice. We have vested interests shaming Facebook, hoping that their squawking will serve as a deflection so no one notices their sins are far worse in the comparison.
No, we see it.
It’s hard to miss when you leave your calling card on my LinkedIn page to try to rattle someone who doesn’t rattle…