Video Tuesdays: Plurality & Fearing Big Brother

2013-07-09 plurality
I’m a fan of ubiquitous technology and frictionless networking. I’ve seen the benefits of the connected lifestyle since the days of pagers and 30-pound “transportable” word processors in the mid-1980s. When ATM cards were a new thing I saw the convenience while some friends feared the Mark of the Beast. I guess I always saw the benefit and downplayed the possible abuse. So, at what point should I become concerned that the “targeted marketing” used by trusted companies like Google can too easily become tracking and surveillance?

Hell, I remember showing one of my brother-in-laws the little blue dot on my iPhone map that showed where we were as we were driving and that was enough for him to be convinced of the evil of these technological thingies. Seriously? I’ve understood for years that there’s no real privacy with unencrypted email, that it’s always been like sending digital postcards where your ISP and anyone working on the infrastructure of the network could take a peak. But who would want to? In a previous life, when working for the phone company, I remember having to “listen in” on conversations to confirm that the piece of equipment we were taking offline didn’t have any “active traffic.” Let’s just say that I quickly learned that other people’s conversations are really boring… or sad. Really, except those who really know you, no one cares to listen in. And from my brief experience of listening in, I’m convince that some of them were silently thinking along with me, “please say ‘Good Bye’ and hang up.”

I don’t know at what point it becomes too much. I wouldn’t have my current teaching job if it wasn’t for the Internet and ubiquitous cheap technology. Well, I could still be teaching face-to-face (even though technology has always been a part of my classroom for 18-years). Then there’s the technology that went into my treatment that has enabled me to go from not being able to drive or go up and down stairs or walk without leaning on a walker to being able to do all those things in a little over six-months. And had I not gotten treatment I was well on the way to losing complete use of my legs and showed signs that my hands were next to become effected. And had I had my old face-to-face teaching job when this happened, I would have been done and out of a job. So I recognize that it’s a complicated balancing act between the benefits, in my case very real, and possible abuses by corporations and three-letter governmental agencies. All of this goes a very long way to say that today’s video speaks to that concern…

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