“My privacy has been violated”, came the outcry from the American public. “The NSA is reading my emails!”
Get over it people. You have not had privacy during most of your lifetime. Tracking back to the beginning of credit – as early as the mid-1800s – we began sacrificing our privacy for purchasing power. By the mid-20th century, the plastic credit card entered our universe and we gave up ever more information. Credit cards have always tracked your purchases and targeted marketing accordingly. You’ve had a credit report since the moment you were issued a Social Security card which is currently when you are born.
The government has tracked your income, your every job and home location since the inception of taxes.
As we moved into the social media era, we take pride in “sharing” our information with the world. Some of you go to extremes with privacy settings but most people can be located in seconds on a search engine and much can be learned about you – of your own doing.
And then, we scream because the government might be reading your emails or listening to your phone calls. I find the irony of this whole outcry extremely humorous. While the government shouldn’t be “spying” on you, the bulk of most emails, texts and phone calls are so inane that I pity those who have to track them. Additionally, the data they are tracking is so voluminous that they have tracking software to help ferret out the most important trails of conversation.
Don’t get me wrong. I can only imagine my own “file” in the NSA or other government entities. As a Professor, I research everything from global topics to pornography. I assess the role of women in many countries to how they are treated in the entertainment industry. That should certainly garner someone’s attention.
In my professional life, I work with clients from all over the world. Our firm’s clients are located in multiple countries and even our North American based clients have offices and operations in numerous locations around the globe.
To top off all of that, my son has had some interesting countries for research projects the last couple of years – the currently volatile Mali and Yemen. That should have raised some eyebrows, particularly when he and I became obsessed with the sport of camel jumping…..
Surely, through all of this, the government has taken some interest in my patterns of behavior. But really, I don’t mind. I’m not doing anything wrong. If they want to watch what I’m doing, I hope it provides some form of entertainment to someone who thinks this person is “weird”.
The bottom line is that we have gradually and willingly given up our privacy over the years. People have been decrying “big brother” for decades. Unless you are doing something wrong, you really have nothing to worry about!