Thursday, October 03, 2013

Out of Control.....

I had an eye-opening experience yesterday. I was on the phone with PayPal customer support, in order to shut down an old, duplicate account which was opened years ago and subsequently forgotten. Long story short, it was keeping me from making certain changes to the current one.

Anyway, since I couldn't recall the password for such an old account, the assistant was going through a security verification process with me, in order to verify my identity. She explained that she would ask some questions of me, ones containing information that I would know if I were who I said I was. She added that it was all publicly available information.

There were a number of these questions, spanning several decades of my life. It was astounding - addresses I'd had in college, names of people I'd lived with, cars I'd driven, and so on. Obviously all this information about the details of my life (our lives) is readily accessible to whomever has the ability to access it. Namely, corporations and government.

The thing is, I know - have known for years - that this kind of data mining is rampant. But knowing something intellectually, and personally experiencing the enormous accumulation of data compiled on us are two different things. Especially considering that the small amount of data I was presented with is undoubtedly a tiny drop in a large bucket.

And now we're reading about just how much data about us and our phone calls is being stockpiled by the NSA. For no for legitimate reason whatsoever.

It is SO creepy to see how far down this road we've gone! Creepy, disturbing, and frustrating, because clearly we as citizens have no control over which groups can help themselves to literally every details of our lives. It may not bother the under-30 crowd, but it sure as hell bothers me. I remember such "quaint" concepts as privacy, the Bill of Rights, and other such notions.

What can we do about this? Is the genie out of the bottle, never to be forced back in? When did citizens lose control of their rights? And when did so many stop caring?

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