Being encryptic

I saw the article below in the NYT Thursday.  It talks about the NSA having backdoors into all our online media and having broken into or received permission to penetrate virtually every major databank that holds all our information, including banking and medical data.

And, as I was closing out this topic, look what just arrived in my inbox from the Washington Post, late Friday:

This is not something I typically care about because frankly, we have all been giving away our personal information for years.  In fact, all someone has to do is forward any email we send and our privacy is lost forever.  Last month a client wrote to me and told me that she had inadvertently cc’d me on a patient’s email and that the patient’s account had been hacked, so, “…sorry, you are probably going to be hacked too, and oh, by the way, I am going on vacation for a month”.  Great.

How about the people who work in banks and doctors’ offices, pharmacies, any store where we have opened accounts – it must be easy to access and cross-reference that data.  How about Amazon? I buy hundreds of things from them every year.  If someone wanted to, they could create a clear profile of me, right down to the minutiae.

And of course, we have a great deal of data on social media, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Geni, Ancestry, our blogs and websites.  Is there anything left that people don’t know about us?

I gave up.  My info is all right out there.  The only thing I do is try to create a wall of privacy between the public and those associated with me who I don’t feel I have the right to expose, especially work-related.

Of course, I would not want my words taken out of context, cut and pasted to make me sound demonic or absurd.  But, I own my unique personality with all its shortcomings.  What was it Bror said in Out of Africa?  “Fire away, I have surely done it”.


The public has my permission to take apart my writing as long as they quote me accurately and play fair.  I stand by my ideas and beliefs (until I change them) – I am not about to back away or deny what I have said or done just because someone might not like it or could misinterpret it.  Obviously ad personem animus (how’s that for my limited Latin?) isn’t cool and I try to scrupulously avoid doing anything that might hurt anyone, especially their sense of self and security.

For whatever reason, I have had pretty positive feedback all my life.  Not that I have always done the right thing or been brilliant, but more that people seem to get that I am a sincere and well-meaning person and that once in a while an idea escapes from my brain that isn’t completely addled.  I cannot think of anything I have ever said that the NSA would find intriguing.

Funny how coincidences go.  I finally switched from my old insurance company to a new one.  I have had the same company all my life but their crummy policies and rocketing fees finally got to me.  I did a little study comparing companies and picked the best one.  So today, I told a neighbor of mine, a physician who works with my new insurance company, that I made the change.  Two minutes later I realized she can now access all my medical records (not that she would, just sayin’…).  Then I had the further recognition that there is nothing there.  But the very fact that it concerned me at all made me think that maybe I am not completely on board with having everything about me be public knowledge.  If everyone had each other’s best interest at heart, we wouldn’t have to worry.  So the fact that we do, shows we don’t trust each other.

Yet, I am sure there are others who do not agree with me and feel this is a gross intrusion on our fourth amendment rights.  My biggest worry if the NSA were to literally breach my perimeters, LOL, is that they would not understand me and the things I do.  For example, if they were to come to our  house, they would see that we deliberately leave spider webs under the eaves in particular spots.  Ah!  Why is that, you no doubt are dying to know.  Why …, to catch moths and prevent them from destroying any more of my beautiful wool clothing that I collect so carefully. Those are the things that I would feel compelled to justify.

My heterodox ramblings? Nah.  Given what I hear and see these days, I am in good company.

As far as all the privacy protections that are in place that most good citizens respect and those with nefarious purposes can always find a way to defeat, that is probably true about all and any norms, proscriptions, laws, rules and practices.  We have stop signs to make driving safe and predictable.  If you run the stop sign, you break the law as well as risk harm.  But there is nothing preventing you from ignoring that stop sign either.  It is just good that most of us don’t.

should we be worried

And that is all we can expect when we share information and trust entities to guard it, whether they be services we use, people we consider friends and family, corporations with which we are associated or our government. There is just no place to hide, nor should we worry about or want to, either.

Images: Wikimedia Commons


7 Comments on “Being encryptic”

  1. I’m with you on this one. I realize it’s not the popular stance to take, but I’ve never assumed any of my information was private anyway. And, I remember having a credit card number stolen from a restaurant when I gave a waiter my card way back in the days before the internet anyway – he used it to phone in some orders to Toys R Us and get things shipped to him, so hey, i was hacked before hacking even existed. Which I guess goes to say that it’s not like before the internet this stuff wasn’t possible, and happening. I sometimes think I should be outraged, but I can’t work up to much past general concern.


  2. That is exactly what I mean. I have to tell my Grand Aunt about that. She refuses to use a computer we all got her because she somehow thinks the minute she gets on the internet her identity will be stolen. We have told her that it could happen anywhere and she just doesn’t get it. (Meanwhile, it is such a pain because I have to send her printed photos instead of videos and emailed pictures, etc.). They could fish stuff out of the garbage or right out of our mailboxes which are on the curb. Nothing is inviolate any more.


  3. I run hot and cold on the privacy issue. One of the problems with the internet, IMHO, is the ability to be “faceless” – I think it increases mean and thoughtless comments when folks don’t have to identify themselves.

    Still, while I stand by my opinions “until I change them anyway,” I don’t like the idea that my preferences and hops around the ‘net are being tracked to the extent that even internet marketers seem to know WAAY too much about me. It’s creepy – as well as annoying!

    I think what keeps me [relatively] cool about so-called “government spying” is that there is SO much information available online that, even if they could develop a database to track it all, how would they ever have the available personnel hours to follow up to DO much of anything with it?

    And, as you & mareymercy said, it’s not like it wasn’t going on before the age of the internet. Hide in plain sight?

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”


    • I do think we are all hiding in plain sight. And you are right, people of all kinds have been gathering information about all of us for years and years. Medical, retail transactions, voting habits, where we live, what phone services we use. I am sure if they cared to there would be a thick dossier on Jane and John Doe.

      But I figure, I am so ordinary and do such tame things, they would be bored looking at me before too long, LOL!

      Thank you as always Madelyn for your thoughtful and helpful comments!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I put my faith in “visible” – who KNOWS what the idiots attempting to take over our country would consider “ordinary and tame” and what they’d think was subversive and counter to their capitalist agenda.

        It seems logical to me that – for now, at least – they don’t dare get caught making trouble for Jane Q. Public, “patriot” act notwithstanding. So folks either fly quietly under the radar and sheeple along, or we “dissenters” remain visible on their screen and anyone else’s for our free-speech safety.

        It’s far too late for me to hide away, so I’m opting for what’s behind door #2 (as I wonder if I’ll know when it’s finally time to seriously consider becoming an expat.)

        Scary times, these – but I suppose any system with a history of assassinating its leaders has never exactly been “safe.”


        • I have been so outspoken that I am sure they already have me on some list. I don’t care. I have to stand up for what I believe in. I was blissfully distracted with work and family and other issues until W came along. I had studied him and Gore and it was clear to me that the Neocons were going to take Iraq for its resources, and Afghanistan as well. I knew that war was coming and the minute 9/11 occurred my husband and I said, uh-oh, that Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld triumvirate now have their excuse. What were the Dems thinking to fall for that nonsense? I wrote openly about it then and from that day to this I have moved farther and farther toward Bernie Sanders!! xx

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sanders makes A LOT of sense to me (at least his soundbites & web vids do) – no TV, so I miss a lot — and nobody can rely on FaceBook posts for anything resembling news or accuracy of reporting.

            I could see clearly through to the set up of the the resource wars as well — early on:
            * the “war on drugs” set up the profile search (effectively throwing habeas corpus a right hook)
            * which led us down the path to a swift acceptance of the (primarily unread before passage) “patriot” act — which delivered the knock-out punch —
            just as long as some event “came along” to prime the “fear of terrorists” pump.

            * 9/11? Bottom!

            I actually started worrying in earnest in 2000, as the Florida debacle played out while the Bush faction “elected” itself and Gore went along quietly “to avoid divisiveness,” so the story goes – a concept with which the Republican party has not concerned itself in. the. slightest (to the everlasting shame of every politician who goes along with it or allows it, IMHO.)

            I cannot BELIEVE we still had the Electoral College system in place after the Florida travesty. When I first learned about the system (in elementary school), even then I argued against it as patronizing and incongruent with the values of a supposed democracy.

            The response? “You’ll understand it when you’re older.”

            WELL, I’m gettin’ pretty old now, and I still don’t understand anything beyond the idea that politicians think we’re too stupid to be allowed votes that really count and that they are addicted to power.

            Anyhoo, in 2000 I predicted that something tragic was in the planning stages as an excuse for war to “balance the economy” when Junior was “elected” – sounding like a conspiracy theorist looney, I suppose.

            It simply MADE NO SENSE for Gore to walk away quietly after the Florida nonsense (especially in Jeb’s state!) — unless The Bush Machine intimated that “some unavoidable storm was coming” that Gore would never have the infrastructure to handle.

            We’ll never know who knew what about much of anything – or WHEN they knew, I’m fairly certain. At least not in MY lifetime.

            Bush Sr. has always ridden roughshod — Texas cowboy style. I’ve always believed that Jr. was merely Daddy in disguise – a way around term limits. I sure hope the American Public doesn’t fall for Jeb. But then “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” ~ H. L. Mencken.

            Get out the robes and sashes – if we’re going to preach to each other’s choirs, they might as well be dressed for it.
            xx, mgh


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