Net Neutrality

A recent ACLU video reminds us of that ‘watched’ feeling you get when a police car pulls up next to you, and asks “What if that was your reality 24X7?”  With the ease of capturing data, videos, phone and internet messages, surveillance of us shopping and traveling and going about the business of our lives, how do we know who and when someone will tap into that data?  And all of this information can now be stored … forever.  It never goes away.You say “Our leaders and officials will be diligent in not abusing this data.”  Will they?  Do you have any doubt, considering the two 2016 U.S. presidential contenders, that either of their staffs wouldn’t hesitate to dig for dirt if it would mean getting something over on their opponent (I love the way we use the words “win” and “opponent” for our presidential elections – more like a boxing match than a decision by the people as to who is going to serve them).  So if our current president would stoop to this level, how can we EVER be sure that information about us won’t be mis-used.There was a recent concern about cellphone companies turning over recorded phone conversations to the government.  I heard that, if someone was going through a divorce, and there was a record of a phone conversation that could shed light on the specific behavior of one partner, the court could subpoena that conversation and the cellphone company would have to make it available.  Is that what you want when you talk on the phone?And when I am on the internet, I’m increasingly aware that I’m not getting a cross-section of what’s out there.  I’m not getting what you are getting, what others are getting.  Because the search engines know what I search for and they are telling me what I want to hear (and not telling me what I don’t want to hear).  But is this good?  Think of kids on the internet (which is bad to begin with).  But, further, consider that each kid only gets fed information that is aligned with what he/she likes and is curious about.  So that child is not getting a balanced view of what is out there in the world, and they are NOT getting the same information as Susie or Billie next door.  If you carry this thought forward for several decades, we could be creating people who have completely different realities, completely different beliefs about what is out there, what life is – even completely different ideas about what’s the truth!I know this is the information age, but I think we’d better be careful.  We’re creating seemingly innocent practices that could have devastating long-term consequences.  In the meantime, I would like the programmers of my favorite search engine to add a button I can push, that will turn off all info and ads targeted at me, and just post regular old ads and info – the same stuff that everyone else sees.

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