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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is not a political statement or anything pertaining to politics. But I was reading an article in the USA today (12/2/13) and ran across something that made me wonder about living overseas. here is a link to the article. Tech giants are countering government spying)

Now in this article Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, and other tec companies state that they supplied the federal government in America some information about their overseas customers under a court-monitored program called PRISM.

That made me feel rather uncomfortable about using the internet in the future. I have nothing to worry about but it just seems a little odd to me to have my information distributed because of a court-monitored program that I know nothing about.
 

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This is not a political statement or anything pertaining to politics. But I was reading an article in the USA today (12/2/13) and ran across something that made me wonder about living overseas. here is a link to the article. Tech giants are countering government spying)

Now in this article Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, and other tec companies state that they supplied the federal government in America some information about their overseas customers under a court-monitored program called PRISM.

That made me feel rather uncomfortable about using the internet in the future. I have nothing to worry about but it just seems a little odd to me to have my information distributed because of a court-monitored program that I know nothing about.
The capture and storage of our browsing activities, emails, credit/debit card transactions, and telephone metadata should be of concern to everyone in the world. Unfortunately, most are too concerned with their own lives to utter a peep of protest. It will, therefore, continue no matter how we feel about it. For the "big data" companies to now pose as guardians of privacy is just PR. They were aware of these programs from their inception.
 

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This is a good reason to never post on-line or e-mail anything that you would not wish to ever be made public someday. True anonymity and privacy do not exist in cyberspace, at least not as most of us use it, and I doubt even in that murky, netherworld I've heard referred to as the "deep Internet", where people doing nefarious nasty things try to hide. Like surfrider I have nothing to hide, but I feel that we are giving up our right to privacy much too easily and without thought of the implications.
 

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What the sci fi writers anticipated many long years ago has come to pass in a scale we can't imagine.
Once a thing can be done, it tends to be done regardless of our desire for privacy. Might as well post on a billboard outside of Langley.
You want privacy? Find a waterfall and whisper in the ear of your companion. There is none in cyberspace.
However, there is a nice little program you can get called "Do Not Track" which filters out most of the commercial data collectors. I think I've had several million attempts blocked since I put it on the laptop. Kind of satisfying to look at those numbers. That leaves me with a few nobody can get rid of.
 

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What the sci fi writers anticipated many long years ago has come to pass in a scale we can't imagine.
Everyone seems to deal with this reality in a different way. Most ignore it altogether, taking refuge in the belief that they have nothing to hide, so no amount of surveillance causes them unease. Many take great comfort in a belief that our leadership is such an enlightened leadership now that they would never use these sweeping powers against us. Some take comfort in the claim that these programs operate under the watchful eye of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the US government --- which in all of its manifestations makes the claim that these programs are absolutely necessary to protect the public from the existential threat of terrorism. Some are not phased by any of these arguments and see programs such as PRISM --- which as you suggest is merely a telling detail in the big picture --- as a true evil that must be stopped if any semblance of privacy or individual liberty is to be preserved.

I welcome discussion with anyone from any of these viewpoints, for they all make valid points that need to be addressed. What bothers me is that aside from the constant drumbeat from a few key people on each side of the issue there is no significant public discussion on this topic. It borders upon being a forbidden subject except among close friends or family. Yet it is not merely an erosion of privacy that we are ignoring. It is an acknowledgment that for people in the US and the Western World, privacy no longer exists, a fait accompli, by an elite group that operates in almost total secrecy.

I can entertain the idea that massive public surveillance is necessary or that it is not, but I cannot for a moment entertain the idea that it should be ignored by the public. The idea that anyone with the right authorization, whatever the safeguards, can pull up a screen almost identical to search results that lists your cell phone account, your bank account, your accounts with utility companies, your debit/credit card account, your social media accounts, your mortgage account, your drivers license information, your medical records, your car registrations, your emails, your posts on YouTube, your everything digital --- and drill down into detail screens for any one of those very private matters as easily as a web user clicks on an interesting link...that's a rather new development that will affect people in the world going forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Very well written and with good thought process behind the words. I agree that the matter of privacy into our personal information and beyond needs to be not only talked about but shouted out loud. We seem to have lost the very right to stand up for our thoughts and feelings without being criticized for doing so and that is a freedom lost I do not want to give up.. - somehow it is no longer politically correct to speak out. I am a child of the 60's and public demonstrations. I am a person that was born into a country that founded itself on freedoms of speech. I firmly believe that we should be able to open this up about privacy and personal information rights in a huge way without feeling like we are doing something politically incorrect.
I agree, I am not so offended by the ability or need to find information out about me as I am that I do not feel that I have freedom to talk about it - or the freedom to object. It seems to me that people are afraid to have other people know their feelings on this and I wonder (also worry) about the why of that.
 

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It seems to me that people are afraid to have other people know their feelings on this and I wonder (also worry) about the why of that.
My observation on the topic has been very different than yours. There has been considerable public discussion of the information gathering by the USA, in the USA. And there is a lot of similar discussion in the UK. I don't sense that people are reluctant to share their personal opinions. We can't force people to discuss something they don't want to discuss, however. And when it comes to someone finding out about our lives ... we are our own worst enemy beause of all of the information we freely provide to survey takers, credit bureaus, social media, etc. Largely, we're enablers. Willingly.

We might also want to discuss the extent to which Mexico has been spying on its citizens for decades, and how the various administrations may or may not have used the information they have to stomp on dissent ... for political reasons. Forced disappearances. Press censorship. Police-state tactics, in parts of the country. Etc. Does anyone here recall hearing their Mexican friends and neighbors in Mexico talking about the issue(s)?
 

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One reason people don't talk is FEAR. "They" might come for them. Remember the one about the Nazis that ends "....and then, they came for me"?

Things were already out of hand during the McCarthy hearings era: people were being terrorized by the "threat" of Communism; jobs were lost, friendships gone etc. At this point, we know what happened to "communism".

Now we have the "war on terror", which is, IMO, so wide reaching a term as to be meaningless. Yet, with it came war powers and once power is obtained, it is seldom released voluntarily.

I agree with the poster who mentioned that social media has given people the opportunity to release their data into the cloud, where one and all can check it out. Perhaps the very concept of "personal privacy" has morphed into acceptance of a monstrous reality show for general viewing.
Perhaps we have an upcoming generation so accustomed to this that they aren't afraid: they simply don't care.
"Privacy" may be as obsolete as the manual typewriter, mattering only to the old fossils. So, I'm a fossil, and I avoid the social media like a communicable disease. Furthermore, nobody has 300 "friends". You are lucky if you can count ten.

I think the eradication of privacy has gone beyond the point of no return. Cynically, perhaps, I don't think the trend will be reversed.
 

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I tend to agree with a couple of points other members have raised here, the first being that Europeans in general are not a bit shy about sounding off on privacy issues, perhaps because the abuse of state power is a much more recent memory for them. Unfortunately, I also tend to be a bit cynical in that these trends have "gone beyond the point of no return".

Regarding engaging in political opposition in Mexico, I'd rather hear from others versus putting in an opinion.
 

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We may be the only generation, the geriatric one, to have the urge to complain, since the UK and US are #20 and #21 in education and falling fast. Good education is available at some universities and Indians and Chinese make up large percentages of the students. Many US students need remedial reading to even be considered for a job. Critical thinking skills? Nah! So, they do not worry about privacy & think nothing of putting their unclothed lives on social media, or worse. It is sad and probably irreversible.
 

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We may be the only generation, the geriatric one, to have the urge to complain, since the UK and US are #20 and #21 in education and falling fast. Good education is available at some universities and Indians and Chinese make up large percentages of the students. Many US students need remedial reading to even be considered for a job. Critical thinking skills? Nah! So, they do not worry about privacy & think nothing of putting their unclothed lives on social media, or worse. It is sad and probably irreversible.
I am not so pessimistic about future generations. True, the US education system leaves a lot to be desired. But in spite of it, youngsters today are doing amazing things. And it is not just the few that have made a name and fortune for themselves with companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google etc. I wonder what the average age is for all the iPhone/iPad/Android apps out there. Closer to home for me, I know of lots of very competent, creative young scientists. And I meet lots of young people who come through Guadalajara to teach English for awhile. They mostly seem to be pretty competent people.

I don't like FaceBook, Music Videos, or Rap Music but I suspect my reaction is just the usual change in tastes between generations. My kids can't stand the music I like either. There seems to be less of a gap between my son and my grandson for some reason.
 

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On the other hand, Socrates wrote a screed on the theme that the younger generation was going downhill to Hades fast, and a long time later, they still are. Somehow, the race survives.

What's happening is a general shift in society's priorities. Being connected is apparently tops.
Otherwise, the world around us wouldn't be filled with people tweeting, cell phoning, bent over the keyboards of various devices and involved in conversations in restaurants with people who aren't at the table. Sometimes several at the same table doing it simultaneously. The world just ain't the same as it used to be.
This could be bad, or it could be a civilization advancement of a sort. Matter of opinion. As an admitted fossil, I look back nostalgically on a world where communication was something that happened while you were face to face with another human being, not a keyboard. Yes, we did have telephones, but that was about it.

"Gone where the woodbine twineth". lol.

I guess we will just get used to it, since our children and grandchildren already have.
 

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Yes, we did have telephones, but that was about it.…
When the telephone was invented a common reaction was "What would I want one of those for. If I want to talk to someone, I can just walk over to their house and talk to them."

I imagine the next step will be devices that tap directly into electrical impulses in our brains. Our great grandchildren will be communicating directly with their thoughts. And our grandchildren will be bemoaning the loss of the old days when you had to Tweet or post on Facebook.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Social networking systems such as facebook etc, tend to allow a person to feel as if they have a large base of friends. From that base they exchange thoughts and ideas. They form groups and because of their frequent interaction over time they begin to think alike. That of course reduces the diversity of independent thought and leads towards following the group thinking. But the people in the group or friendships in the group lead to a false perception of togetherness. After the person is typing and done with the computer there is a feeling of loneliness. If your not on the computer - you therefor are left to your own independent thought and the more frequently the person is on the "group thought network" the less independent thoughts they are able to have. Hence the feeling of loneliness grows and pushes the person for the need of the network "togetherness". To feel that their "friendship" is a close one they disclose information about themselves openly. That information is now available to whom ever wants it. I personally feel that this is a very serious thing for our society and for the individual. Not only the information usage by anyone and everyone out there in cyber space but for the loss of original and individual thought processes.
 

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When the telephone was invented a common reaction was "What would I want one of those for. If I want to talk to someone, I can just walk over to their house and talk to them."

I imagine the next step will be devices that tap directly into electrical impulses in our brains. Our great grandchildren will be communicating directly with their thoughts. And our grandchildren will be bemoaning the loss of the old days when you had to Tweet or post on Facebook.
So the mass surveillance that the OP is concerned about is just progress like the advent of the telephone? I doubt if that's what you are implying with this post, so I'm just asking for clarification.
 

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Social networking systems such as facebook etc, tend to allow a person to feel as if they have a large base of friends. From that base they exchange thoughts and ideas. They form groups and because of their frequent interaction over time they begin to think alike. That of course reduces the diversity of independent thought and leads towards following the group thinking. But the people in the group or friendships in the group lead to a false perception of togetherness. After the person is typing and done with the computer there is a feeling of loneliness. If your not on the computer - you therefor are left to your own independent thought and the more frequently the person is on the "group thought network" the less independent thoughts they are able to have. Hence the feeling of loneliness grows and pushes the person for the need of the network "togetherness". To feel that their "friendship" is a close one they disclose information about themselves openly. That information is now available to whom ever wants it. I personally feel that this is a very serious thing for our society and for the individual. Not only the information usage by anyone and everyone out there in cyber space but for the loss of original and individual thought processes.
Along the lines of what you are saying, someone described the social media craze as an age of "false celebrity". I can't remember who said that but it seems apt to me.
 

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El Paso, you are right on target. I know some people who are lost unless they are online with their "friends".
If you want to get really paranoid, you can posit that this phenomenon is actively supported by the various governments. It is the "soma" described by the science fiction writer. If there is no independent thinking, there will never be effective opposition to dictatorship.

Okay, they can come and get me now. LOL.
 

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Reading some of the comments regarding social media and how it's used, and not meaning to offend anyone: I think some of the people commenting live sheltered lives in which they're either shut-ins, imobile retirees or social introverts. In Mexico, for persons who don't communicate well in Spanish or who avoid contact with Mexicans ... I understand the isolation and lack of opportunity to discuss current events. For people living in Canada and/or the USA who claim there's so little discussion of issues ... my suggestion is that you shut-off your computers and go out and meet people. Honestly, some of the comments strike me as fictional ... disconnected with the world I observe and live in. And that goes for being in Mexico or the USA. I see, hear and interact with people in both countries, oh and Canada too!, discussions of all sorts of issues of the day. Regarding Facebook, a website to which I do not belong nor have I posted to or seen more than a couple of times since its inception ... there are very good and accurate statistics published about the 1.1 billion monthly participants there and I think some of you will be surprised when you see that information. Search for it, it's online. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Reading some of the comments regarding social media and how it's used, and not meaning to offend anyone: I think some of the people commenting live sheltered lives in which they're either shut-ins, imobile retirees or social introverts. In Mexico, for persons who don't communicate well in Spanish or who avoid contact with Mexicans ... I understand the isolation and lack of opportunity to discuss current events. For people living in Canada and/or the USA who claim there's so little discussion of issues ... my suggestion is that you shut-off your computers and go out and meet people. Honestly, some of the comments strike me as fictional ... disconnected with the world I observe and live in. And that goes for being in Mexico or the USA. I see, hear and interact with people in both countries, oh and Canada too!, discussions of all sorts of issues of the day. Regarding Facebook, a website to which I do not belong nor have I posted to or seen more than a couple of times since its inception ... there are very good and accurate statistics published about the 1.1 billion monthly participants there and I think some of you will be surprised when you see that information. Search for it, it's online. Thanks.
I can only speak for myself, but daily I have a job that I sell and I talk with people every single day of my life. I have been in the selling and management end of business (dealing with people daily), ran a non-profit corp. that dealt with gathering information and supplying that information to people. I have programmed and worked with computers since I was 14 years old. That was back in the IBM days. You could not say that I have lead a life without being in touch with the reality of the society that is around me. (Mexico or America or Canada) I am an extrovert, I am not isolated or any of the above that you describe. (I am not indicating that you are or have directed your statement to or about me - just saying).

Pertaining to facebook - I am on it and stay in contact with people that I went from grammar school through college with. I went into the back door of facebook and got all the information that they have on me - I was amazed and not too pleased. Not only are my personal pictures, my personal messages to anyone that are not on my time line or for public viewing - my billing information - my home information - where my computer is being used - the location of it - my everything - is open for not only viewing but for sale......How do you think that facebook makes money?

Actually I found out that there are four different ip tracking stations in the world and they track you computer ip address to see what you are doing and where you are doing it from. I found someone had put a track on me and I pinged that tack back to where it came from. I called them on the phone. Found out that my name had a trademark on it and was owned by some company in China. I found that company and then I turned all of the information over to the FBI and homelands security. They did nothing but tear my information system apart.
They tore into my computer (at the same time that the company from China was hacking into my computer) and between the two of these organizations my computer was dead. I rebuilt it and then I used the China companies computer ip to jam their system (yes against the law) and then I had no more problems. No that may sound all "George Orwell's 1984 ish to you strike you as fictional ... disconnected with the world but please let me guarantee you that I am anything but naive about this stuff.

I am not offended at all by your comments but write this to you only as a suggestion that perhaps you are not connected with what the computer networking system really is all about. Discussion about yes I am on facebook is not the same thing as what is facebook or google etc. doing with my information discussion. just saying.
 
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