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Privacy Is Dead July 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People.

2014-05-05 11-54-51_0043Privacy is Dead.

Government agencies monitor and record communications relayed via Skype, cell phone, e-mail, and text.

Facebook minions eavesdrop on our “private” messages.

Hackers hack into our cyber accounts.

What can we do?  Stop texting?  Stop calling?  Abandon the world wide web?

In these digital days, our secrets are not safe in cyber space.

Once shared, they’re out there.

If you need to have a heart-to-heart with someone, you might want to do it the old-fashioned way.


Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Writing Fiction meets NSA Surveillance (Eric J. Baker)

Do you monitor your words in cyber space?  Do you wonder who’s listening?

“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” ~ Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)



1. Silver in the Barn - July 2, 2014

Monitor my words? For sure. Wonder who’s listening? Not so much. I am so expectant of a benign universe – however unrealistic that might be – that I don’t worry about it. I’m not sure how my blog would be different if I did worry about it, now that I think about it. Interesting.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

I don’t worry much about the WHO but I assume that someone out there is listening to everything we say in cyber space or via e-mail or cell phone or Skype or Facebook or Twitter.

The whole world’s a stage . . . and we are merely players.

Behind the Story - July 2, 2014

I like your phrase: “expectant of a benign universe.” I tend to feel that way too.

Silver in the Barn - July 2, 2014

Thank you. Not that it always turns out that way, but….I find it a good way to get through the day.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

I think you’ve both got the right idea. Assume the best of people, places, and things.

2. Jill Weatherholt - July 2, 2014

I agree, Nancy! I’m afraid many young people today don’t have the skills to have a conversation face to face…very sad.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

It’s funny and sad. Especially when family members send texts to other members of the same family who are hanging out just one room away. Under the same roof.

Jill Weatherholt - July 2, 2014

I’m not a texter, but that is just wrong.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

That image (in Wall-E) of obese people sitting on portable pods in front of screens all day is not far fetched or far off.

They relied on technology. As a result, they turned into giant “amoebas” with no backbones or muscle mass to get them from Point A to Point B.

If we could flash forward 100+ years . . . what would we see?

3. NancyTex - July 2, 2014

A little off topic but…as communication goes, I will take face to face and written over phone any day. For some reason I don’t fully understand, I hate talking on the phone. Weird, right?

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

I don’t mind talking on the phone if someone else initiates the call so I know it’s a good time for them to talk. I tend to send e-mails (or letters!) that people can respond to at their convenience.

We can call anywhere in the US for free all day, any day. But our phone sits idle most of the time. We make fewer than a dozen calls most months. Our cell phone is the same. It’s there if I need it for “emergencies.”

I’m OK if people call me, but it’s not my preferred mode. And it has nothing to do with paranoia over Big Brother listening in.

Or does it? 😯

NancyTex - July 2, 2014

Same here, NH. And I don’t think it has anything to do with BB listening in (they read my emails and texts anyway!). 🙂

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

Exactly. It’s an extension of Miranda Warnings ~ “You have the right to remain silent . . . anything you say can and will be used against you.”

4. suzicate - July 2, 2014

…and when in public there is always the chance someone is taking your photo are you’re in the background of a video.
It drives me crazy that I can search something and then bam it’s ads for it all over my FB page…creeps me out especially since a lot of things I research for writing, not things I’m interested in for purchase.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

Yes! That is CREEPY. I look at something for sale (e.g., wind up radio for storms) and all of a sudden that item is plastered on the sidebar of my FB page, my e-mail server, in promotions from Amazon, etc. ACK!!!

Behind the Story - July 2, 2014

Suzicate, I agree. Sometimes I do research for writing on some crazy things, and I wonder what that looks like on my “permanent record” somewhere.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

Eric did a funny post about his cyber research for a novel:


suzicate - July 3, 2014

EXACTLY! Sometimes I wonder if my research puts me on some crazy watch list, ha! I’m thinking I should probably ask some of my questions to real live people rather than having a
“cyber record”…oh, what’s a writer to do?

nrhatch - July 3, 2014

Dear Suzi ~

We have our eyes on YOU.
We’ll stop by one day soon.

Leave the light on for us!


5. colonialist - July 2, 2014

The only answer is not to have any secrets, and to be particularly open regarding expressions of contempt for prying sewer-scum.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

Exactly! The death of privacy is due to prying sewer-scum.

6. Grannymar - July 2, 2014

If there is someone listening to everything I say…. They must have a very boring life!

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

Well, maybe YOUR government is better behaved and less nosy than ours.

Grannymar - July 2, 2014

Is there such a thing as a well behaved government?

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

Maybe in Bermuda. Or Switzerland. For most of us Government = Politicians Behaving Badly.

Grannymar - July 2, 2014

They may start out well intentioned, but soon become unstuck by lining their own pockets.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

And the same goes for the CEO’s of most non-profits. They get involved for all the “right reasons” . . . and then put self-interest ahead of most other considerations.

7. ashokbhatia - July 2, 2014

Let us face it – e-traces of whatever we do in cyber space are cast in a virtual stone. I wonder if restraining oneself’s real outpourings is the right answer.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

From my perspective, we should choose both our words and our forums with care.

ashokbhatia - July 3, 2014


nrhatch - July 3, 2014

Here’s to exercising the appropriate degree of cyber caution.

8. Maggie - July 2, 2014

I just pay more attention to what I say online. Because you really can’t avoid being online these days.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

Sometimes we know we are in “plain view” on line ~ blogs, blog comments. Other times, we feel as if we are sitting in our cyber living rooms having a “private” conversation (via e-mail, skype, phone) without realizing that someone is listening at the door.

9. diannegray - July 2, 2014

One big problem is people taking embarrassing photos and posting them on social media. I don’t think people understand that they can never be removed. Never… 😉

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

I’ve deleted a lot of stuff I posted on Facebook over the years, but I realize that it’s still there . . . somewhere in the bowels of cyberspace.

10. ericjbaker - July 2, 2014

I monitor my online content because current and future employers can easily find it. I don’t have a personal Facebook page, and i don’t say anything in e-mail worth spying on. Gossip, of course, is face to face only. If you think you might need to deny something later, make sure it’s not recorded!

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

I don’t suppose that much of what I’ve posted/said in cyberspace or e-mails would raise eyebrows and I plan to keep it that way ~> especially with the P.C. police roaming the cyber hallways.

11. Behind the Story - July 2, 2014

The lack of privacy is less problematic for someone my age than for someone just starting out. I’m not going to be looking for a job or going to any wild parties. My teenage grandchildren are very careful. My 19-year-old granddaughter posts on Facebook about once every six months. Her friends and clubs occasionally post photos of her, but so far her friends seem to be almost as cautious as she is.

nrhatch - July 2, 2014

That’s good to hear, Nicki. Most of our nieces and nephews are moderate in their postings but one has friends who have tagged her in photos from some wild parties ~ I’m glad Facebook wasn’t around when I was a teen. I might not have gotten admitted to law school. 😎

Here’s to exercising the appropriate degree of cyber caution.

12. Tammy - July 3, 2014


nrhatch - July 3, 2014

Despite the loss of privacy, I appreciate the gains in sharing of “intel.”

13. William D'Andrea - July 3, 2014

Here is something I wonder about. Billions of messages are sent out on line every day. How is it possible to keep track of them all?

nrhatch - July 3, 2014

Millions and millions of minions.

Wearing shades. 😎

William D'Andrea - July 3, 2014

Excuse me, but that does sound somewhat paranoid. On the other hand, “Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.”

nrhatch - July 3, 2014

“Who afraid of a few (million) minions?”
“Not I,” said Chicken Little.

“Don’t look now . . . but the sky is falling!” 😎

14. Pix Under the Oaks - July 4, 2014

Good Morning Nancy! I have thought recently to just give up my online activity. I am careful about what I say.. the old rule about only if you would announce it at an airport. But the whole thing just feels creepy. I think it is one of the reasons I don’t post anymore. It is such a permanent bunch of my words out there. My Facebook is all cats and horse stuff with some nonsense thrown in. AND then there are days that I think I don’t really care.. 😀

nrhatch - July 4, 2014

Yes. I hear you, Pix. If everything we own and everyone we meet retains a fraction of our energy (as I’ve heard), what about our words? Are they tethered to us by cyber strings?

At home, I’ve been working to consolidate my words onto a single shelf. But what about all the words OUT THERE? How do I get them to come home to roost?

15. bluebee - July 5, 2014

Not to mention, picking up our interest patterns in our google searches, our likes/disliked from FB etc, our banking habits, our movement from the location services of our phones/ipads, our whereabouts from street cameras – the list goes on. I’ve given up worrying about it. Pfffft!

nrhatch - July 5, 2014

George Orwell was right . . . “Big Brother is watching you.” [1984]

16. William D'Andrea - July 5, 2014

In spite of what everyone here is saying, my complaint is that nobody seems to be reading anything that I’ve written, much of which would certainly be very controversial.

My newly revised novel, republished with a new title “Angels of Death at Play”, which deals with overpopulation,
along my older novel “A Gatored Community” which deals with global warming,
would both offend activists of many different groups, and the controversy might actually lead to people purchasing the books; which might get them to read and discuss what those writings have to say.

On the other hand, with the way things are these days, I wonder if those activists would try to have the books banned, and then harass me for writing things they disagree with. If that’s how things would be, then perhaps I’m fortunate that nobody’s been reading my works.

Or am I the one be just a little bit paranoid?

nrhatch - July 5, 2014

As a vegetarian, I’m NOT in your target audience ~ I’m not interested in people eating people. 😎

17. William D'Andrea - July 5, 2014

I hope you don’t think I’m advocating the idea; and I hope that anyone reading your comment doesn’t think I’m advocating it either. Anyone reading the book would find out that I’m not. As long as you don’t try to have the book banned, that’s fine with me.

nrhatch - July 5, 2014

No worries.

Some writers promote KINDLE books by giving them away for FREE for a few days . . . while asking readers to post reviews. Books with reviews get more views.

18. William D'Andrea - July 5, 2014

Anyone reading this is welcome to read and leave reviews. Thank you.

nrhatch - July 5, 2014

Good luck!

19. jannatwrites - July 5, 2014

I’m surprised at what some reveal online. The vastness still freaks me out!

nrhatch - July 5, 2014

And like the vast Universe, it’s still expanding.

20. Big Brother IS Watching You! | Spirit Lights The Way - July 22, 2014

[…] posts:  Privacy is Dead * Privacy Risks of Smart […]

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