Sunday, May 5, 2013

Too much convenience?

I like convenience, particularly in my computer and electronic "stuff." I like a remote that is easy to use and is multi-functional. I like the ergonomic keyboard that Microsoft came out with years ago, I have big hands and a regular key board forces me to keep my elbows in and forearms straight to type decently. The ergonomic board allows me to keep my arms relaxed and the raised bottom provides wrist support. I like speed in my computer. I recall when the Internet first came out and I was up to date with a 14.4 Kbs modem. I'd fall asleep waiting for the screen to refresh. Now it is much quicker, but I'd like instantaneous. I like excel and the power of word processing.

I like having my banking on line and used auto-download for entering my spending transactions into Quicken. I order quite a bit from and am mostly pleased with the speed with which I can order things and complete the transaction, sometimes with less waiting time than in-store purchases.

However, I was yanked back a little the other day when I saw and essurance ad that was extolling the speed with which they could give you a quote on car insurance. The ad said, a couple of clicks and we'll have all your cars that you can get quotes on. One part of me likes the speed and convenience. The other side of me says where are they getting the data from and how so quickly. I've read articles about huge data bases that house our buying, banking, and spending habits. Many of us pay with either credit or debit cards and all of those transactions are recorded someplace. Now with the capability to compile and query, vast stores of information are known by some machine that concern our life style. This is disturbing. I don't think I have any transactions that might be taken as surreptitious, but then I really don't know my life style pattern that a third party might become aware of.

I think we, as citizens have to be more vocal, more action oriented, and more on guard about what our government advocates and/or allows. Privacy is becoming more and more of an issue. Now with the war on terrorism the government, probably with good reason, wants access to private transactions and in fact has a profile(s) used to uncover potential acts of terrorism . So is it unpatriotic to fight against the invasion of privacy for the sake of safety? Or should we take the stand that we  hold privacy sacred above all consideration. This seems to be a very tough question for our society to meaningfully debate. I stand with privacy, yet my logic makes the need to know all manner of information rational and just. So I am torn and have not really been able to think my way out of this box yet. 

I'll let you know.

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