Dr Abe V Rotor
“Someone is watching your every move – at the bank, on the Internet, even walking down the street. Our right to be left alone is disappearing bit by bit in Little Brotherly steps,” says Time magazine in a special issue on The Death of Privacy. We are headed for an even wired unregulated, over intrusive privacy-deprived planet. Privacy is dying.
Our letters are no longer private on e-mail dispatch. IDs are also for time record, entry pass, emergencies, discounts. We carry USP (removable disc) which contains a library of information indistinguishable whether for private or public consumption. And who cares, if you too, get access to the same unsolicited materials?
Don’t forget to lock up your personal computer; even then, be sure no one knows your PIN (personal identification number). One moment everything it contains is copied without your knowing it. For hackers it worst; you can’t keep your own files anymore.
Go to the mall, drop at the Post Office, pick up grocery, visit an ITM. Waiting for a ride, speeding on a highway, practicing in a gym, promenading? Anything you do, even in your rented bedroom, in the hotel, someone is looking at you through the electronic eye, a n-generation of the conventional camera, complete with sounds, and special effects, versatility likened to Hubs telescope or Skylab’s.
In fact your organs are monitored on TV during diagnosis, more so during operation. I saw my kidney bombarded by laser. “Oh, you are awake,” my doctor was surprised. “See, the stone is gone, the fragments are being flushed out.” It’s me I was seeing. I don’t know if I passed out afterward that.
Cell phone. Yes, it’s a magnificent invention. You can be at any place at anytime. And with modern hybrids, you send and receive information to whomever without full control. That is why clever people make a dummy of them and hide their reality. This is your Second Person, your avatar, your clone, but you are soon to be discovered, and little by little your second person becomes your first person – you.
Good if it’s the real you as you would like to put your best foot forward, so to speak. Somebody did some anatomical experiment, putting your face on another body, doing a thing you don’t like in a place you find impossible to be, attired differently, if at all. And your dignity? “Oh, it’s not me,” you deny, but it’s your face people see. And this monster runs on the wire and soon you find yourself an international figure (disfigure). You are lost.
Melly, my partner in Paaralang Bayan (school-on-air), asked me if it’s all right to have a digital ID system. Why not, who does not have one nowadays? Even a kinder child has one around the neck; college students enter the school premises by swiping their ID to show their face and number on the monitor, otherwise you are trapped and questioned. Remember terrorists are also in white.
But the worst and ultimate loss of privacy is in having a Personal Gene Map. Since HGP (Human Genome Project) was launched and published, there will come a time each of us will be wearing a mini disc that contains the map of our chromosomes and their corresponding genes, and each gene carrying a specific trait from the color of your hair to your temperament. In short, genetic cartography reveals all our traits which doctor, insurance companies, prospective employers and spouses are, and likely, to know. “Will the map also show loyalty, infidelity?” asked Melly. I was speechless. I was nodding my head in disbelief. Why not? Hasn’t holism been re-defined by science and technology. Now what chromosome or chromosomes, and what gene or genes can we view the so-called inner self – conscience? God, where is the soul to be found?
How are you spied on?
- Bank machines – Every time you use an automated teller; the bank records the time, date and location of your transaction.
- Prescription drugs – If you use your company health insurance to purchase drugs, your employer may have access to the details. Browsing on the web – Many sites tag visitors with magic cookies that record what you’re looking at and when you have been surfing.
- Cellular telephone – Your calls can be intercepted and your access numbers cribbed by eavesdroppers with police scanners.
- Credit cards – Everything you charge is in a database that police, among others, can look at.
- Registering to Vote – Voter registration records are publis and online – if computerized. They typically list your address and birth date.
- Making a phone call – The phone company does not need a court order to note the number you’re calling – or who is calling you.
- Supermarket scanners – Many grocery stores let you register for discount coupons that are used to track what you purchase.
- Sweepstakes – In the US these are bonanzas for marketers. Every time you enter one, you add an electronic brushstroke to your digital portrait.
- Satellites – Commercial satellites are coming online that are eagle-eyed enough to spot you – and maybe a companion – in a hot tub.
- Electronic tools – In many places, drivers can pay tolls electronically with passes that tip off your whereabouts.
- Surveillance cameras – They’re in banks, federal office buildings, 7-elevens, even houses of worship; New Yorkers are on camera up to 20 times a day. How about us in Metro Manila?
- Mail-order transactions – Many companies, including mail-order houses and publishers, sell lists of their customers. Why do you think you’re getting those catalogs?
- Sending e-mail – In offices, E-mail is considered part of your work. Your employer is allowed is allowed to read it – and many bosses do.
1. Keep you signature, PIN, portrait photo, and other personal identification marks secured. Its only you who should have access to them.
2. Just say no to telemarketers. Say, “I don’t take phone solicitations.”
3. Consider removing your name from many direct-mail and telemarketing lists.
4. Pay cash whenever possible.
5. Be wary about buying mail order.
6. Give your Social Security number only when required by law.
7. Think twice before filling warranty cards or entering sweepstakes.
8. Be careful when using “free blood pressure clinics.”
9. Avoid leaving footprints on the Net.
10. Surf the Web anonymously.
If you can make it, disarm yourself of any electronic device on a weekend, and stay home. Take a vacation away from electronic devices. It could be the best way of restoring a part of your privacy. Set mailbox on, or switch off, your cell phone to enjoy your weekend or vacation.
NOTE: List down other means we preserve or restore personal privacy to enrich this article.