On the Right Lane: No respect for privacy

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“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Benjamin Franklin, founding father and a polymath, inventor, scientist, printer, politician, Freemason and diplomat

The day I started writing this column I received my new hearing aids. Because I try to become more and more savvy with our high-tech world, I downloaded the applicable apps that supposedly will enhance my ability to achieve new heights. I’m not sure I really accomplished such a feat since the first thing I ran into was a privacy notice, which as far as I am concerned implied if I used the software I could kiss my privacy goodbye.

I have to guess that only God knows how our government, private corporations like Google or even the GPS devices/black boxes hidden in our cars are spying on us. During the recent spree of robberies in the greater Portland area the FBI subpoenaed Google to see who was in the areas where the robberies happened. Google turned them down and never provided any information, which is either good or bad depending on how you look at it. It’s not like I am going to rob a bank or anything, but I have heard of the wrong person being detained and found guilty which is scary to me.

I have even heard of shopping carts that contain GPS devices to track our shopping. That doesn’t bother me any, because if they track me they receive the most useless data possible. I really do wonder if we actually have any privacy at all because someone is always mining data about us.

If one purchases a lot of things on the internet, especially at one place, it’s easy to track what one has had for previous purchases. What might be even scarier is if our credit/debit card companies sell the data on how we use our cards to purchase items.

We’re never really alone anymore if we are connected to some type of electronic device. I remember a robbery at a local superstore when someone on parole stole a television, ran out of the store and attempted to hide in some bushes. He didn’t realize the GPS in his cellphone allowed the police to track and arrest him. Today that’s probably a normal thing to happen. It’s another criminal behind bars and probably not long enough to satisfy me.

Should government have unlimited access to any of our devices?

When it comes to government, privacy is an entirely different matter where we, the common people, are frequently pushed out of the picture. I believe there are times government uses privacy to protect itself in order that we would never know what was done incorrectly or illegally. I remember an accident recently in Windham involving a law enforcement officer.  Although the officer could have been more than likely at fault, the name of the person whose vehicle was struck was immediately released, but the law enforcement officer’s name was not and I have to ask why. No one is above the law so why does government have a different standard than us common people? If someone breaks a law then each and everyone who does should be named.

There was a news article stating personnel working at the Cumberland County Jail were exposed to fentanyl and taken to a local hospital. It shows that anyone could be accidentally exposed even here in Windham. Fentanyl is a very dangerous and life-threatening drug and every citizen should know if it is in their community. I believe that every incident involving fentanyl should be make public.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham wonders why taking away someone’s security clearance after they leave government can be called a violation of freedom of speech. It doesn’t make sense.