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January 25, 2012 / mike54martin

There Is No Privacy

Can we talk? Privately. Over here, out of range of the closed circuit camera and certainly not by cell phone. By e-mail, forget it. Big Brother and Big Sister are watching us closer than photo radar on the highway. Every bit that you are sending by BlackBerry or byte that you are receiving on your I-phone is being recorded for posterity and beyond. There’s a better chance of radioactive waste being returned to pure ground water than there is of your private and privileged information being kept private or privileged.

Let’s face it when the cable company asks you for your social insurance number they are just doing that out of courtesy. They already have it. And when the bank asks you to fill out forms for that car loan, they don’t need the information from you. They just want to know if you’re lying.

Everyday at work we send hundreds of documents, comments, recipes from Aunt Ellie, and not entirely politically correct jokes that our sister who works in a correctional institute has just gotten from the guards who got them from. You know where they got them. And we pretend to each other that nobody know what is going on behind the beige five foot high dividers that separate us from our partners in crime.

So all this talk about privacy at work and people getting up on their high horses about invasions and other such nonsense has me more than a little confused. Yes there are court cases being presented all over the country about the proper ways in which an employer can monitor the electronic practices of their employees. And yes there will be precedents set and guidelines developed and sent out. But all of that has little bearing on the real world, unless you happen to be a lawyer for anyone involved in these cases.

The facts are these. If you work for an employer and you use their equipment, services, connections or network you are already being monitored, legally. They have the right to determine access and to determine the rules of engagement. You can argue, after the fact, that you weren’t informed, that you didn’t know, that you would have been more careful…. Stop it, right now.

You are being monitored. As you read this. If you don’t like it…. Switch it off. That is your only option. Once you turn your computer or smart phone on your boss will be there. Think of it as a party line. And they own the party.

This article first appeared on my blog at



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