Thursday, December 29, 2016

Big Brothers Are Tracking You

It's probably impossible to know how many people are tracking you thanks to wifi, bluetooth and location and timeline services. If you own a mobile device, you may not even realize that Google (and others) are keeping records of your movements at any given time.

I don't recall how I discovered that Google was tracking me but was shocked when I found maps of everywhere I traveled. I was able to delete them all and turn off the service but I did save two examples.
Related reading:  "Online privacy fears are real: More people are tracking you than you think"

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Irksome Internet

I've been using the internet for a long time: pre-browser. What was an effective way to learn and communicate has become say the least!

I first began using a listserv for educators - where thoughts and ideas were contributed by K-12 instructors and administrators with university level policy wonks. Educators explored issues common to different levels of the education hierarchy. My contributions were shared from the viewpoint of a school board member. The online discussions were animated, sometimes controversial...but always informative and helpful.

I served a generation of children on the School Board of Palm Beach County (Florida), first elected in 1984. I decided not to seek a fourth term in 1996. During my tenure, I created a website to share my views with residents of Palm Beach County. It was after reading articles that local media wrote about my site that I learned I was one of the first elected officials in the nation to have a web presence. 

I enjoyed using the Internet with my cellphone and computer, but it's not become a pain in the butt. It's not all bad but is getting increasingly annoying with constant ads and tracking that invades users privacy. I intend to share my thoughts as to why the internet has become increasingly irksome. Feel free to share your thoughts if you do too.

Connected Phones - Disconnected People

There are plenty of news stories and medical research about the dangers of using smartphones: cell phone addiction, distracted driving, text-walking, shortened attention span, isolation from family and friends, physical name a few. Cell phones can be used without regard to safety...our own and others

Just a few personal observations

⦿ I recall waiting for the elevator door to open to get to the second floor. The door opens, and a woman looking down at her smartphone barrels out the door, almost knocking me over.

⦿ One of the saddest things I see...and see it often, people in a restaurant or similar place sitting there playing with their phones, instead of engaging with one another. Social media too often seems to take precedence over human interaction.

⦿ Sitting on the Sidelines
Fun but dangerous without proper adult supervision
Several years ago, my daughter and I took my grandchildren to a fun place filled with inflatables. There is always some danger for children when participating in a romping-fun activity, but they are exposed to more danger when parents fail to keep an eye on them.
Parents glued to their phones as their children play.
Faces blurred out to protect the "innocent."
There were children of all ages and sizes barreling down the high-walled inflatable slides. You couldn't even see small children unless you stood nearby. My daughter and I watched the children as other parents sat on the sidelines glued to their smartphones. The gal in charge of overseeing the playtime was looking at her computer the whole time so she could work on her college assignment.

Girl hired to watch the children working on computer

⦿ Texting and other distracted driving statistics don't lie

I think one of the biggest threats are stupid, yes stupid, thoughtless, careless people who use mobile phones while driving!

"Using a mobile phone while driving can increase the risk of being involved in a crash by up to four times. This goes for both hand-held and hands-free phones, because it is the cognitive distraction that is an issue. WHO (World Health Organization) reports that texting has an even more severe impact on crash risk.
More than 3,000 teens die each year in crashes caused by texting while driving."

Source: Auto Safety website.

Note: more teens are maimed or killed because of texting and driving than drinking and driving.

Unlike Facebook

I've been using Facebook for several years. It's been a great place to share with friends and reunite with old ones.

But Facebook, like much of the internet, is becoming extremely annoying, especially when visiting the site via a mobile device!

I don't need Facebook to tell me Good Morning, Afternoon and Evening. I don't need Facebook to tell me my current weather. I don't need the constant annoyances of showing me potential new friends...most of whom I do not know. I don't need Facebook to show me advertisements of items that I recently viewed at another site. Or remind me that I've bookmarked a page a few days ago.

Facebook now forces you to use their messenger app, which I prefer not to download to my phone because of it's privacy-invading tracking. So if someone PM's me, I can not access it on my phone. So I must open my notebook to access PM's...but who knows how long that will last.

The invasion of your and my privacy is a BIG issue, though many people still seem unconcerned. They shouldn't.

Related reading:
Facebook Is Playing Games With Your Privacy And There's Nothing You Can Do About It