The Lack of Privacy in the Modern Age

What a busy late summer it has been. With luck, next week we will get to a “working vacation” where I can give some thought to a really substantive blog article.

In the meantime, some thoughts on social media, the Internet, and technology:

1.      Our minister preached on “worshipping idols”, and named the iPad “our gadgets and gizmos” as prime culprits in our distraction from God and our gifts to the church.
2.      It is a common view but utterly lacking of any recognition of the power of these “gadgets and gizmos”, with greater computing and communicating power than could be had by all the Kings and Queens that ever lived until recently.
3.      It did not distinguish the power for good and accomplishment these devices have from the harm and hate they can spread.
4.      My crack assistant Letetia gave me a quick example of the uses and vulnerability that our “toys” can produce:
a.      We have been unable to locate a defendant driver in a serious auto accident case;
b.      The lawyer for the man’s employer, knowing his address full well, decided to give us some grief by filing a motion to dismiss.
c.      The “rule” is that personal service of the complaint must be accomplished within 120 days, and we were 60 days into the 120 days.
d.      Letetia had searched for the fellow’s full name, but just could not find him.
e.      Finally, she found the announcement in nearby newspaper of the birth of his child, but no address, and nothing else under his “full name”.
f.       But, she also found his wife’s name and his Mother’s. Both of them had public FB accounts! 
g.      Thus, she found out his nickname,; let’s say, “Gus” (not the real name.)
h.      She searched for “Gus (Last name) in Facebook. He too had a public Facebook.
i.        She searched his Mom’s name and discovered her mother, his grandmother.
j.        Then she discovered that Grandma, who lives out of state, owns a home in WV (nearby county.)
k.      Comparing records, it became apparent that “Gus” and his wife and children live in Grandma’s house!
l.        The Sheriff is on the way to serve him!
m.    We now know what he looks like, who his family is, his hobbies and interests, and whether he is still working for the same employer, and we really have not begun to study his FB profile.
5.      We mean this fellow no harm. His employer is self-employed and liability insurance coverage is essentially unlimited
6.      But, it gives one pause. What of those who do mean harm?  What a tool they have.
7.      This is a fascinating, complex, and troubling subject.
8.      It is much too complex for either a knee jerk rejection or acceptance of the changes that are upon us.
9.      I see no sign that our church, community, or country are ready for these changes. Maybe none of us are.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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