Wards of the State – Data Collection v. Privacy

Experimental File October 2013

In researching for conspiracy theories, there seems to be no end. Using the theories as a story basis is hardly new, but one wonders if it is fiction any more. And of the old joke question about paranoia, “are you still paranoid If it’s true?” seems less funny these days. My driving was careful on the morning commute, yet while breaking to avoid a crash ahead, hot coffee spilled out of the loose travel mug lid. The odor of the splattered coffee was wonderful as I waited for the traffic to clear. In the predawn light during the wait, I turned up the radio volume. A caller was explaining that she turned off her telephone’s GPS app so she could not be tracked. The radio host explained to her that it really doesn’t matter if it’s off, that you can be located anyway. She was surprised and did not know that.
In the news and talk shows these past few days there have been the various takes on the “data collection” by various entities. Whether they are government types of the IRS, NSA, HUD, FHA, Social Security or in the private sector of your doctor’s office, employer, mortgage companies, telephone companies, credit card companies, social media companies, or search engine entities such as Google, Yahoo, or others. This morning was a statement from one media personality that “it is a done deal.” This being, or meaning, that the entire country if, not global, is already locked into the culture of the electronic technology and all the communication that is related in storage of the records and information. It is only a matter of how the data is controlled, and who controls it.
A year ago I had a frank discussion with one of my doctors. Out of respect for privacy, I won’t name the physician. There was a change in the doctor’s office system. I asked if it was because of the new regulations. The answer was partly yes. I mentioned then in the conversation, also the fact that a well known tax preparing company now has questions about one’s medical insurance that is part of the new IRS regulations as part of the Affordable Health Act. The doctor said he had not heard of that. I then asked the doctor if he didn’t think that the new regulations violated the federal HIPPA regulations, which are supposed to be in place to guard medical privacy. There was a moment of silence, and then he said, “I guess we all will no longer have that privacy.” I found the doctor’s comment disturbing. But, after today, I think I am the one that is the more naïve. The NSA thing was never news to me after 1986. But, the massive record sharing by entities of our telephone communication, banks, government, then also by the largest search engine companies tied to government agencies, is …. Please excuse the cliché …. “mind boggling.”
Usually I have links in these pieces. Just, Google or Yahoo any of the above items …… hah ……………
I sometimes am afraid to search some issues in my novel research. But, too, if it’s a “done deal” what more harm can be done? One might ask where it will all lead or end. But, the concern over conspiracies, “urban legends” nonsense, and any other movies and TV crap about any of this seems trivial, trite, and too late. Are we all to become “wards of the state?” Do you like this? Is this a done deal?
Timothy J. Desmond
Blog at: https://timdesmondblog.wordpress.com
Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00694KQQO
Writing at: http://timothydesmond.wordpress.com
Art at: http://artbydesmond.wordpress.com

Civil War Revisited Event

Tim at Gettysburg
In one week is the annual Civil War Revisited event at Kearney Park, Fresno County, California. Co-hosted by Fresno Historical Society and American Civil War Association, it is still one of the premiere “annual” reenactment events in the state. There are close to a dozen reenactment organizations throughout California. While there is a tendency for those folks to attend their various events close to home, in the past, the Fresno/Kearney event has had groups from Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon join in with groups from Los Angeles and northern California.
The Fresno/Kearney event was started with the Civil War Reenactment Society working with Fresno Historical. CWRS is still attending and has members from Tulare, Kings, Fresno, and Madera Counties. I realize that it is a spectator event on many levels, but there is nothing like the thrill of participating and being a soldier, child, or civilian impression in the 1860s.
There are going to be hundreds of folks there to help you join up, and begin a reenacting experience. CWRS is more local, and ACWA is more northern California but has some members from Visalia too.
The School’s Education Day is Friday October 18. All are invited on October 19th and 20th next Saturday and Sunday. Drop by the tent of Lt. General W.S.L. Baylor, who I portray, next to Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s Command tent in the Confederate Camp. Baylor was Jackson’s Adjutant General in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

Timothy J. Desmond
Blog at: https://timdesmondblog.wordpress.com
Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00694KQQO
Writing at: http://timothydesmond.wordpress.com
Art at: http://artbydesmond.wordpress.com