Privacy is Gone Forever

Privacy is Gone Forever

One of the dictionary definitions of “privacy” is the state of being free from unsanctioned intrusions.  I am afraid that we, as a country and as a people, will never enjoy the privacy that our forefathers enjoyed.  Nothing is sacred anymore.

Recently, I was surprised to see that my local parish had installed a flat screen TV in the lobby.  We are told that it is there for us to be updated on the “current state of activities” within our parish.  I suspect, however, that in the very near future, we shall start seeing advertisements on that perfectly positioned flat screen TV.  After all, money can be generated from these advertisements and it will be hard for the parish fathers to turn away money.

Just a few days ago, a friend of mine called and informed me that he had purchased a Sony Digital Reader Pocket Edition.  Having read about this product, I was afraid to tell him that there is small print in his purchase agreement that allows for advertisements to be run between the books that he downloads.  Why not?  I am so old that I remember when baseball parks and hockey rinks used to have plain white-sided partitions around the ice and playing field.  When my son and I attended Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, I had trouble finding the scoreboard due to, what seemed like hundreds of advertisements, plastered around the stadium.  What has happened?

TV was the first to be hit big time.  Now it is hard to watch a movie without constant and repetitive commercials.  My grandson has been able to memorize the commercials and he sings along with the TV word for word.  I understand that some 30 minute programs contain up to 17 minutes of commercials.  Using my grade school math, this would leave 13 minutes for the program.  I was watching a professional football game the other day and after the one point conversion following the touchdown, the commercials started.  When the game itself began again, I happened to notice that the teams were lining up for the first down.  I asked my wife, did we miss the kickoff?  Yes, she said.  They needed more commercial time!

Radio fell quickly behind television.  I remember when FM was established to avoid the commercials on AM.  Sure, now FM is worse than AM and all the stations sell constant advertisements.  Some advertise a “commercial free hour” which is usually mid-morning or mid-afternoon when the station cannot capture the commuting public.

I have filled out every “do not call list” that I can subscribe to and yet, our telephone still rings all day.  Almost 100% of these calls come from people and organizations that have been able to obtain our number from some secret source.  Everyone that I contact swears that they adhere to a strict privacy policy; yet, how is that everyone has my number?  I have no problem with most of the calling organizations, but how does the American Diabetes Association in the State of Virginia get my telephone number in the State of Michigan?

I try and tell my wife to be careful in giving out her email address as she is opening herself to hundreds of emails per day.  Many requests for your “opinion” on the Internet are nothing more than an attempt to obtain your email address.  I think that my son in New York holds the world’s daily email record with 2,200 emails.  True, he gets a lot of business emails, but this is a lot of emails.  I try and review my incoming emails daily and, due to my diligence in not giving out my email address, it is possible to run through the 15 or 20 emails that come in.  My wife, who loves to scan the Internet, receives between 50 and 75 per day.  Now she has to sort through and delete most of the emails.  Thank God we have a folder where the Spam emails go and are able to delete them all with the click of one button.  You would think that Bozo the Clown, where ever he is, would get tired of trying to solicit money from the gullible public to get money out of Nigeria?

Thankfully, the Mass remains sacred from such advertising intrusions; although should the day come when I see a bishop, priest, or deacon with Nike logos on their vestments, I am heading for the door.

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Written by
Donald Wittmer