opinion

Online Privacy Problems Persist

Stephen Yagielowicz

If you are an average consumer, watch the news, or are involved in the tech field, you no doubt are aware of the growing concerns about today’s technology increasingly encroaching on personal privacy.

We often think about online privacy in terms of the web forms we fill out, and the marketable data that we reveal about ourselves, but the issue of online privacy protection is becoming “internal.”

Having turned 50 this year, my doctor advised me that it was time for a colonoscopy, as a means of preventative screening. We all hear about the “Pink Ribbon” campaign against breast cancer, which has an excellent record of accomplishment in encouraging women to have breast exams and mammograms, because early detection results in higher survivability.

Consider this post to be the start of my informal “Brown Ribbon” campaign to encourage men to do likewise and have a colonoscopy when they hit 50, as it could save their life — but I digress, as this is not about how I lost my anal virginity, but of the privacy implications presented by the process.

You see, prior to my procedure, there was a lot of paperwork involved, including my having to read and acknowledge official privacy policy statements from two doctors and their respective facilities, with multiple forms totaling perhaps a dozen pages — all explaining in detail how my personal information is to be gathered, shared, stored and used.

When I arrived at the endoscopy center for the procedure, the cute young girl at the counter asked if I had read and understood their privacy practices, despite seeing my signature and initials in the spots where they were required.

“Miss, I came here to have a camera shoved up my ass,” I told her. “I didn’t expect much ‘privacy.’”

She blushed and had to leave the counter to go giggle with her co-worker over that one, while my lovely wife stood there rolling her eyes and telling me to behave.

The whole situation is absurd and shows just how far (especially in California) the push for privacy is going to extreme lengths. Are the steps making consumers safer by protecting their privacy? I doubt it.

Now, there is a small collection of images revealing a far more detailed view of the inside of my ass than I ever hoped to see. They are accompanied by a map of my plumbing, with little “X’s” to mark the spots where each photo was taken, and I now assume that this document is stored online somewhere, which means that security systems nonetheless, it is “available” to others.

I cannot think of a more invasive technology or a more insecure media to store the results.

Well, maybe I can, since these images were at one time and place; but another medical technology may be even more intrusive and less secure: the UP24.

According to its maker, the UP wristband communicates with the UP app on a user’s smartphone to reveal personal performance metrics, helping you “understand how you sleep, move and eat so you can make smarter choices.”

Think of it as a “black box” recorder for your body — one that lets others know when you are awake and available to receive their advertisements, for example.

Given these developments, it is clear that the issue of online privacy will persist into the near future, bringing with it evolving legislation and consumer attitudes. When dealing with something as personal as porn consumption, privacy protection will become an ever more important factor to sales, making it an action item in any adult website’s business and marketing plan.

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