I had this particular piece all ready to post last week, and for whatever reason, it just didn’t sit right with me to publish. So, here I am, one week later, and I’m still running it through my head. But, it got the best of me – it won. Seven or so days ago, I read some scuttlebutt about certain places demanding your Facebook password when applying for a job. I immediately went to Google and entered this into the search field. There were a couple of stories discussing some government agencies in North Carolina actually requesting applicants log into their FB account while in their interview. I then read of a real instance where passwords have been requested making this truth, not fiction (FB passwords). I’ve been informed that if I want to become an author, I can’t pick sides or let me say, show controversy. And, for fear of being categorized with Ann Coulter, I shudder to go on, but you know I will. I am a natural citizen of this country, and there is a little thing called…..”uh, let’s see……what is it?” she groaned, tapping her finger against her chin. Oh, right….the Fourth Amendment. That being said, where do I begin?
First, I’d ask that you sit back for a minute or so, and have this issue soak in, if you will. I’ll help by reminding you – yes, this is America and, no, you did not blink or fall asleep, waking up in another realm. Some years ago, a co-worker expressed concern toward me, because he thought certain things sent me into irascibility. Okay, he said excited, but it means the same thing. But, come on – that cannot pertain to me alone, can it? I must say, however, that is one of my most unfavorable states on anyone. But, when I’m enthusiastic about something, it is where you’ll most likely find me, I guess. And, yes, I know I brought it up, but, for my sanity can we not use the word irascible? Humor me, if you will, and call it passion – please and thank you.
In 1974 our government enacted a little something called the “Privacy Act.” Now, can someone not having to pass a bar exam or some other major test, take the time to consume the pages and pages of this mind numbing, ridiculous double talk that some other (government) agency has now loop-holed to death? I’ll give you a minute to decide if you want to protest that comment. Okay, moving forward. It took me the longest time to make the decision to obtain a FB account. This is – if you haven’t guessed by now – because I am a very private person. However, in order to promote me, and my work, I cracked. Of course, I also hobnob with my peers (other writers). But, I consider some employer needing to view my FB page or requesting that I provide them with said password as invasive as it gets. I’ve read, and heard it categorized right up there with handing over the keys to your home. I’m not discussing the employer or their employees on FB. Therefore, what would necessitate their having to look it over, and even if I were, it all falls under the heading of PRIVACY.
On occasion, at certain markets here in Virginia you’ll notice on your receipt, the store has invited you as a patron to go online, and complete a survey for a chance to win, whatever. I have, two or three times, done so. Before completing the study a couple of the questions ask your nationality, income, and age. Yes, I know they use this information to help with their demographics, but they’ll have to use another guinea, because my winning their contest is not pre-determined by my age and income. Again, all a part of PRIVACY. In addition, this little ditty is tied to, yet another law – something called DISCRIMINATION if you remember that – laws, laws everywhere, but none that cannot be bent.
I think we have unfortunately entered an age where there are more rules than one cares to handle. But, what seriously confuses me is this. Where are the morals that I thought got handed down, one, two, and three times from our grandparents to us, to the ones now a part of the law makers? Is this the price of progress? Shouldn’t these rules also apply to the statute makers? Does it burn my butt, because I work in the legal profession – exposed to more or because I work for a Fourth Amendment attorney or is it due to the fact the simple premise of right and wrong is a part of my nature? I say if any decree gets put into place – let’s begin with revamping that “Privacy Act,” find the loop holes, close them up and start again. I’m sorry, has the entire country – all regulation makers and company heads gone berserk? I think a giant “STOP” sign needs to go up somewhere. We need to just say “HALT,” go back and begin again.
As I rub my crystal ball, I envision a time when we’ll all have to call for permission (I don’t know who), take a drug test, stand in line for a notarized pass, take a specially marked commuter train/bus, just to go to the market to pick up that receipt to enter this weeks contest. Don’t get me wrong, I love this country of my birth, but where will it end? Or is this just the beginning? Is it only a matter of time before this outrageousness reaches every state, every Human Resource Department? But, before I ask you to give your opinion – let me tip you off. There is a little something called Changedotorg – I dare someone to log on, create their own ruling that screams – STOP! Care to weigh in?
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