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Get Off of My Cloud

My grandson attends the local high school.  Since being out because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has had to complete his schoolwork on line.  Sadly, there have been some glitches in this system and the teachers are having to work double duty to compensate and ensure that the students complete all assigned work to receive credit. 

During this time, I received a phone call (as I am listed as an emergency contact) from the Health Teacher at the school who also happens to be a football coach.  I knew this man years ago when my youngest played football as I stood on the field during every game for years shooting highlight pictures which I then gave to each player and the school for its website.  It was great fun and also served as a fund raiser for the athletic program with support from my then employer.

I have not spoken to this man in over a decade.  Literally.  But there he was on my cell phone.  We had a brief but nice chat.  The very next day, his profile appears like magic on my Facebook feed as a Friend Suggestion.  Now this had happened before to me after I made contact with someone for business reasons.  I spoke with this woman and the very next day her profile appeared.  I disregarded it as it had probably happened before but because I did not know her I paid no attention.  Not this time though. 

For years I have complained publicly about my internet feed being inundated with advertisements tempting me with something I have glanced at “once” as if it refuses to then leave me alone until I purchase it.  Except – even after I purchase it the advertisements continue.

I am also concerned with my cell phone constantly reminding me that I have failed to back up my information to “the cloud”.  I want my information, obviously, or I wouldn’t have it on my phone.  In fact, loose your contacts and you will see just how quickly you can go from zero to bat shit crazy!  But there was a time when my information was stored on my sim card.  All I had to do was remove the sim card and I had everything I wanted right there ready to transfer to the next phone in an instant. 

What is up with this?

I should also share an incident that occurred during my work on a very large project as a contractor.  I was on my computer every day.  It sat in my residence plugged in constantly with an external hard drive also plugged in.  On that hard drive were pictures that I had taken during my tenure with my previous employer as well as personal pictures, writings, etc.  I googled myself one day as I had a book being published and wanted to see if it had made it to the web.  Well, low and behold, the pictures that had been stored on my external hard drive came up one after another.  WHAM!  I phoned google to ask what was going on and they informed me that I should not have kept my external hard drive connected (like it was my fault).  This exchange went on for several minutes until I finally said to them, “These pictures were taken for a Fortune 500 company.  They have an entire floor dedicated to nothing but attorneys who would consider it sporting to take this on and eviscerate you for intellectual property theft.  Remove them now or deal with them.  It took a few days – but they did.  But only because I threw the weight of a corporation at them.

Why do I need a cloud?

I surmise that the answer to this is that we are now all taking so many pictures at such a high pixel resolution that the space required to store these and other information exceeds the capability of a sim card.  That’s my guess. 

I cannot order new or change services without providing proof of who I am.  I cannot even pay my bill without providing my password.  If I go to a doctor (ANY DOCTOR) I cannot be seen without signing a document THAT THEY RETAIN stating that I am aware they cannot share my information with ANYONE without my consent.  Well, if that’s true, shouldn’t they be signing the document and handing it to me?  The fact is – that document is worthless and only prevents my information from being given to my mother or someone similar.  If the government wants that information (and I know for a fact they have collected it) that document stops NOTHING.  Why is it so easy for my information to be shared? While I’m on this rant – I also HATE that I can no longer go into a Verizon store (and I do not mean because of the pandemic) to have them transfer my information from one phone to another.  They are no longer permitted to do that for customers.

I have to wonder – are the cell providers being strong armed by Google? And just how much is my (or your) information worth? More to the point, why am “I” not entitled to that money?  If you are paying for my information, shouldn’t I be the recipient of those earnings generated?

I don’t know about you, but the idea of my every move being stored in a cloud that does not belong to me it not appealing.  No, I’m not doing anything illegal or anything that I (technically) wouldn’t want anyone to find out about.  But isn’t it mine to do with as I see fit? Isn’t it?  It used to be.

How did our personal information become such big business and when is it going to stop?

R-O-A-R about it!!!!

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