Authoritarian state

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“We’re doing this for your own good.”

A statement you’re going to hear a lot in the near future.

Your freedom of choice is going to be taken away from you and this is only the first of many choices that you will no longer have a say in. It’s gonna soon be “my way or the highway” for lots of decisions that we have taken for granted.

I don’t know about you, but I saw little appeal in visiting New York previously but not I can honestly say there will no appeal whatsoever. As the governor of the state continues his over-reach on privacy and private businesses, there will be no reason at all to ever visit the state. (Apparently, he has also be “over-reaching” in his interactions with women too…”

A government official “strongly suggesting” a vaccine-only admissions policy is the first of many cascading steps to the government forcing compliance. We have already seen this with the lockdowns, so it is only a matter of time before we see it come about while simply trying to enjoy freedom as an American.

Sure, they want businesses to feel like they are the ones suggesting it and making it happen but we all know that isn’t the case. This is just so it takes the heat off the government and puts it on private businesses to deal with. It’s coercion and it’s all too common these days.

Of course, businesses big and small are accommodating the government here, there, and everywhere because they don’t want to get shut down themselves…well, because, coercion…

The avalanche has started and it is only going to get bigger. Life as you knew it, won’t be coming back.

Predictable intrusion

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You didn’t have to be a fortune teller to see this stuff coming.

Those people who predicted that Animal Farm or 1984 would come true (you know, the ones labeled as conspiracy theorists) apparently weren’t so far off, as the government has, and continues, to be in close contact with social media giants in order to “control narratives,” direct information, kill truth, and thus subjugate the population as it continues it’s bent on thought control. Obviously, the media itself has been in on the whole thing too, but then we already knew that.

The Biden administration confirmed that they are indeed coming after your free thought, the ability to ask questions and be skeptical, and truth in general as they seek to bury anything that doesn’t fit with their narrative. It even doubled down on Friday by saying, essentially, that your freedom of speech and free thought didn’t matter if it didn’t fit with the information they want you to have.

I have seen that the government is exploring the possibility of injecting themselves (see what I did there?) into your private text conversations to also combat misinformation. Though they deny that is really the intention, it can’t be too far off if they are battling people making choices of their own free will to not get the vaccine.

Soon, there will be people showing up at your door (if you aren’t vaccinated) to lecture you on the need to get vaccinated. As the Biden admin and Dr. Fauci state, it’s not the government doing this but “trusted” community activists who will be at your door to harass you. No, they aren’t government goons yet, but that could be down the road when you choose not to follow the silly government restrictions for operating your business or whatever.

I supposed life will continue to get uncomfortable for those who like to think skeptically and for themselves. The effort being put forth to control where you go, what you do, how you do it, and when you do it OR what you say, when you say it, how you say it, and where you say it is totally unprecedented in our history.

If you believe that the government (no matter who is in control) has your best interest in mind, your are sadly mistaken.

Only YOU have your best interest in mind and if you are letting others control what you believe and how to believe it, then you will lose your ability to have your best interest in mind.

You are giving up control and you won’t get it back.

Virtue signals?

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You have probably noticed a weird trend on social media these days. Weird, or is it just empty virtue signaling? There is a lot of virtue signaling going on these days for quite a lot of various subjects. What do you think about people doing things or saying things just so they can appear to be better than you or others? Are you down with that? Are you doing it?

The trend of which I speak has to do with the virtue signaling of posting pictures or videos of getting the COVID vaccination. Surprisingly, people I didn’t expect to see this from are actually doing it too.

Is it that you think by letting people know you have the vaccine that they will somehow think more of you? That you are meeting with their approval? That you are better than me or someone else because you have complied with social demands to do so? Have you succumb to peer pressure and in turn now become the peer pressurer?

Do you post about when you get the flu shot?

Do you post your taking your blood pressure meds?

Do you post about your hepatitis treatments?

Do you post that you were vaccinated against the chicken pox, mumps, measles, diphtheria, rubella, or other childhood vaccinations?

Do you post about other medical issues?

Yes, getting the COVID vaccine is a personal choice, but does that mean we broadcast those medical personal choices to everyone? If not, then why are you doing so with this?

Perhaps you should check your motivations.

What virtue, exactly, are you signaling? By broadcasting it, are you signaling that you actually support the “vaccine passport” that would supposedly allow you to get into public events, other countries, and the like? Isn’t that a sort of medical discrimination? Do you support that too?

I doubt many people actually care whether you have your shot or not. It’s your choice to get it, or not. I don’t care. I don’t care about this one and I don’t care about any of the others.

Keep it to yourself. No one actually has a need to know.

Virtual over the shoulder

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In my line of work, I do a lot of “virtual over the shoulder” looking at a client’s computer. It’s the best way to help them troubleshoot issues they have in the software and we can help them (sometimes “holding their hand”) as work through processes to get the data they need. This is, of course, with their permission.

The matter is entirely different when you haven’t explicitly authorized a computer/mobile operating system, app, or browser, to look over your shoulder virtually while you use a device. Instead they collect more and more data about what you do and where you go, all in the name of providing information and data to people who want to sell you things (or have other motivations).

I am getting more and more wary of the intrusiveness that we have allowed, mostly without a fight. We just accept it.

So, I have started looking at alternative browsers that provide more of the privacy that we should want, but moreover expect. I have used Chrome for years and years, both personally and at work. However, as more information comes to light about business practices and intrusiveness (even the “incognito” mode tracks you) it becomes harder and harder to accept.

Transitioning to something different is difficult because you inevitably are going to be asked to sacrifice something in the trade-off. Weighing all those factors becomes somewhat of a challenge since there are benefits with the varying products that are out there. The nagging question is always, “What’s the best way to go from here? Am I making the right choice?” It’s a question I haven’t been able to settle as I look at the different options.

So, what say you?

Are you on a similar journey and what are you finding? Have you taken steps to move browsers and what did you consider as you did so?

Tell me what you are considering, or considered if you have already made the move.

Ad-versary

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Facebook, you are doing it to yourself. The revolt against you and your policies, oh and your very very underhanded and sneaky use of people’s data, are going to do you in. You still have an audience, but people are growing tired of being suspicious of everything you do in the background and they just want some safety and privacy from your all invasive practices.

No one wants to be bombarded by advertising. No one wants to be tracked everywhere they physically go and no one wants to be tracked where they go digitally either. So, this little deal you got going on here shouldn’t fool too many people…except that it likely will.

Perhaps Apple is actually trying to protect people and their data. Perhaps they are just making room for their own tracking and advertising. I haven’t a clue. But what I do know, is that I like the way Apple has shown that they are trying to protect people’s data. That goes a long way in trust, something Facebook doesn’t have and likely won’t have (for sure from me).

Facebook is scrambling to adjust over new alerts coming from Apple in the near future that will let people adjust how they get advertising from Facebook by opting out of tracking (or in, depending on how you view this approach). In essence, it will block tracking data so you don’t get “personalized” ads. I am all for that!

Actually, I don’t like ads at all. I’d rather not have my feed filled with ads that some company thinks I might be interested in. I could totally do without. I’d even consider paying a small fee to go ad free. But, at the same time, if I am going to pay a fee to not see ads I would also expect that I am not going to be censored for my views, thoughts, beliefs, etc.

Apple and Facebook have taken an adversarial approach to how they are going to work together and I like it. Big tech and other companies should have to fight over customers and the more people make them work for their dollars the better off we are as consumers. But we as consumers need to be smart about how we give our business to these companies in order to make them compete for it, otherwise we get all-encompassing monopolies who then dominate the marketplace and make up new rules and charge ridiculous fees because they have no one to oppose them.

I like what Apple is doing here. I hope they aren’t just trying to make space for their own scheme. But for now, I am glad to see Facebook about to take it in the nose for their privacy and data collection practices.

They actually deserve it.

Testing, testing…

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Well, I went through the surreal experience of being tested for Covid today.

As I said yesterday, I don’t think this is anything more than a summer cold.

But, out of the abundance of caution for the family members that I may have exposed since this thing hit me on Saturday, I went and got tested. For peace of mind’s sake, I do want to know if I have exposed my parents and I do want to know if I need to let my dad know since he is wanting to go visit his mom. Plus, there are other family members that we can’t be too careful with as well.

So, through the stupid maze of traffic cones I went, stopping at two different tents set up by the state of Washington and the county. First the questions tent, then the swab tent. It didn’t take long, but it does feel like its all unnecessary.

Anyway, I’ll know whether I am negative (by nature, you already know that is true if you follow this blog!! LOL) or if I am positive (highly unlikely, medically or personality wise) in about 72 hours.

Which should I hope for?

Need to know

red and yellow stop sticker

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“You’re on a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.”

The above phrase gets tossed around a lot, but there are actual times when it applies. Yesterday, I ran into an instance from my employer that seems to fit this to a T.

The admin assistance to our department director came around with a new form to fill out. It supposedly is something that we have filled out previously and supposedly only has one line changed on the whole document. The supposed change is “to comply with federal grant requirements.” The added line really isn’t the issue for me though.

The document is basically a “driver screening” risk management form. I get that in order for me to drive a company vehicle, they have to ask certain questions and it is expected that I report certain details should circumstances require the necessity to do so. That isn’t really an issue for me. I understand the necessity of such a screening. HOWEVER…

The document goes on to ask about information that I believe is totally unnecessary and, quite frankly, a violation of my privacy by asking about my personal vehicle. As in, should I drive my personal vehicle during work hours and on work time. The document is asking for the kind of vehicle I drive and license plate (why would it matter what vehicle I drive if it is my vehicle?), what insurance company I use and the policy number (with specific amounts of coverage); it requires to inform my employer if I drop expected level of insurance to a lower level, and expects me to waive all rights as an employee if on company time and there is an accident in my personal vehicle.

Does this sound invasive? Is this typical? Do you willingly give your employer information they don’t really need?

Yes, there is travel required as part of my job. Yes, I do prefer to drive my personal vehicle instead of the crappy company cars. But, the requirements of this document are “part of my continued employment” with the company, as though the document and my driving my vehicle have anything to do with my job performance and skills as a trainer and software analyst.

A big part of me bristles as this whole thing. I can accept that my employer needs to know certain things about me, but I don’t accept that they need to know everything about me.

I partially joked with a co-worker who was feeling the same way as I was yesterday that it won’t be long and they’ll be asking for our homeowner’s insurance policies since we telecommute several days a week.

I can see the future, and I don’t like it.