Protect Your Privacy By Becoming a Privacy Grouch

Digital Privacy: A Curmudgeon’s Guide

Do you feel it’s a losing battle trying to keep your information private? If you do, you’re smart. It’s impossible to live in our modern society without people knowing more about you than you’d like.

* Your doctor wants you to hand over your families’ health history and you social security number.

* The supermarket wants to track how often you buy frozen pizza.

* The government now wants your garbageman to report any suspicious behavior going on in your basement.

What’s the solution? Get grumpy. When people ask for information, say no. If they insist, ask for their manager. Ask why they need the information. Does this require some backbone? Yes it does. Just reach around with your arm. You’ll find you still have one.

David Holtzman, a privacy curmudgeon, as he puts it, says people respond in different ways to privacy concerns. His categories include the Curmudgeon, the Ignorer, the Avoider, the Deceiver and the Aggressor:

“Ignorers think that there is no problem; Avoiders go out of their way to not be in a situation where they have to give information; Deceivers deliberately give false information whenever possible; and Aggressors get indignant and talk about lawsuits or write nasty letters.”

Curmudgeons don’t lie or avoid privacy issues. They meet them head on. Here are his six guidelines for becoming a privacy grump. Some are extreme. Don’t feel bad if you don’t follow all of them. I don’t. Just realize that you are exchanging convenience for information:

* Just Say No – If the information requested doesn’t have anything to do with product or service you’re buying, just say no.

* Pay Up Front – When requesting medical services.

* Ask Why – If they answer, “the computer system requires the information”, ask again.

* Pay Cash – Cash transactions can’t be tracked.

* Don’t Use Wireless Devices – Cell phones and other devices can track and record your whereabouts.

* Don’t Use “Convenience Cards” – They are designed to track and analyze your purchasing habits.

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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