Friday, January 19, 2007

Letters to the Editor – January 19

Feedback is an important part of the newspaper business, knowing what opinions the reader may have of the articles, the world, or practically anything except television programming. Sometimes it is easy to get feedback as readers are prolific letter writers quick to give you opinions, and sometimes you have to really work to find out what they think.

Here at the Point most readers don’t write letters or comment. One might think so many are in the witness protection program they just don’t want to speak for the record. A few do shout comments to me when they are walking or driving by but I suspect most comments are exchanged between readers and more than a few are probably questioning the stories rather than the facts or opinions expressed.

Just the other day I was talking to Hillbilly Joe and asking him his thoughts on some pressing issues and I think I broke his brain. It wasn’t the outcome I expected. Perhaps we expect too much to think everyone should have an opinion on something. Dogman Joe might have the right approach, he doesn’t believe anything he reads or sees on the tube.

The most unusual letter I received was from the Devil judging by the comments and the links provided in response to our story on the End Times. The Devil was of the opinion, I guess, that I didn’t adequately explain both sides to the End Times discussion though his explanation would have filled several editions of the paper and shifted the balance way the other direction.

It is really odd the things you find on the Internet where the world of cyber space is based on electrical frequencies which don’t seem to be limited to the human dimension. As a reporter I appreciate the comments, even if they are from the Devil, everyone is entitled to their silly opinions.

The Internet itself is interested in your opinions, your actions, your everyday patterns of life. Did you know the Internet represents the greatest invasion of privacy since the over-zealous violation of individual protection laws under Homeland Security? Okay, how about since the banks and phone companies started selling your personal information?

Let me give you an example. I have firewalls, anti-virus, and layers of security systems on my pc so you would think I am protected. There are two kinds of cyber attacks on you, one designed to disable your system and the other designed to infiltrate your system and report back on your activity, records, documents, etc.

For a test I logged on to the Internet four times and checked my emails and promptly logged off each time. I then checked to see how many new cookies and files were created by Google, Yahoo and the cable high speed service providers during the few minutes I was actually on the internet. These files were sent to my computer without my consent and without notice from the companies for the sole purpose of tracking my activities or raiding the personal records on my pc.

The result, the first time I checked emails I had 382 tracking files created on my pc, the second time there were 130 files created, the third time there were 301 created and the fourth 184 files were left behind, a staggering total of 997 files generated on my pc to keep an eye on me in spite of numerous security systems including anti-spyware and anti-adware in just a matter of minutes.

Of course the scarier part is Big Brother has arrived and is alive and well but Big Brother is not even the government, is not loyal to governments, cannot be prosecuted for such invasions of privacy, and could care less what we think about their actions. In my opinion Internet companies are multinational, in fact global in scale, and have replaced the multinational oil companies and financial institutions as the biggest threat to the future rights and protections of citizens around the world.

I once wrote a three part report on Internet Security which I am going to add to this site just so you are adequately forewarned as you begin to wake up to the fact your rights, protections and security is being eroded at hyper speed and you have only one way to protect yourself from being a virtual cyber hostage, turn off the damn computer once and for all. Of course we won’t, God knows we might miss something important like Britney Spears is now wearing underpants or some such momentous event.

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