Our life histories being recorded

What do we know about ourselves?
Even before we are born, medical records are being created about our well-being. Our earliest pictures are ultrasounds, which excited moms and dads post on Facebook.
From scrapes and fractures to colds, sniffles, and tonsils, everything goes into our files. As adults, pregnancies, weight, and other afflictions are added, along with X-rays, CT scans, and surgeries.
Paralleling those records, schools gather information about us from the first day of junior kindergarten through to high school graduation. If we play athletics, then our participation in hockey, swimming, figure skating, curling, football, basketball, and volleyball, etc. is recorded.
All of our banking, stock trading, and insurance functions are tracked.
We don’t think about all of those things too often. Everyone tells us that the privacy rules prevent disclosure of our personal information and security systems are present to prevent hacking.
With the creation of huge database computer systems, every major retailer in the world tracks our purchases. We provide them with a telephone number or e-mail address, which easily are swapped between major corporations.
Our shopping patterns are catalogued.
The retailers then sell that information to aggregators of personal shopping patterns. Those loyalty cards and credit cards track every purchase. Patterns are found, and then retailers contact us through e-mail making offers that we find difficult to resist.
One may wonders why books, jewellery, or clothing are identified for you.
With the advent of cellphones, retailers have the ability today to track your movements in their stores to see what displays cause you to pause. It is seldom used, but the GPS function makes it possible.
Parents even can track the movements of their children with the GPS signal of smartphones.
Bell, Telus, Shaw, and Rogers track what television programs their customers watch, and what uses their customers are making of the web.
Is it any wonder why international governments are using these techniques to track individuals and world leaders? We hear that the leaders of Spain, Germany, France, and other nations are appalled at being spied upon and that private conversations are being recorded from leaders’ cellphones.
I suspect that it is more theatre than outrage. From earliest times, spying always has been part of business and government strategy. Spying has been used against all nations, and in Canada we have CSIS, a government agency, which looks to defeat spies and protect Canadian interests.
It is to protect Canadians from other governments spying on Canada and protect Canadians from terrorists, whether home-grown or international.
We know, as a fact, that the United States monitors phone calls from all over the world. They probably are monitoring Canadian calls, too.
And it becomes easy for nations to intercept e-mails, when the movement of e-mails is scattered to reach the final destination. They can be picked up and traced back to the originating computer or phone.
Any nation has the ability to track us and discover our financial, health, education, and lifestyle information. Against all the security in the world, nations can spy on us.
And our records make it valuable for hackers to also break through firewalls to grab our data.
For most of us, our information is not all that valuable.
If we were to gather all the information that is stored about us, we would have a lot of reading to do. We might enjoy remembering about buying that first car, or moving into a first home having qualified for a mortgage.
We might not enjoy being reminded about a speeding ticket, or missing a credit card payment, or of having our children discover that we were not the best students.
But our life histories have been recorded—even if we can’t remember much of them.

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