Weekly Editorial 6/13/13



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Time for privacy talk

Recent news the National Security Agency is collecting massive amounts of data on cell phone and Internet users was shocking only in that America was so shocked.

In this day and age of constant online and cellular communication, it’s been assumed for years that someone — maybe not the government, but someone out in the vast network of cyberspace — was keeping track of what we’ve been up to. And with the passage of such laws as the Patriot Act, it should be no secret the government has taken broad steps to monitor communication channels both within and outside our borders.

But while the revelation of the government’s snooping shouldn’t have come as a surprise, it should serve as a wake-up call to all of us about just how much privacy we’ve given up in exchange for living in today’s information-crazed world.

With the advent of the Internet, we entered a new and exciting future that has delivered innovations beyond our wildest dreams. If someone described the powers of an iPhone to you in say, 1984, they would have been talking pure science fiction. Only a couple short decades ago, the only way to communicate with someone was via landline or letter. If you needed to find out a piece of information, you had to either seek out an expert or go to the library and find a book.

Today these concepts are laughable, the remnants of an antique world that’s already becoming difficult to remember.

But with the incredible convenience telecommunications and the Internet have brought us, we’ve given something valuable away. No longer are we able to live our lives in quiet anonymity. No longer is personal privacy something we can take for granted. Even if you have no Facebook friends and can’t tell a tweet from a text, you’re still connected somehow to the grid, you’re still a part of the Information Superhighway.

Whether it’s private corporations or international spy agencies collecting data about us, there’s always the chance the data will be abused. Sure, if you’re doing nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to worry about. But that’s not really the point, is it? After all, do you really want the U.S. government or Apple deciding what you should do with your personal life or how you should raise your family?

Our modern age has presented us with unique gifts that have in many ways created a vastly smarter and more social society than any we’ve known. But there is clearly an urgent need to begin a dialogue on how much further we want to go in our quest for a world of endless access to information.

 

A day for Dad

We’d like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Summertime is when fathers are really called upon. Whether it’s guiding family excursions or putting together a new swing set, there’s always plenty of tasks that just seem to have the name “Dad” written all over them this time of year.

Dads are busy guys when the sun starts shining, yet the good ones always seem to find time to do just one more thing — even if that one thing is mowing the yard at 10 p.m.

However, the reason the yard has to get mowed so late is often because dad’s time was spent helping the kids with their baseball swing or scout troop during the rest of his day. Or it’s because he was helping fix a flat tire on a bike or throwing more hot dogs on the grill.

Dads don’t always get the recognition they deserve for all this extra time, so it’s nice we take one summer Sunday to say thanks to the “old man,” “padre” or “pops” in our lives who have given up countless sunny afternoons to help their kids grow.

Thanks, dads.

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