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Bill Kalmar

Quality Insider

Your Privacy Is Not Private

It’s a brave new transparent world

Published: Monday, October 13, 2014 - 14:20

We live in a world where virtually nothing is private anymore. There are Internet search engines that allow people to determine our addresses, our home and cell phone numbers, our marital statuses, our employment records, our credit ratings, and the types of cars we drive. Recently, there was an incident that affected millions of iPhone users that pointed out just how little privacy and security we have. Let me explain.

What was supposed to be a courtesy gift to music lovers from Apple turned into a public relations nightmare for the company. It seems that a new album by the group U2 was downloaded free of charge to millions of iPhone users. I first noticed it one morning as I turned on my music app for my daily run. Along with my own list of songs, there were numerous songs from U2’s album titled Songs of Innocence. I’m not a U2 fan, and so I tried, unsuccessfully, to delete the songs. Several days later, when scores of people vented their disdain and discomfort from having the album on their iPhones, Apple provided a link explaining how to delete the album. After several tries I was finally able to erase the U2 songs.

Would I be so incensed if Apple had provided a new Barry Manilow or Barbra Streisand album to my iPhone? The answer is an unequivocal yes! What is disturbing is that a company such as Apple has the power to place information or music on my iPhone. Having demonstrated that, what prevents the company from downloading X-rated material or political commentary onto my iPhone? That’s the scary part—it just illustrates that we have little influence or power over the type of information that can be sent to our iPhones or laptops.

While I am on the subject of privacy, I continue to be troubled by the number of solicitation calls we receive on our home and cell phones. Even enrolling in the Do Not Call Registry does not guarantee that calls will be blocked. Heck, we continue to get calls from some company that wants to offer us a free medical alert system along with $1,000 in store coupons. Yeah, right! Each time we get the call from a different phone and caller ID, I ask for the agent’s name, and then the call is immediately cancelled. Does that sound like a company that anyone would want to do business with? I think not.

Of course, even registering on the Do Not Call list doesn’t restrict political or charitable calls. At this time of the year, with the November elections in the forefront, those political calls are reaching a crescendo. I always respond by saying that we will not vote for anyone who calls our home. Insofar as charitable calls go, I tell callers that my accountant has informed us that we have given our limit for the year. However, the charitable solicitation calls continue to arrive. We even received a call recently from a children’s leukemia charity in New Jersey, although we live in the Midwest. It’s obvious that our phone numbers and addresses are common knowledge, which is even more disturbing.

Now if I can just get that drone that’s hovering over our home to move on....


About The Author

Bill Kalmar’s picture

Bill Kalmar

William J. Kalmar has extensive business experience, including service with a Fortune 500 bank and the Michigan Quality Council, of which he served as director from 1993 through 2003. He served on the Board of Overseers of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and has been a Baldrige examiner. He was also named quality professional of the year by the ASQ Detroit chapter. Now semiretired, Kalmar does freelance writing for several publications. He is a member of the USA Today Vacation Panel, a mystery shopper for several companies, and a frequent presenter and lecturer.