Priva (shhhhhh) cy 101

Every day I get an email from another company advising me of their privacy policy, that as of a soon-coming date, they had to let me know that to be compliant with some governmental regulations, I had to agree to their revised, updated, new terms of service. I don't even have to click a box. I don't have to sign anything. I just have to agree by using their application or their store's credit card or something by the next date.

I'm weary just re-reading that first paragraph.
I'm weary of receiving these legal mumbo-jumbo notifications.

They came from eBay, from the Sydney Morning Herald, from Twitter, and the grocery store Coles here in Australia.

I appreciate the law and the legal requirements and compliance. Even in Jews for Jesus we have established to assure people from the European Union that we are compliant with GDPR and our exposure to lawsuits is nil. Phew.

What about Joseph James De'Angelo of California? An illegal but effective use of information obtained from specifically the DNA data brought this 30-year-old cold case to boiling point.

According to this website, the suspect, "72-year-old Mr DeAngelo, was arrested earlier this week in connection with the famously unsolved serial rape and murder case, which included as many as 50 confirmed rapes and 12 murders over a 10-county area in California between 1974 and 1986. DeAngelo worked as a police officer for a six-year period during the most active part of the investigation."

How legal is it for police to use or companies to sell information obtained from non-compliant privacy abusers? says, "But this manner of DNA collection, and its use in criminal cases, is also controversial. Matching DNA markers against large databases can often lead to misleading results because many specific markers can be shared by a large swath of the population. Also at issue are concerns of privacy, informed consent — especially given how confusing the terms of use are on many DNA collection websites — and the long-term ramifications of having a DNA profile on file with law enforcement, even if you submit voluntarily to being swabbed.

(Currently, a 2008 law known as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA, prevents a scenario in which insurance companies or other private businesses could deny service or otherwise discriminate against you on the basis of your DNA profile.)"

I guess that's why the daily barrage of company emails is so important just now. After Facebook was caught out earlier this year with 87 million of its membership exposed to Cambridge Analytica due to a security breach, privacy became a more significant issue than ever before.

The same thing happened a few years ago when Ashley Madison, an American dating website that helped people cheat on their spouses, was hacked. Two years later the company agreed to an $11.2 million settlement for approximately 37 million users whose personal details were exposed in that massive data breach. Though the parent company of Ashley Madison, Ruby Corp., denied any wrongdoing, the company pledged to pay around $3,500 to each of the hack's victims for the settlement.

This issue of privacy has become the lynch pin in most political speeches of late, and a turning point for concerns about terrorist organizations and who knows or knew what?  Who knew what and could have stopped the Columbine boys from rampaging and killing 20 years ago? The FBI had files on certain gunmen like Nikolas Cruz. The FBI revealed in February this year, that it had received at least two separate tips about this 19-year-old charged with killing 17 people at his former high school in Parkland, Florida. The first tip came five months before. However, the FBI said agents were unable to link the tip to Cruz at the time. In the second tip, made six weeks before the shooting, the bureau admitted protocol was not followed and the information was never investigated. 

We want security and we want privacy. 

Settling the issue is not going to be easy. We want protection, but we don't want Big Brother. 

God knows what we need from government and from companies. Think about it. If you didn't ever cheat on your wife, you wouldn't worry about Madison's information leak. If you didn't say wrong things on FB, that data dump would not have caused you worry. Keeping God's Word in our heart allows us to have His words on our lips and thus we will have nothing about which to be ashamed.

Yeshua said, "What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear,  proclaim upon the housetops." (Matt 10.27) Again he warned, "For nothing is hidden that shall not become evident, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light." (Luke 8.17)

I'm not diminishing the controversy and the legal realities. I'm saying that if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, our soul, mind and strength, and if we love our neighbours as ourselves... we will have nothing about which to be ashamed. 

As we glimpse the true nature of our spiritual and moral bankruptcy, we can only wonder what kind of God this is who can not only stand to see and know it all, but who patiently and mercifully works in us, and with us, toward turning these dreadful liabilities into song. God is surely for us.

In fact, our lips will proclaim the excellencies of Him who is the Light. We will live in the Light. Shadows are not our home. He is our Home. It's all about a relationship with the One who knows all things about us, and LOVES US just as we are.  

I'm going to shout that from my housetop just now.


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