Monday, June 22, 2009

Information Highway

If you are somewhere around my age, you may remember a TV show called "I've Got A Secret".
Each round was a guessing game where the panel tried to determine a contestant's "secret". The concept of a "secret" was fairly wide reaching. Secrets were always intended to be unusual, amazing, embarrassing or humorous. They commonly included such types as something which happened to a person, owning something, or an occupation, hobby, achievement or skill.
One or more contestants would enter. The host would introduce the contestant or ask their name and hometown. He would then ask them to "whisper your secret to me, and we'll show it to the folks at home." The contestant would then ostensibly whisper their secret to the host, while the audience and viewers were shown the secret via text overlay on the screen. Then the host would give the panel a clue, for example, "the secret concerns something that happened to [Contestant's Name]." The host would then select a panelist to begin questioning. This show stayed on the air for about 15 years. It aired in 1952 and ended in 1967. I remember watching it off and on over the years it was aired, and thought it was just an ok show. The thing I didn't like about it was that the viewers at home knew the guest's secret. We were only entertained by watching the panelists try to guess the secret. Kind of boring.
I think I would trade "boring" now for what appears to be an invasion of privacy.... to me anyway. I went last week to check into getting a lower insurance rate for us on cars, etc. I was floored when all I gave the man was my name and social security number (not even my husbands) and he pulled up everything he needed to know. There was so little conversation or exchange of information via paperwork . It all happened within about 30 minutes. He simply made a few comments as he saw all of our personal business before him on the computer screen. "Aww...your birthday is coming up soon." "So you had some hail damage in 06" He pulled up a drawing of our home and just verified everything about our home that he could already see on the screen. I once had to have a back ground check several years ago for employment and breathed a sigh of relief when I cleared. (Not that I am a criminal mind you...ha) You also have to get clearance now if you want to tour The White House, which we did a few years ago. We got clearance I mean, but we never got to go on our trip.
Another thing that happened last week was that I had showed up for a Doctor's appointment to the wrong building. When I asked a receptionist about it she told me that Dr. had moved and said she would call them to let them know I would be a little late. All I gave her was my name. I get in the car and my cell phone rings and it was the receptionist letting me know she got a hold of the Dr.'s office and told them I would be late. I wondered how she knew my cell no. She found it on the computer, through my files at that location. I know that... but it just seems weird that things can be found out so quickly and easily via the information highway these days.
I hope we are heading in the right direction with all of this. It really scares me sometimes if I think about it too long.
A future game show could be called "I Know Everything About You". How could that be any fun though. No mysteries left to solve. Does this mean I won't be able to enjoy my favorite mystery novels.

9 comments:

Rudee said...

There are no mysteries anymore, are there? George Orwell wasn't far off when he wrote 1984. It's here. I can look up just about anything I want on my patients. In this way, it promotes continuity of care, but I'm not so sure I want anyone else looking at everything about me.

Reader Wil said...

Big brother is watching you!! Isn't it frightening? Everything and anything is known. Very good post!

Gramma Ann said...

I agree, if we dwell on this for too long it does become a bit scary.

I discovered this a year or so ago that if you googled someones name it tells where they live and as you found out, to much information that the ordinary person doesn't need to know. I was simply amazed. I put googled my name and sure enough it gave my address also. I kind of find that scary...

Winifred said...

Had you any insurance with the company before Brenda? If not where did they get the information?

I'm a bit confused as to why they needed your social security number. Is your social security number the equivalent to our National Insurance number? I think the only people who would be able to access that info are government and health departments. Private companies wouldn't be able to access it or any government information. Well as far as I know! However maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe all these computers have suddenly started talking to themselves and shared all our personal details.

Renie Burghardt said...

I remember "I've Got a Secret!" But you are right, there aren't too many secrets anymore. And I tell ya, someone puts my name into a search engine, and they get way too much information, besides my writing work. That is scary to me! Never know who is lurking out there, in cyber land! I just got a notice from PIPL that I'm listed with them. Where I live, etc. I don't like it one bit! I wish I wouldn't be listed in it!!!

Besides Big Brother, the Search Engine is watching you, too!

It so darn hot today!

Hugs,

Renie

Patty said...

Yes, sometimes it is a little scary, knowing how much someone can find out things about a person, if they know how to go about doing so.

I use to love the I've Got A Secret Show. I wish they had more game shows like that on TV. At one time, when we had DISH, I got the Game Show Channel, alot of it was old reruns, but still fun to watch.

Brenda said...

Rudee,
Oh...I forgot about that book. Have to go find it. I would hope that the medical profession would benefit from this. When the computers fail though...what a mess that must be.

Wil,
Big brother is watching also. I don't think I know who that is. Yikes!

Ann,
I try not to think about it very much. It was just very noticeable this past week with what I had to do. I googled my name and was mad because my phone number was right there.

Winifred,
I think that our social security and your national insurance numbers are very similar. I am not 100% sure, but I think they are similar. Many years ago very few people knew each others social security numbers...not so anymore.

Renie,
It is HOT here too. I googled my name a little while ago, and it seems twitter and facebook are 2 big ways to collect info about us. Have you looked up your name lately. Makes me think I should get off facebook and twitter. I don't use them much at all anyway. Certainly don't need them.
I wonder if we could write them and tell them to not have us listed like that.

Patty,
I think I like some of the older game shows better than the newer ones. Remember "Lets make A Deal?"
And The Match Game?

BJ said...

I enjoyed your post today and I remembe watching I've Got a Secret! It was a fun show!

I think what scares me is that idenity theft is a big thing now. I went to some training on this and it makes you very apprehensive about giving anyone...anything. Our social security are attached to our names and can give anyone, all the information in the world. It is attached to your credit history and can be pulled up within seconds to find out a credit rating.

Yep...you can google your name and find yourself. The internet is good for many things. But it is also a scarey thing.

Sandy said...

Stay scared, at least stay aware because the loss of our rights are heading on the fast track to hell, if we don't somehow stop it!

Clifford 1994 to 2009

Clifford   1994 to 2009
The Best Dog Ever