Cookies, both Real and Virtual

It was understandable, but a bit un-nerving. A while back, Sesame Street introduced a new concept. Cookie Monster was waiting for a batch of cookies to finish baking, and someone offered him a plate of vegetables. Vegetables. Again, vegetables. I understand the health factor, the influence a stuffed puppet has on young minds (I still want to play the drums like Animal), and the need for a healthy diet. But this is Cookie Monster.

But I digress, this is not about real cookies from the kitchen, but about cookies on your computer, tablet, and phone. Privacy. Internet privacy.

I am not going to talk about how they keep your information, nor about the laws that are supposed to protect those that use the internet, or ways to clean or wipe your server (and I don’t mean with a cloth … haha). Nor am I going to talk how we basically ignore privacy notices and just click we “read” the notice. I mean how many of us really read the 22 page iTunes privacy notice or just checked “read” cause we wanted our songs?

Have you noticed how you search for something online (say rain boots for your wife) and the next thing you know, ads start appearing everywhere you browse – ads for rain boots. Cookies, internet fingerprints, tracking pixels, and iPad addresses are being collected – and don’t think any setting will stop it all. Yes, crime gets the headlines, but most online collecting of our data is done legally for marketing purposes.

Now, this topic is serious. Recently, one of our church members had their identity stolen. A serious event in one’s life. It has caused frustration and much effort to remedy the situation, and it still hasn’t been completely fixed. They do not know where the theft took place, but they see the result.

There are stories of the home devices recording what you say. The renewed sitcom Murphy Brown showed how this happens and we don’t even realize it. And don’t believe it when they say pictures disappear. Snapchat says every picture sent over their app is saved on their servers. Every picture. Applying for a job? They will search for your online fingerprint – even from childhood. 1984 is not just in the past people. (Literary reference for those who are confused at that last statement.). Use Facebook? They know everything.

Enough doom and gloom. Let me put a more serious spin … in everything we do in life, there is always someone taking notice. Let me rephrase that … there is always Someone taking notice. The difference is a capital S.

For God will bring every deed into judgment,including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Ecc 12.14

That should scare us. Every deed. Every act. Every thing. Very sobering. But you know what is comforting? The gospel. For those who believe in Him, He no longer sees our mistakes, our blunders, our messiness, our sin. That is now covered and cleaned by the righteousness of Christ. The judgement of our ugliness was paid for at Calvary. The depth of our muddy life has been cleaned by the sacrifice on the cross – once and for all. And when God looks at His children, He sees one clothed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness.

So yes, take online privacy serious. Parents, don’t pass on your responsibility as your kids begin to go online at younger and younger ages. Website administrators, take this serious for yourself and your site visitors. Teens, take this serious. Know the apps you use and what they do with your information.

This issue will not disappear … just like the information they gather about you. So be aware. But in the eternal scope, know there is a loving and gracious God who, although He knows our every deed – good and bad – He provides a remedy for our shortfalls and mistakes. That is good news … that is the Gospel.

More meanderings on my thoughts of privacy early next week. See ya then.


Article on myths we believe about online privacy … here

Article on some ways to protect your privacy … here

Just for future inquiries … my fav cookies are oatmeal chocolate chip. And so far, Jeannette Pendleton has the the top spot on my taste test scores

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