Tag Archives: privacy

FaceBook takes on Apple

This is the battle of the Titans. Two of the largest companies in the world are at odds. Apple announced a new feature starting with a soon to be released update … a feature that lets you control who tracks you.

You know what I’m talking about. You Google something, say a review on a baby gift you are buying a friend who is having their first child. Next thing you know, baby ads pop up on everything … news’ app will mention baby seats … you have Oshkosh B’gosh ads on Twitter … Luvs diapers ads on Facebook. And I can’t prove it, but I would wager they are even listening. Talk to your wife about taking a vacay, and next thing you see are Disney World ads on your opening splash page.

Big Brother is here.

In this world, Apple now will require its apps to ask for permission before tracking users. They will also have to provide details about the data they collect. Hmmm, giving control of your privacy to you. Doesn’t seem bad. And add extra layers of transparency. Doesn’t sound bad at all.

FaceBook was not pleased. A multi-million dollar response. Full page ads in the largest newspapers. Calling Apple anti-small-business … threat to a free internet … killer of small businesses.

Tim Cook could’ve responded with sarcasm, could’ve ranted on Twitter, could’ve upped the ante with a harsh comeback. But that’s not what he did. He waited and gave a simple one paragraph press release giving the reasoning behind Apple’s direction.

One author claimed Cook’s response was a perfect example of a person of high emotional intelligence (EI). EI is recognizing how you respond to something, evaluate your thoughts, emotions, and feelings that lead to your response, and make wise and intentional choices on how you will respond.

Low EI people will have knee-jerk reactions. They will shoot first and ask questions second. They will rant and post and demand what they ‘think’ is right without considering all the factors, all the circumstances, and all the point of views.

High EI peeps will look at all the details and also evaluate how their response will also be taken. Basically, they will quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

This response is nothing groundbreaking. The brother of Jesus wrote about this 2000 years ago (James 1.19). But this wisdom is often neglected today. I’m not saying people are low intelligence, but we often behave with low emotional intelligence.

I wonder what 2021 would be like if people took James’s advice and acted a bit more like Tim Cook did in this present battle of the Titans? What a wonderful world this would be.

Forget everyone else … how will you reposed to things in 2021?

Post Script … I think FB will lose this battle, and that’ll be tough for the Z man. And maybe it’ll help all of us that use the web. I’ll keep on using my Apple products.

Messing With Scammers

Image result for internet scammersI got a text in the last hour from a source who said they were Verizon and that my phone data and phone account is now locked. I needed to contact a specific number. Now, considering my recent awareness and update of my data plan, I simply knew this was not the case. So I thought of calling them back using a different number (like the church’s fax line – do we have a fax line?) or a pay phone. But I don’t think Evergreen, Virginia has a pay phone. I was going to call and just give a lot of bogus info just to mess with them.

Interestingly, a recent poll said a lot of people trust phone companies to protect their privacy. I mean Apple has some great security procedures. What a majority of Americans don’t trust is social media platforms. There are a lot of reasons to be weary of social media apps – and some just has to do with idiotic postings of ranters and idgits. Some has to do with obvious slants of the businesses themselves. And some are just tired of the cat videos – I mean, how many do you have to see to realize dog videos are simply better. But a big issue is privacy. What do they do with your information? Who has access to your account? Are the pictures you post yours, everyones, or now the property of FaceBook? And how come items I delete seem to reappear? And it seems every update makes me redo security settings?

After National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed details about government surveillance programs starting in 2013, 30% of adults said they took steps to hide or shield their information and 22% reported they had changed their online behavior in order to minimize detection. (from Pew Research) Here are some basics you can do to help security while using these sites ..
– Keep checking your privacy settings regularly
– Always create strong passwords and use different passwords for different sites
– Ensure that people you connect to/follow/add as friend must be known to you
– Always analyze your post before posting
– Never enter/ click suspicious links
– Never forget to set up your security answers
– Always keep an anti-virus installed and updated on your computer/ phone
– Never leave a site logged in

But what does all this mean in our life when we look for a positive use of social media. Relevant Media had a great article on 8 things Christians need to do more of on social media. Here they are …
1 – strive for connection, not attention
2 – be transparent, but not too transparent
3 – ask yourself: could I say this same thing in front of someone?
4 – don’t buy into the “Say what needs to be said” culture
5 – learn to listen better
6 – avoid stirring the pot with the articles you share
7 – no racist comments
8 – avoid being mean to bloggers

Social media is a great tool – just be cautious. And through it all – do it all for the glory of God.

See you tomorrow.

Who’s That Peeking Through My Window?


The other day, at my fav Appomattox breakfast spot – Granny Bee’s – I was talking to one of the morning regulars who said he needed to run by and work on some plumbing. at my house/parsonage. Ned S had contacted him about a slow draining tub. I said this was great, when should I be there to let him in. He said he had a key. Let me say that again, he said he already had a key. I responded with the question, “Does everybody in this town have a key to my house?” He said probably. Then we laughed.

Now, I know that everybody does not have key. But there is something about privacy, or lack there of, here in this little community. Maybe it is because everybody knows everybody – or that many are related by birth or marriage – or that’s may just be the way heartland America is. I have no issue for I truly have nothing to hide. Well, mostly nothing. I am not super excited if people are found peeking through my windows. But if you were to look at me, I know you will quickly discover I am messed up. I have a messy life … not in a ‘socks on the floor’ type messy (though Lisa is more the OCD one on cleanliness in our house). But my blog is titled Muddy Shoes – and my shoes, your shoes, my life, and your life gets messy. Do we want people to see that or do we try to hide who we really are?

Maybe being in Dallas and Richmond and other metropolitan areas has made me more inclined to being private. I barely knew my neighbors and they were just a few feet away at the apartment complexes.

I once read an article (long ago, don’t know where, don’t ask me to find it) that architecture was changing when it comes to home preferences. Front porches were disappearing and bathrooms are getting bigger. Fences are more for privacy than animal control.

When you hide in your residence, close your blinds to the world, and never interact – how can you help?
How can others know when you need help?

But you know, I kind of like it when everybody knows each other, shows concern for each other, and shares life together. The best place that should be seen is the local church. That should be the way church operates. Not an in your face, nosy, intrusive, or pushy way – but truly concerned and interested. The early church helped those in need. When you hide in your residence, close your blinds to the world, and never interact – how can you help? How can others know when you need help?

People often visit churches and think – Wow, these people have it all together … Or – I could never fit in there, for I feel too messed up. When we really get to know each other, drop the masks and let people in to our real world, we see we need each other.
Privacy can be healthy in some regards, but it can be unhealthy too.

For the next couple of days, I want to explore this. I will share some of my thoughts on privacy in our culture versus our deep desire for connection. Where does technology come in? Where do we draw a line? As I ponder these issues, I invite you back.

See you tomorrow – but online, not peering through your windows. Or will I be?