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Generational Theft

01/31/2011

There has been much discussion recently how “The Greatest Generation” is stealing from succeeding generations with their generous government pensions, Social Security, and Medicare. There is indeed a surprising amount of resentment among young people about this.

Yet, they have lost something maybe even more important and don’t even realize it.

A few months ago, I found my American Express bill laying at my front door. The envelope had been opened. Even though there is nothing embarrassing in the statement, I felt violated at the loss of privacy. Shredding what little trust remained in the Postal Service, I’ve since converted most of my bills to online delivery.

But, how much privacy exists online? I also feel violated by “cookies” implanted in my computer so advertisers can track my movements. Whenever my IT guy is here, I ask to have my cookies removed carefully, so as not to remove my passwords. As a young person, he cannot understand why I don’t want the advertising I receive to be targeted toward my own interests.

My daughter voluntarily puts her life on Facebook . . . her whole life. Most members of that generation do the same thing. Everybody knows everything about them! I just don’t understand why privacy is so unimportant.

I remember the first time I went to New York City, when I moved among throngs of people on the streets; totally invisible to them. In the midst of so many, I felt so much privacy and actually enjoyed the sense of freedom. That is a joy my daughter and her generation have lost. While focusing on the generational theft, they gave up something more fundamental.

Oh, well . . . guess I’m getting old?

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