Internet cautions was Re: TECHWR-L ADD Therapy

Subject: Internet cautions was Re: TECHWR-L ADD Therapy
From: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2004 12:24:42 -0700

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Plato" <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>


> Revealing personal
> information, particularly medical information, can have very
> side-affects. Potential employers search the Internet, and your
comments are
> now enshrined for eternity in Google.

My first reaction to this was "Ve must march in uniforms." I've
been listening to shrill warnings about my privacy for decades
now, and it bugs me. I value what the internet stands for, as a
breakthrough of freedom in the exchange of ideas and information.
Certainly before the 'net became open to commerce, newsgroups
were the new pen pal's medium for intellectuals, and I have a
vestigal inclination to resist the suggestion that we need to
censor our free expressions. As long as we agree to a few rules
like "on topic", the good stuff naturally follows.

But I'm grudgingly aware that the party is over. The 'net is now
wide open to exploitative interests. The tip of this iceberg is
spam, and I believe there are some real implications for us vis a
vis employers and employment opportunities.

Even without the 'net, I know that some employers will get my
resume and begin evaluating me with a credit check. I've been
told by recruiters that some employers require the credit check,
and candidates will be dropped if the check reveals so much as an
overdue payment. We all, especially job seekers, need to be
aware and manage our credit records--it is a cinch for anyone to
find information there, and it might affect you in unexpected
ways. If I understand how to get someone else's credit reports
(and it is entirely possible that I don't), one needs little more
than someone's name and address to get their credit history,
social security number (US), names of other family members, etc.
Credit reporting agencies are the hyenas, lurking just outside
the flickering circle of light from our home fires!

On the other hand, medical history is protected by law (US), and
should not be openly available to anyone without permission. I
don't think that employers (US) can require job applicants to
reveal medical history.

If I get Andrew's drift, employers will also google the name on
your resume to see what kind of stuff you've posted to the 'net.
If a candidate has revealed personal medical history in a 'net
discussion, then the employer might find this information with
google, and assume things about the subject's medical bills,
which might lead them to conclude that this person will drive the
costs of group insurance up for the employer. With such
knowledge, they can avoid adding you and your expenses to their
stable of writers. Worse yet, insurance companies can do similar
things, even estimating your life span, or the future risks they
would assume if they insured your children (if you have a
genetically-transmitted medical condition). The ethics are not a
part of these processes. They're pre-ethical.

Someone with deeper background could tell us what other sort of
investigations are employed. For example, with a bit of software
and a network card in promiscuous mode, I can capture (copy) the
packets sent and received by other computers on my network
segment. The software assembles them, and I can then view the
files and stuff the other computers are sending and receiving.
What this implies for internet at large is a big
question--encryption can be broken, etc. Google apparently is
doing something like this with google email accounts--their
marketing side is reading the email, and matching the words to
keywords for products. Don't be surprised if you send an email
about a copy editing boo-boo and get an instant spam
advertisement offering the complete Yogi Bear cartoon collection
on DVD. Harmless?

> Furthermore, there are a lot of people who think ADD/ADHD is
one of those
> "modern illnesses" that is seriously over-diagnosed thanks to
profit hungry
> pharmaceutical and medical community and a "its not my fault"
culture. That's
> something to keep in mind when you post these things to a
public forum. Not
> everybody will read your posts and be sympathetic.

Of course, you're right about how people might think, but I'm not
clear why caution is advised. Am I missing something? How
unsympathetic are you talking about? Do I need to accomodate

> With that, I will leave you with my wisdom that will undoubtly
be misunderstood
> by a fair number of people...
> The truest measure of a person is how they overcome their
weaknesses, not how
> they wallow in them. Everybody has problems. Everybody has
illness. History is
> filled with examples of how people overcame their illnesses or
weaknesses to
> become great artists, scientists or leaders. Illness is not an
excuse, its a
> challenge.

Best advice I ever got was "Don't be a victim." It is open to
interpretation. "Seek help if you need it" is a wholesome
interpretation. I think it speaks strongly on behalf of the need
for problem solving skills.

> And with that, I go back to sifting through packet captures.

Spy. I knew it!

> Andrew Plato

Ned Bedinger
Ed Wordsmith Technical Communications Co.
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
tel: 360-434-7197
fax: 360-769-7059


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TECHWR-L ADD Therapy: From: Andrew Plato

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