Cultureguru's Weblog

Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Unequal access to information

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I’ve been noticing this trend…

On the one hand, it seems, corporations feel they can use our personal information for whatever purpose. For example, Facebook declares that privacy is so passé, and why should anything stand in the way of them selling us stuff? And insurance company decide they can run credit checks on their clients, and raise their house insurance rates accordingly—without any prior consent.

On the other hand, governments and related agencies have to be fought tooth and nail to release information in the public interest:

  • The Conservatives would not release files on Afghan detainees to members of Parliament, our representatives, until ordered to do so by the house speaker.
  • All media coverage of court appearances related to Victoria (Tori) Stafford’s murder trial has been banned. (Apparently, even commenting on stories about the ban has been banned. So don’t comment on the ban here, please. I guess.)
  • Though ordered to disclose the files on Ashley Smith, the young woman who killed herself as guards at the correctional institute watched, Corrections Canada has refused, saying they will appeal. In this case, note that Ashley Smith herself first requested her own files, and was supposed to get them within 30 days. Corrections gave themselves a 30-day extension from that, but didn’t meet that deadline, either. 123 days after the request, Ashley Smith died.

So corporations can use our personal information however they see fit, but we are not allowed to know what is being done in our name by our politicians, military, courts, and corrections.

Seems like someone should get upset about this, or something.

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