The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Community News Network

December 25, 2013

Americans uneasy about surveillance but often use snooping tools

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Many Americans expressed similar concerns; the poll found that only 9 percent of Internet users are "very confident" that their efforts will protect their privacy. That lack of clarity drives some people to search for new ways to protect their information, while others shrug and conclude that they are powerless.

"What worries you is sometimes you don't know what the scope of it or the scale of it is," said Tarek El-Ghazawi, 55, a computer engineering professor and director of the High Performance Computing Lab at George Washington University's campus in Ashburn. "But you know you are giving up part of your life."

El-Ghazawi, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Egypt three decades ago and has seen many other societies through his travel for work, said that, by comparison, he trusts that the press, Congress and the courts will help curb the NSA's excesses.

"These are things that are missing in many countries," he said. "I'm not saying that the government is perfect. I'm just saying that the government may be self-correcting over time."

But he does not see similar protections against overreach by private companies. "They are trying to make a quick profit," he said, "and there's not a standard in terms of ethics."

Every time she goes to a CVS, Peggy Brown gets evidence that the drugstore tracks her purchases. The personalized discount offer she is handed with her receipt "shows that they know what medications I've gotten," she said. "And that bothers me more than what the government's doing, because they're doing things to protect us."

But Brown, 59 and a recent retiree from a job in a medical office, figures there is little the average person can do to protect personal data. "Everything just gets more and more exposed," she said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo