Monday, September 15, 2014

Week of 09/15/2014

Two-For-One Ignorance: The NFL and Cloud Celebs
I have two subjects that I want to talk about that really have one thing in common… namely ignorance.
First, let’s talk about the National Football League and domestic abuse.
It seems that the NFL hierarchy is in a bit of a pickle.  Commissioner Roger Goodell is having to explain why the League had blatant video evidence of Ray Rice’s domestic abuse and still managed to give him a light punishment.  It’s a little hard for the League to say “we didn’t know” when, according to one account, the police sent them the incriminating videos from the hotel’s security cameras this past April.
It’s more probable that they really didn’t want to know.  This is, after all, something that went on outside of the stadium.  Would you like your workplace to be delving into the things that go on in your private life? 
And don’t give me that whole “if you have nothing to hide” BS, because we all have something that we would rather keep private!  All of us!  And if you say that you don’t then not only are you a damned dirty liar, but you’re lying to yourself worst of all!
But, really, this is nothing new when you think about all of the things that go on that once were considered “private” that now are serious issues.  It wasn’t that long ago that police and judges considered domestic abuse to be a “private” matter.  They didn’t want to get into it unless there was a death.  They didn’t want to get into it unless the victim needed to be hospitalized or unless the neighbors complained or unless it was done in a public place.  Out of sight, out of mind.
It was the same way with child abuse.  We didn’t want to know.  Same way with drugs and alcohol.  If it didn’t affect what we did at work or in public, then it wasn’t anyone else’s business.
And I’m sure that’s what was going on with the NFL when the incident first happened.  Yes, the police were involved.  Yes the news itself was “embarrassing” to the franchise and the League.  But it had nothing to do with what was going on in the sport itself.  When put in that context, a two-game suspension for the “embarrassment” seemed appropriate at the time for them.
That’s the operative phrase.  “For them.”
And then the first part of the security video was leaked out.  And the women’s groups got their panties in a bunch, and then Keith Olbermann of ESPN was able to brush off his old MSNBC persona and get his panties in a bunch.  And suddenly it wasn’t a “private” matter anymore.
And now that the second part of that video got leaked, everyone is screaming for Goodell’s head on a platter.  Women’s groups want Goodell to quit.  Olbermann wants Goodell to stay on just long enough to be fired.
Here’s the thing: Even the Sunday morning talking head people are saying this is new territory the NFL is getting into.  This is the same group that is having a hard enough time dealing with all of the concussions dealt to their players over the decades, and now the women’s groups and Olbermann want them to somehow have a masterful micro-management of player marriages as well?
I’m sorry folks, but the ignorance is overwhelming on both sides of the issue, and all of these social jihadists need to take a step back on this issue.
Is what Ray Rice did wrong?  Deplorably so.  But that does not entitle you or me or the women’s groups or Keith Olbermann to suddenly turn an issue that was never really dealt with into a “Scorched Earth” zero-tolerance crusade that would make the ISIL terrorists look downright tame in comparison. 
Roger Goodell screwed up big time with this issue.  There is no doubt about that.  But unless the women’s groups or Keith Olbermann want to personally take over the NFL, they need to let the League get knowledgeable on the subject and then properly deal with it.
The other big subject that deals with ignorance involves the recent rash of female celebrities having their nude photos plastered on the Internet. 
Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, Arianna Grande, and a whole bunch of other female celebrities in the world of film and modeling and music apparently had their personal photos that were stored in Apple’s iCloud service hacked and copied and then posted for people to see.  One person even tried to ransom the photos for money.  Apple claimed that their “cloud” wasn’t really hacked, but they certainly moved quickly to fix a problem that they said wasn’t theirs.
Reaction has been mixed.  Obviously the women in question feel violated by this, no matter how snarky their statements can be.  The “I’m going to sue every single person who ever saw those pictures of my client” representative really needs to get a new profession.
The folks at Playboy decided to take the high ground and scold Internet users for looking for the photos.  You know, Playboy used to have a pretty good site until they decided to be “Facebook-friendly”.  While I will compliment them for taking the high ground, it is with this warning: they had better not have any of the photos in question show up in their annual “Year in Sex” special in the December issue.
For the rest of us, it is extremely easy for us to blame the women for having their nude photos up in the “cloud” to begin with, but let’s get brutally honest here… I really do not think they had any idea this could happen, never mind happen to them.
They certainly aren’t the first to have this happen.  Remember Paris Hilton’s video?  Or Scarlett Johanssen’s photos? Or Vanessa Hudgens’s?
In fact, what surprises me is that there aren’t more of these incidents happening.
How many of you realize just how un-safe “the cloud” is when it comes to keeping stuff?
We have the Attorney General of the United States telling the Congress on more than one occasion that anything in “the cloud” is fair game to them!  They don’t need warrants.  They don’t need judges.  They don’t even need probable cause.  They just need hackers, and anything they get is theirs free-and-clear!  And it’s not like they are “too busy” going after Big Corporate or Too-Big-To-Fail to do it either.
So what makes you think that they will give a care about keeping your personal stuff away from some script-kiddie baby hacker?
Now consider this… celebs get the latest-greatest cellphone toys as part of some “goodie bag” package for an awards show or hopefully to get some free publicity on social media, and they’re not being told of the risks of putting risqué photos online.  They’re being told simply to use them and show them off and to have fun doing it.  It’s no different than if Big Banking gives out credit cards to high school kids; or the National Rifle Association giving people free guns, and simply telling them to “have fun”.
Maybe we all need reminders about how “the cloud” really works.  I’ve been using computers since the days of Ronald Reagan and I can tell you from experience that not everyone that gets technology today knows the consequences of having and using these devices.  They may be used to play games, but they are certainly not toys.  There’s certainly nothing private about putting stuff up on “the cloud”, any more than if you put actual photos up in a real cloud and expect only certain people to see them.
Ignorance is not really “bliss”, especially when it comes to our personal lives.  We need to remember that if we choose to be ignorant, then we really can’t complain when it comes back to bite us in the butt… or to show our bare butts to the world.

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