Saturday, March 2, 2013

Big Brother . . .

And his annoying little sisters HIPPA and FERPA and then there's just the plain old Privacy Act.

Yesterday, I had to go to the doctor for my physical and this annoying sign was in the restroom. Since I work in an educational institution, one of the first things I had to do after being employed was to familiarize myself with FERPA, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and, of course, every time I go to a new doctor, and I have been to many in the past year and a half, I'm supposed to sign a paper that I am supposed to have read pertaining to HIPPA.  And then, there are the 6.5 million little brochures that I've gotten from everyone I do business with telling me what they do with my information. 

It drives me absolutely crazy.

For one thing, I have for over forty years taken care of all of my family's business. The only time my husband has written a check for a bill was during the time my right arm was in a cast. So now, if I have a question about his benefits at work, I have to tell him what he needs to ask the HR office and he has to call them instead of me. And when I go to the doctor, I have to make sure I sign something that lets them know they can tell my husband stuff out me, and vice versa. And my priest can't find out if I'm in the hospital, nor can campus ministers find out who the students in their denomination on campus are. These stupid laws are supposed to be protecting me, but they are just one more annoying thing--or several more annoying things--that I have to deal with.

And the horrible irony of the whole mess is that in reality we have less privacy than we've ever had.

Okay, so much for complaining.

Obviously the artist from the Lascaux caves has found a new medium.

Our water tower has a skirt now? I'd love to see this in a high wind. I'm hoping that they might be getting ready to paint, but we'll see. I never knew how big water towers really are until they refurbished one down the road from us a few years ago. It was shaped like this one. They had removed the top half of the tank and there was a crane sitting inside the bottom half. I really wish I could have been there to see how they got the crane up there--a bigger crane, I guess. I'm really hoping they will paint it like this. Or maybe they could just paint a slogan on the side like, "HIPPA and FERPA apply to everything you do."



  1. When I was a student our exam results were posted up on the outside doors of the Exam School. Now that I'm a teacher I have to be careful not to infringe one student's privacy by letting another student see or hear their grade. I can't think what idiot decided this was a good idea. Especially when they all tell one another electronically as soon as they know what it is.

  2. I had forgotten that, but I can remember now going to my teachers' offices to see my grades posted on their doors.


  3. If I remember correctly, when I was in college in the late '60s grades were posted publicly but identified only by student number, so there was some concern even then.

    I'm no great admirer of the education establishment, but I think they are unfairly made to look bad when a student is in trouble with the law, and the press reports something like "The university refused to release information, citing privacy concerns." The reader is left with the impression that the school is hiding behind their own "concern," when in reality they'd be in big legal trouble if they did otherwise.

  4. I really like the martini-glass-shaped water tower.

  5. Your readers should also know about this one.