Monday, August 10, 2009

What happened to R-E-S-P-E-C-T (and privacy)?

You might have read about a female ESPN™ sports reporter who had her hotel room infiltrated by a tiny spy camera. No need to go into what was seen; she was a victim of the worst kind of intrusion. No one has been caught yet. Sadly, some of the images turned up on the Internet and elsewhere.

Then there was the story last week where someone set up a fake ATM machine at a Las Vegas hotel while a security convention, of all things, was going on. More than a few people swiped their cards for some cash, and instead had personal data stolen, pin codes, etc.

An anonymous blogger posts that Sarah Palin is getting a divorce and moving with the kids to Montana. Sadly, some mainstream media actually picked up the story. Only problem is, it wasn’t true.

There was a time when people respected privacy, and something Aretha Franklin so grandly sung about, respect.

Society has always had its share of bad people, but technology is aiding and abetting the worst of them. Anyone can buy a tiny spy cam and simply use the peephole in your hotel door to peep at you. How does someone get away with such a thing at a high-end hotel? The fact is that they do.

Planting a fake ATM machine at a ‘Vegas hotel during a security convention is akin to walking unannounced into the Oval Office. Somehow, someone figured out a way to beat the system.

And of course, we all know that anyone can post about anything they want anonymously on the Net. But when some traditional media start to “run with it” you have to scratch your head. Sadly, Walter Cronkite has passed away, but one would hope that solid journalism didn’t die with him.

It just isn’t right when, after checking into your hotel room, you have to check for hidden cameras. It just isn’t right when you need to use an ATM and you wonder if it’s real or the work of some high-tech crook. It just isn’t right when people simply make up rubbish, post it and then the story gets a life of its own. Even if it isn’t true.

I hope all of the above are caught. I hope that all of the above are punished or exposed for what they are.

Is simple respect out of date? I hope not.


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at