Right to privacy vs. 15 minutes of fame

It is interesting that in our society, where people get very annoyed at the idea of the National Security Administration tracking their phone calls and emails, we also think nothing of offering our opinions on people we only know through the TV screen.

The case in point this week is Rachel Frederickson, the big winner this week on “The Biggest Loser,” the TV reality show that allows couch potatoes across the country to track the weight loss efforts of obese contestants. When Frederickson walked out on stage after dropping 155 of her 260 pounds, the social media floodgates opened up, criticizing her for losing too much weight. People speculated on her health, suggested she now looked anorexic. For Frederickson, who won $250,000, it’s part of the game.

Others don’t like the scrutiny so much. This week a KMSP TV anchor, Alix Kendall, has sued several cities and counties because her drivers license information has been accessed from the state’s data base some 3,800 times, mostly by police officers and others who have access to the data base, but are supposed to use it only when necessary for legitimate law enforcement purposes.

Privacy expectations differ for people in different situations. People think nothing of posting photos of themselves in potentially embarrassing situation on Facebook and other social media, but don’t want potential employers to see them. In the age of the “selfie,” privacy may be a thing of the past.

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