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      Hey Ron! - Privacy Problems

      July 22, 2011

      By Ron Hemphill

      Your Life Advisor

      From the column 'Hey Ron!'

      I didn’t know much about Rupert Murdoch until he hit the news a couple of weeks ago. He’s a very wealthy man, and I can see how he’s ended up where he is. Hell, if I had enough power to wiretap the stuff that goes on with Google and IBM and all those other Fortune 500 companies, I’d be a billionaire too. I don’t think what he did is right, but I also don’t think he’s going to do any jail time. He’s too damn old and has too many lawyers. By the time he saw a jail cell, he’d be dead twice over. But I find it interesting that money is power. People say the law works—it works according to your income. This guy broke the law for years and managed to get away with it because he was able to pay enough people to look the other way.

      All this wiretapping got me thinking about the issue of privacy on a smaller scale, specifically in relationships. Personally, I think your spouse should have the password to your cell phone. I have a lock on my phone because I have a lot of information on there that I don’t want getting out. If I leave my phone lying around and my spouse grabs it, she should have access to it so she can retrieve something from it if I need her to. It just makes sense.

      If I was dating a woman who said, “No, I don’t want you to have my password,” that would be a red flag. Why not? What’s going on here that I’m not allowed to see? A relationship is supposed to be 50/50. I think that what’s yours is hers and what’s hers is yours.

      If I’m being totally honest, I’ve had a problem with someone looking at my phone in the past. I told this woman that she didn’t pay my phone bill, so she shouldn't look at my phone. I didn’t feel like I was hiding anything, I just didn’t think my phone was any of her business. Then I realized that’s dumb. You shouldn’t have anything to hide in a healthy relationship.

      I think I’m cut from a different cloth. If my girlfriend's phone rang I might say, “Here’s your phone,” but I wouldn’t look at it because it's not my business. But if I feel like something is wrong, then it’s time to play ace detective. I usually don’t check the phone bill when it comes, but if I was suspicious about something I’d say, “I’m trying to find a number that somebody called me with but I lost the number on my phone. Could I check the phone bill?” And if she says “no,” or if she rips the pages out and gives me the calls that she thinks are mine, then we have a problem. Why not give me the whole bill? Why can’t I see who’s been calling our phone plan?

      The bottom line is if your girlfriend or spouse leaves their email open or phone unlocked, you shouldn’t go through it. You probably will, though, because that inner you wants to know what if... maybe... can it be... and so you go in and start looking. I always say be careful what you look for, because you might find it. If you really want to know, you have to be prepared for the pain that comes with knowing. But at the end of the day, at least you’ll know where you stand.

      RON HEMPHILL

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