Right to Privacy: Living Anonymously
First of a Series
By Grant Hall
This series is based on the true privacy living experiences of Grant Hall, author, Privacy Crisis: Identity Theft Prevention Plan and Guide to Anonymous Living. Certain names and locations have been changed.
I said goodbye to northern Montana on October first and headed south to Phoenix where I’d spend the next six months. While driving, I reflected back on my conversation with Dag. We would meet, crunch numbers, go over my market analysis and discuss whatever else was on his mind. He wanted to take a look at Phoenix real estate and kick the tires rather than just see the online data. Dag’s my boss and General partner of the company I manage.
If you have read my articles, you’ll remember Dag fired me a few years back when the account I managed suffered the largest one day percentage drop in a stock position we had ever seen. That was one of those rarest of rare times when a new high turns into a new low- overnight. The company was a high-flyer with good earnings, sales and growth prospects and was in the business of manufacturing generic drugs. It was called Able Labs (ABRX), but has since gone out of business. They lied about their business and eventually admitted their fraud (Anderson, 2007) and it cost us 80% of my pilot buy position-about 3 or 4 percent of the account. It all happened in twenty-four hours. That was enough for Dag. He fired me by fax three days later.
After the Able Labs disaster, I went to Phoenix and wrote Privacy Crisis: Identity Theft Prevention Plan and Guide to Anonymous Living. Later, it became the best selling privacy eBook on the internet.
Dag re-hired me and I left Phoenix for the North-and now after a year and a half, I was returning. Since he is based in Dublin, Ireland and I’m in two or three spots during the year, and he insists on having everything in writing, we do most of our business by fax. “Telephone conversations are worth the paper they’re written on,” he says.
After a day and a half of travel, I pulled into the resort-style, property I had booked. What a spread. In addition to the office buildings and facilities, there were acres of cabins-one of which would be my home for the next half year.
MATTER OF PRACTICE
Registering at such places is always interesting and may cause anxiety for privacy novices attempting to live beneath the radar. It’s old hat for me and I’m quite comfortable with my lifestyle and I believe I’ve developed the confidence and poise to field nearly anything managers of such establishments can throw my way. And, one must know his privacy requirements and be mentally prepared in order to successfully avoid the privacy-invasive intrusions that threaten our anonymity while living as a private person.
Having filled out the form and left out the usual nonsense requests such as the driver’s license number and Social Security number, I handed it back to clerk number one. She was unable to cope with the blank spaces and called on Clerk number two to assist in the decision making process. Number two brought in the manager of the place and she sat down next to me as I flipped another page of the Nora Roberts novel, dog-eared it prior to closing the book and prepared to listen.
Ms. Barbara Z. Barton was retired from the Arizona penal system where she’d spent her entire career following a stint in the Army. Later, she received an Associates of Arts Degree from Mesa Junior College. She’d been managing the property for about a year and had not filled her book to capacity-at least not yet. How did I know so much about her and the “resort?” Isn’t the internet a wonderful resource? It took about an hour of research and yes, Ms. Barton was as I had imagined she would be; Rigid, tall, somewhat masculine and dressed in garb resembling a uniform.
SPEAK EASY, BE FIRM
We chatted while riding in the battery operated golf cart and she inquired about my privacy preferences. While trying not to sound like Grant Hall, I related a couple of experiences that had influenced my decision to never-ever give up personal and confidential information to unnecessary sources. I’d had a privacy-related problem years ago that had cost a lot to resolve, our company had certain policies prohibiting managers from disclosing personal information while on company business-for security purposes and I explained to that it costs over ten thousand dollars to fix a business-related identity theft. She listened.
The cabin looked fine. We rode back to “Barb’s” office. She said, “okay.” I nodded, she extended her hand and I was now a resident. It’s been a comfortable experience and I’m feeling good in my new winter home.
PRIVACY LIVING, COMMON SENSE RULES
While it’s a high priority to keep one’s personal and confidential information personal, it’s important to be able to enjoy life as well. Privacy seekers don’t have to live under a rock, but need to guard highly sensitive personal information.
Veterans of privacy living have differences in their method of operation so it’s difficult to generalize and give the inexperienced person counsel that will serve as blanket recommendations for all circumstances. However, there are some general rules.
By and large, it’s a good idea to never-ever share your Social Security number with anyone-except the tax man-if you’re liable for taxes, that is. Alternate names prevent anyone from locating you by name through public records. Showing government identification to those without a reason to see it is not a good idea as nearly anyone can buy access to data bases that enable one to be traced by driver license numbers.
Fake I.D. documents and the pros and cons of using these pieces may come up as a subject of conversation to those with little experience. I’d say that a fake identification is a low priority for general privacy needs simply because communication is more important. Also, never use fake I.D. for illegal purposes.
Laws in the entire western hemisphere have traditionally favored privacy advocates. Essentially, it depends on the jurisdiction and while there is not uniformity among all jurisdictions, police generally have the right to your true name (HIIBEL, 2004). One’s true identification can be kept a secret in most daily living encounters, however, and in fact, it’s important to do this to avoid those unwanted, privacy-invasive intrusions that have become so common today.
Once you’re able to make the adjustment necessary to shield yourself through the use of an alternate name, additional mental preparation and communication skills will prevent anyone from tapping into any data base that might contain the real you. Practice the art of being polite and learn to say “no” with conviction and without anger. You’ll discover that thinking about what you need to say prior to having to say it will yield tremendous results as you travel down your path to achieving your privacy living goals.
I have devoted four chapters to Behavior Aspects of privacy in my eBook, Privacy Crisis and after years of living the privacy lifestyle, I have come to believe that one’s behavior is most important. Everyone can improve and make progress toward accomplishing their privacy goals once they have the information and implement the practice of using sound and lawful privacy principles.
1. Anderson, Jane, Drug Executives Admit Fraud. (Policy & Practice) (Able Labratories, Inc.) (Brief Article), Family Practice News, April 15, 2007
2. Barber, Hoyt, Tax Havens Today: The Benefits and Pitfalls of Banking and Investing Offshore, John Wiley & Sons, 2007
3. Griffin, R. Morgan, The Scary Truth about Medical Identity Theft, WebMD, February 2, 2007, WebMD, Inc., 2007
4. Hall, Grant, Privacy Crisis: Identity Theft Prevention Plan and Guide to Anonymous Living, James Clark King, LLC, 2006. (Available as an eBook at: www.PrivacyCrisis.com )
5. Hill, W.G., Banking in Silence, Scope International, LTD., 1998
6. Nicholson, Kieran, Hundreds of Patients at Risk of ID Theft, Denverpost.com, December 7, 2007
7. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, Syllabus, HIIBEL v. SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF NEVADA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY, et al., No. 03-5554. Argued March 22, 2004. Decided June 21, 2004
Copyright: James Clark King, LLC, October 22, 2008