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A day to celebrate your freedoms


Happy Fourth of July! As you celebrate today, remember that Independence Day isn’t just about cookouts and fireworks. It's a day set aside each year to commemorate the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, when all 13 American colonies declared independence from British rule. It’s been described as the most important document in human history, and rightly so. It outlines your freedoms as an American citizen.

The document begins, “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

It continues with one of the most famous sentences in the English language, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In other words, you have freedoms that cannot be taken away. But that doesn’t stop conglomerates from trying. Facebook for example, tracks your hobbies, habits and preferences, then sells your personal data to whomever wants access to it. By being on Facebook, you're exposing yourself to privacy intrusions. Facebook might be free, but there’s no doubt you’re paying a price for it. Everything you do is being monitored, with or without your permission. It’s doubtful that this is what your forefathers had in mind when they signed the Declaration of Independence.

Facebook has repeatedly been caught mishandling users’ data and/or lying about its collection practices. Its entire profit model is based on the selling of personal information that facilitates everything from targeted advertising to targeted fraud. Like Google, Facebook even has the ability to access your computer or smartphone’s microphone without your knowledge. If you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of ads for products or services you just spoke about out loud, chances are one or more apps are linked into your microphone and are eavesdropping.

So, as you enjoy your family cookouts and fireworks today, think about the real reason July Fourth; is celebrated, and remember: No one has the right to take your freedoms away from you.

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