Monday, September 7, 2009

Freedom of Speech

I try to keep my blog light. I like to address fun things. But I haven't written in awhile because I am in the middle of a situation. I guess I have to write about it so that I can move ahead and get back to the fun blogging. The situation concerns freedom of speech and the privacy of your own home.

Freedom of speech is granted to each American in our Constitution. But what does that really mean? You cannot yell "Fire" in a crowded theater because people can be hurt in the stampede. So where are you free to say anything that you want about anything at all? Most of us wait until we are in our own homes with our significant other. Because we all know that when you start to vent you will say things that you don't mean. And what better place than in your own home? You know that in your own home you are safe to speak knowing that nothing you say will be heard.

But what if due to some fluke your conversation was broadcast somehow? Do the people who hear it have the right to listen and to continue listening or do they have the responsibility to try to alert you? What kind of person would continue to listen? My answer is an unethical one. And if that person was at work and reported the conversation to their boss, what is their responsibility? Is company that they work for at risk of being branded unethical for condoning the action? And what of the head of the company? Is that person unethical for condoning it by willingly keeping this type of person as an employee? And what if they use the information from the conversation that was eavesdropped on?

I am in the middle of this situation right now. I completed a frustrating phone call and did not hang up my cell properly because it was on speakerphone. My husband and I spent about 20 minutes venting our frustrations. We were in our home. We were preparing to leave but stayed in the house to complete our venting. The person on the other end of the line stayed on and listened to our venting. They never once tried to alert us that the connection was still open. Then they reported the conversation to their boss. Instead of feeling uncomfortable about how the eavesdropping occurred, they proceeded to try to make my husband and I feel guilty about the conversation we thought was private. (We were in our home).

I work with these people to help others. I enjoy helping others, I am a nurturer. We agreed to move on. I was already scheduled to attend a meeting in early September. I was notified by the company last week that another employee (totally unrelated to any of the events addressed here) reported that I was hoping they would find someone else to attend in my stead. The tickets were already purchased. I had even re-confirmed my intent to proceed despite the "incident". The company acted on the rumor and took a financial loss.

My problem is that I really enjoy doing this work. It gives me a real sense of purpose. And the only feasible way for me to provide the assistance, is working with this company. It seems such a shame because it may hurt me a little, but what of the people I was to help?

I have done quite a bit of research since this happened. Did you know that the US Supreme Court ruled recently that a mother's eavesdropping on a telephone conversation between the woman's daughter and her daughter's boyfriend violated the children's privacy?

So what did I do wrong and what did someone do wrong to me?

I think that I have gotten this out of my system. thank you for listening.

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