Call me a freak or call me a nut, but I wonder why more questions are not asked about technology, whether it is drones, apps or wearable devices. When I watch Bloomberg or Charlie Rose, the hosts seem to be enamored of guests representing technology companies — Google, Amazon, Uber, etc. Even my 81-year-old father doesn’t question what is being done with the data collected through the apps he uses on his iPhone. Or my twenty-something brother-in-law — even though this data is collected in incredible detail, regarding their every move throughout the day, and is aggregated with other sources.

There are very few laws regulating what is collected and what is done with it. The only thing we really have control over is ourselves and our actions. I believe that when we give that away, we give away our power.

Do I really want a stranger to know how many steps I’ve taken? To sell that information without my say? Think about the implications. If data is used generically, it could provide great benefit to society. If used with a name attached, others may know more about me and what I do than I know about myself.

Be careful. Use your judgment. Follow your gut.

Jay Gubrud, Roseville

RETIREMENT SAVINGS

‘Fiduciary standard’ would be better, not harder, for you

Lee Schafer’s March 22 column “Saving for retirement is about to get harder” misses the point about new rules that would create a “fiduciary standard” for accounts like an IRA. Bottom line: Giving bad retirement savings advice is wrong — period.

No matter how much money you’ve saved, you deserve retirement advice that is in your best interest. Yet, right now, a loophole in the law allows bad actors to provide advice based on what’s best for their pocketbook, not yours.

The way Americans save for retirement has changed dramatically over the last generation. Fewer and fewer people have a guaranteed pension; a worker is much more likely to have a 401(k) or IRA and need to make complicated financial and investment decisions. Many understandably turn to a professional for help. Many professional advisers do right by their clients, but others take advantage.

Bob Worthington, Minnetonka

 

EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

A chance for Republicans to buzz the way only they can

Can we recognize the 30-ton elephant in the room — that narrow-minded, provincial, axe-grinders are attracted to today’s Republican Party like bees to clover?

In a March 26 commentary (“A history lesson might serve those blocking ERA resolution”), former state Rep. Betty Folliard reports that current Minnesota House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin is blocking a vote on the Equal Rights Amendment because of some imagined link to abortion while Speaker Kurt Daudt glibly questions: “What’s ERA?”

A little advice to Peppin: Step away from the New American and read Gail T. Kulick’s letter (“We’ve waited for generations”) in the same issue of the Star Tribune. As for Daudt, I’m sure his interest in the Equal Rights Amendment would have been piqued if a provision that would allow the use of firearms in classic car purchase negotiations had been inserted.

Gene Case, Andover

U.S. CURRENCY

Those ‘dead presidents’ earned an honored place on our money

Like Roy M. Close, who wrote “What’s in your wallet?” (March 21), I am a writer. I am 95. Perhaps that makes for the difference in our thinking. Perhaps not. I do have young friends who have similar thoughts to mine.

We do not think, as Close does, that we should replace the faces on our currency “with current creative artists and inventors who have made America what it is today” — such as Judy Garland, Duke Ellington and Martha Graham. These people should certainly have a prominent place in our history, but this is not one of them.

There are stories in the Bible and from ancient Rome and Greece that also cannot be relegated to ordinary texts, and we rightly keep them in special places. The founding of the United States is such an event — there is no country or government that can compare (although many strive to come close). These “dead presidents,” as the headline on Close’s story calls them, are responsible for the wonder of our nation. To keep them just in a history book or computer does not seem quite right.

Nelma Mavison, Eden Prairie