Trust, truth and community, Pt. One.

Reflections on our present world.

Today, and the next two days, I want to offer you three essays under the theme of Trust, truth and community.

As is so often the case, there was a series of outwardly unconnected experiences that seemed, well to my eyes anyway, to speak to a theme.  You will have to wait until Friday to judge whether or not you agree with me!


This first essay was motivated by two disparate events: One very local and one as far removed from being local as one could imagine.

But first, what do we mean by trust? Roget’s Thesaurus defines the word (in part):

trust noun

Absolute certainty in the trustworthiness of another: belief, confidence, dependence, faith, reliance.

You will recall that just over three weeks ago, we welcomed two horses to our pastures; Ranger and Ben.  Both horses had previously been treated badly by humans, especially Ben who had been starved and beaten by his ex-owners.

In the early days, Ben was very cautious of any sudden movement by me and would back away from any contact from me other than being offered a food treat.

But in just three weeks, Ben has gone a huge way towards trusting Jean and me.

Taken yesterday afternoon.
Taken yesterday afternoon.


My face is closer than three inches to Ben's nose.
My face is closer than three inches to Ben’s nose.


Both Ben and Ranger in the background are now very comfortable with Jean and me.
Both Ben and Ranger in the background are now very comfortable with Jean and me.

Now, I don’t know about you, but my guess is that if a human had experienced the degree of cruelty from the hands of another person that these horses had, it would take very much longer than three weeks for that human victim to regain the same level of trust that Ben and Ranger now offer. Indeed, many persons would harbour anger and distrust forever.

That was the local example of trust

Now to the ‘non-local’ example of trust. It involves PayPal.

Not so long ago, Wolf Richter, he of the Testosterone Pit blogsite, published an essay about PayPal’s recently revised privacy policy.  Or as Wolf called it: I Just Got PayPal’s New Absolutely-No-Privacy-Ever Policy

You must read it in full, especially if you are a PayPal user.  Thanks to Wolf, I can offer you his opening paragraphs:

I Just Got PayPal’s New Absolutely-No-Privacy-Ever Policy

TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 2014 AT 1:00AM
Sunday, when people had other things to do and weren’t supposed to pay attention, PayPal sent its account holders an innocuous-sounding email with the artfully bland title, “Notice of Policy Updates.” PayPal didn’t want people to read it – lest they come away thinking that the NSA, which runs the most expansive spying dragnet in history, is by comparison a group of choirboys.

The email started with corporate blah-blah-blah on privacy, that PayPal was “constantly” changing things “to give you more of what you want and improve your experience using us.”

Do read the rest of the essay here. Here’s a comment from a reader of Wolf’s essay, republished with Wolf’s permission:

Concerning: I Just Got PayPal’s New Absolutely-No-Privacy-Ever Policy

I will relate an experience I had regarding Pay Pal that I believe has some relevance to your blog on Pay Pal’s privacy policy.

I am a retired old geezer living in NY State. About 4 years ago I looked at Ebay’s bidding process to place a bid on an item I wanted. However I discovered that I could not make such a bid without subscribing to pay pal. I provided pay pal with the information it required and made my bid. My bid was exceeded by other bids and I did not get the item. My credit card was not used at that time and I never used Ebay or pay pal after that.

Because I did not respond to ongoing emails from the 2 companies I believed that I had no further connection to either of them and that my single failed bid was the end of our relationship.

Then about 2-3 years ago I received a couple of emails from Best Buy: one thanking me for opening a new account, and the other thanking me for purchasing an expensive electronic item.

When I opened up that new Best Buy account I discovered that my address was stated to be in California in care of a person named Pham Pham and that the credit card that was used was one that had recently expired although the number was still in use on a subsequently issued card. I checked all my credit cards online and found that the charge was not pending. I also took some other measures to protect myself. Within hours I received another email from Best Buy cancelling the order because payment was not made by my credit card company.

This incident took a strange turn a couple of days later. Initially I had no idea as to the source of the credit information leak. But then 2-3 days afterwards I received an email from Pay Pal requesting an update of the credit card information in my Pay Pal account. Pay Pal’s email request for updated credit information so soon after the online theft attempt may be just a coincidence, but in my mind there is an undisclosed connection. Of course I have not complied with Pay Pay’s requests. To this day no company has informed me that their accounts were hacked and that my credit information was stolen.

If, when you have read Wolf’s report in full, you feel, as I do, that the time has come to cut the relationship with PayPal then go for it.  Because only a customer base that is ‘voting with their feet’ will deliver the message.

What is that message?

Simply, if organisations want to be trusted by their customers, those organisations must behave with integrity.  Now I am not accusing PayPal of a lack of integrity but it goes beyond that.  It goes to operating with a genuine sensitivity for what is correct. PayPal’s privacy policy is anything but that.  There are parts of their ‘new’ policy that stink of gross insensitivity to their feelings for their customers. Read it in full courtesy of Wolf Richter

Oh, want to know how to close a PayPal account?

To close your Payflow account:

If your partner is PayPal, VeriSign or CyberCash contact PayPal Merchant support at 1-888-883-9770 or via email at Be sure to include your login ID.

If your partner is with a Payflow partner, reseller, or merchant bank you will need to contact the partner, reseller, or bank directly to close your Payflow account.

For additional information, contact PayPal Merchant support at 1-888-883-9770 or via email at

Note: Once your Payflow account is terminated, you cannot access the PayPal Manager or any account data. If you need access to this data, you will be charged a fee.

If you are trying to close your PayPal account and not a Payflow account do the following:
Log in to your PayPal account.
Click Profile at the top of the page.
Click Close Account in the Account Information column and follow the steps listed.

My PayPal account was closed at 15:10 PDT yesterday.

Perhaps PayPal should take note of how humans witness trust offered by our dear animals!

4 thoughts on “Trust, truth and community, Pt. One.

  1. Remember, now your doctor and other medical providers want you to put all of your medical information into what they are calling a ‘portal.’ To date, I have not seen guidelines as to how our information will be kept safe. The theft of our medical identity reveals our social security number, health system ID, driver’s license number, health insurance and other personal information plus critical details a thief can use in multiple ways. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could trust again?


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