PRIVACY VS SECURITY: FPQ #95

Fandango’s Provocative Question #95: PRIVACY VS SECURITY.
It’s all about passwords (I think we need a better system).

From Fandango:

“There are estimates that there are nearly 25 billion connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices around the globe today. What does this mean for your personal privacy when all of this data about who you are and almost everything you do is out there being stored and maybe being shared in cyberspace? Just how secure is all of this data about each and everyone of us that is routinely being collected and analyzed?”


So the question is…

I’ve actually done a lot of thinking about this. I’ve also worked in the industry that invented the tools that suck our information out into the cyberworld. I had no idea what that technology was going to do — and I was only chronicling what others were developing. Still, I feel bad about having been involved at all. So, I’m not willing to give up any of my privacy OR freedom for security. I understand the world is full of danger. It has always been full of danger and it is not more dangerous now than it was hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Moreover, much of what we regard as danger is more like inconvenience. We’ve forgotten the difference

A couple of days ago I went through a massive, hugely aggravating thing with my iPhone and Mac and security codes. Why? Because 2-level passwords are built into the new Mac OS’s. If the OS is higher than 11, if you set it up and use it — even once — you’re stuck with it. Permanently. This means that the loss or damage of your iPhone (even temporarily) is a very big deal. I have intentionally NOT linked up all my devices. The more things are hooked together, the more likely someone is to get hold of ALL of your information by somehow unlocking one device and leap-frogging through everything. How can they do it?

If they — whoever “they” may be — can’t do it today, they will figure it out tomorrow. The hackers are WAY ahead of us. They can access our routers and are at us every minute of every day by telephone and email. It’s endless. It has taken any fun we ever had out of receiving phone calls. I’m actively hostile when the phone rings. I’m shocked (pleasantly) when it’s a real person to whom I actually want to speak.

Both my Alexa’s are NOT integrated with my Mac or my iPhone. I cannot ask Alexa to make a phone call. I have to make my own phone calls. What a tragedy. My toilet is not connected to the Health Meter in my iPhone. I don’t have an electronic doorbell. I don’t have an electronic monitor to protect my house. I have to open and close the curtains on my own. What is more, I really prefer doing it myself. We don’t own a gun, not counting a single-shot 22-caliber target rifle which belonged to my first husband and has been handed down to my son. It hasn’t been used now in 50 years, though Owen keeps it clean.

Danger lurks, I’m sure. Could some bizarre militia come and shoot everyone in town? Sure. I think we are pretty far off the grid, but that doesn’t stop such people. But hey, it’s not the guns, right? I mean if they didn’t have guns, they could come into town and beat us up with baseball bats though these nasty cowards aren’t usually up to actually getting down and dirty. Guns shoot from a distance and these people don’t like getting close.

I figure we’ve got little real freedom remaining. Each administration — Democratic and Republican — has chewed away at it. Little by little until the words: “it’s a free country” have become just words we say that don’t have any meaning. I’m not willing to give up anything. it doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to cooperate. We wear masks and these days, gloves — if we can find them.

Everything around me screams “prison.” I’m mortified by what has happened to news and reporting. I’m disgusted by what has become of the Republican Party. Actually, I’m pretty much appalled at what’s going on in our world and not just the U.S. So many countries are using novel Corona virus as a way to turn what’s left of our lives into some version of a police state. The 1930s are back. Pity no one has a grip on history. We have apparently forgotten what happened the last time we handed our world to dictators.

Two more squirrels. Is this freedom?

So back to passwords. You can’t find your password unless you have the password to unlock your password file. I have a 15-second memory these days. I try to remember to send myself an email, but periodically, something on some device decides I need to change my password because it has been too long since I changed it. So I change it because what choice do I have? Then the software decides it can’t accept the password because it’s too much like another password I used before. Finally it accepts the password, but when I go back, it has changed its mind and won’t accept it, so I need a new password and it goes around and around until I’m ready to scream. Then I discovered I’ve gotten locked into 2-level identification and any time I start my Mac (as opposed to just waking it up), my phone has to call me with a pass code. I need the phone to call me with a code EVERY time I activate it from scratch. And no, you cannot turn it off. Ever. Ah, freedom. What it means to me is that I cannot do with my Mac what I prefer to do which is turn it entirely OFF when I’m not using it. I don’t like leaving computers connected when I’m not using them. But if I turn it off, I will be back in the endless password game. I’m running out of passwords.

I’m also running out of patience. I hate my government, though I’m hoping I’ll hate it less in the near future, if Trump doesn’t blow us up before we get to the next administration — and he’s really making quite a stab at a real coup. Who’d have imagined this could happen here? Oh, right. We’ve had a few movies about that. But those were movies — and this isn’t. You just can’t make this stuff up.

So me? I’m not willing to give up anything to anybody. I will cooperate in the name of keeping alive and helping other stay alive, but I’m not giving my private information to anyone who doesn’t need it. I realize I don’t have much to say a lot of this stuff. It’s all run by software and software is stupid. But I refuse shop in stores that require I have a discount card because they are nothing but scams to collect my personal information. I block every call that doesn’t come from a known caller.

Mostly, I’m glad I won’t be around in another 50 years. It doesn’t look like it will be much fun.



Categories: #FPQ, Anecdote, History, Photography, Provocative Questions, U.S. Constitution, Word Prompt, You can't make this stuff up

Tags: , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. What I hate about 2 step verification is how these companies assume that everyone has a smartphone and carries it everywhere. I have one but I don’t use it much and I resent being forced to go and get it every time I want to log in to Amazon or whoever. Why can’t they just send me a code via email? I’m on the verge of writing a ranty post about this. I know it’s probably irrational of me but I get so angry that I want to hurl the phone down the stairs. I’m also running out of passwords that I can remember. Nobody remembers those random letter and number things that password managers generate.

    Like

    • They actually WILL send you a code via email or regular telephone. They do ask, but it’s slow. I just hate the 2-level ID because it’s just another piece of busy work and I don’t think it accomplishes anything. And it’s too much to do. I just want to get on, do something, and get off.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m very glad I avoided the whole MAC/Apple mess. Too spendy in the day, and now it seems, even more pricey plus being so rigid about the passcodes and what the owner is allowed to do with their phone or device. Yikes!! And what’s with all those $#!%^ upgrades every five minutes?! Still. Windows or Microsoft (Android) have their own set of problems too. Upgrades, overcharging, busting up the packages that used to give a person things like Word INCLUDED in the latest Window upgrade. Now you have to buy each program individually because nothing is for ‘free’. I’m with you in the last sentence you wrote. I’m very VERY glad I won’t be around in 50 years.

    Like

    • I only got the mac because I needed something VERY light to travel with and now, ironically, we never go anywhere. It’s a lovely little computer, but they are in fact terribly rigid about everything and I don’t really LIKE working on the Mac. It’s the “bedroom computer” so when I’m too broken to get up, it’s there.

      Give Open Office (Apache) a try. It’s very like Word, but free. Really free and it works. It’s a little different, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out quick enough. I just got an update notice on it, too. Freeware! Imagine that! I refuse to spend the hundreds of dollars for a package from MS that I don’t need. I only want Word and they won’t sell you just word. I don’t need the rest of it and I won’t pay for it. Sometimes, that’s a problem because some place only accept Word docs, but I’m not working anymore so I manage with Google doc and whatever they have built into Chrome.

      Like

  3. I guess, over the years I have given up much of my privacy (and probably, to some extent, my security for the sake of convenience. My iPhone is like an appendage of my body — always with me and always on. So I shop, bank, pay bills, and do all kinds of things on my iPhone. Well, I’ve had my identity stolen twice in my lifetime and I survived, so I guess it hasn’t been that bad to give up a little privacy and security for convenience.

    Like

    • That’s the flaw with this question. You AREN’T trading privacy for security. You’re trading privacy AND security for convenience. THAT, at least, is your choice and as long as you know what the REAL swap is, well … we manage somehow. I got through getting hacked too, but I’d like to skip it next time around. I have no illusions about my “safety” online. There isn’t any. It’s only a matter of time until the hackers decide it’s your turn. So even for convenience, I won’t do it, but I understand why others do it.

      All these other swap-offs do NOT give you security. They SAY they are increasing security, but all they are doing it messing with your head. I really am running out of passwords. Mac is the worst. And they have a knack for deciding your password doesn’t work, even when you haven’t changed it. They’ve changed their rules on passwords, but they won’t TELL you. Aggravating. My son uses his phone for everything, but I prefer to keep that much personal stuff off my phone.

      Right now, it’s more inconvenient than usual, but one day, someday, it will (I hope!) be less nutsy. I love the new motto of Massachusetts: “Skip Thanksgiving so you’ll live until Christmas.” Thanks, folks. That makes me feel so warm and fuzzy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had someone chastise me because I don’t have my online banking connected to my phone. Sorry. I have nothing connected to my phone. In my mind, that is some semblance of safety. Who knows. There is so much of everything online, it’s scary.

    Like

    • I won’t bank on my phone either. Many people I know think that’s a step over a line. I don’t want that stuff on my phone. I want a RECEIPT when I deposit money. None of the stuff they are doing offers any real security. They want it to, but it’s just more blather and an infinity of passwords.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hear you loudly and clearly. Technology harbors endless frustration. It was supposed to make things easier instead of more complicated. I get frustrated with its constant whining and demands for passwords I have already entered and seemed to work the last time I entered anything. Granted, I admit, I am more than a bit of a Luddite, but come on! Because I still cling to my landline, I have no other phone to rely on. My My computer is the only relationship I have with technology, and the frustrations that accompany that are enough for one day.

    Like

    • My son got us the iPhone. I like it because it’s louder so Garry can hear it and it has my contact list in it, which is convenient. But I do not use it for everything. Mostly for phone calls and directions when (as usual) we are lost.

      Like

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