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