I’ve been scammed, had my identity stolen not once, but twice and that was when I was anonymous. These days, it simply makes no difference. I’m not going to publish my address and phone number (though a hacker can easily get them if they want to) – or my driver’s licence – (thought it’s even more easily obtained).
I’m pretty sure if we use the Internet for anything other than posting the occasional photograph, anyone who wants us can get us. The last time I got “got” was through Facebook who sold my private information to Cambridge Analytica. No matter what anyone on Facebook says, I’m sure it was no accident. They simply sold a lot of information and in exchange, got a lot of money.
I often think it’s my fault. I worked for companies who designed data mining software. It was pretty sophisticated stuff more than twenty-five years ago, so I can only imagine how amazing it is now.
Any privacy we had, the advent of online shopping, credit agencies (I mean seriously, Equifax got hacked and they are the ones supposedly protecting us!), data mining, and any place we have entered our “private information” doesn’t need to be hacked because they sell our information to anyone with the money to buy it. Unless you want to live alone in the woods without electricity and the technology we depend on, you will get hacked.
On a more positive note, credit cards do not make you pay the hacking bills anymore. They have, after many years of denying the problem was their fault, given in. It IS their fault. It always was.
As a tech writer, I was an anonymous author (with one exception where I got credit) for more than thirty years. I thought THIS time, I wanted to be me. I’m old enough to feel it’s time to get some of the credit. I’m not going to live forever and this is my last time in the spotlight, such as it is.
Personally, I can’t hack your data, but I’m not a hacker. Anyone who has the skills, even minimal skills, can get to you. If you were even a little bit famous, you’re out there. You will always be out there because nothing disappears from the virtual world. Garry was on television every night for more than thirty years. He doesn’t worry about getting spotted on Serendipity. People recognize him anyway even though he has been off the air for almost 20 years.
By the way, a suggestion you might consider is to NOT fill in those cute little “mini contests” on Facebook. That information goes straight from your fingers to hackers in Russia, China, India, or Pakistan — and who knows where else. For all we know, Equifax is a hacking service. Probably so is Google and we already know about Microsoft. We merely have suspicions about Apple. Basically, every single big business that asks us to fill in forms that have nothing to do with what we are doing at the time (filing out our warranty, usually), know they are going to sell that data. Even if you don’t fill out all the information, your name, address, email and phone number are more than enough.
Data mining rules the world. That’s the purpose of that “discount card” at your local grocery. They could just as easily give you the same discounts without a card, but the card registers your choices with corporate folks who want to know what you buy and where you buy it.
I won’t buy things at stores that require I give them a discount card. I know all my information is out there, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Because Garry and I are planted here and have been for a long time, anyone can find us. If you want to be harder to find, move frequently, and change your email and phone numbers regularly. We intentionally try to not change emails or phone numbers because it’s such a hassle. When you start changing it your online life can get messy.
As far as your house goes? You can find our house on Google. I found the house I lived in on Derech Hevron in Jerusalem on Google. I couldn’t find the house I grew up in because it’s not there anymore, but I found every other house I’ve ever lived in. From above. From the street. Any old way. I even found the place I lived in as an infant because remarkably, it’s still around.
I know that most of our information is already available. The best I can do is avoid known scamming sites like Facebook. Which is okay because they’ve banned me for running articles by people whose politics they don’t like. Not my stuff. Reblogged stuff. That’s why you won’t find Facebook on my connections. I really hate their nasty, arrogant butts.
By the way, this whole “thing” Trump is pulling with Google? It made me laugh. When Theodore Roosevelt was president (September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909) in his enthusiasm to end monopolies (1901), he won. It didn’t matter. Standard Oil which became Esso, then Exxon, and now is Exxon-Mobil, ignored the court and kept doing their thing. Which was making money and they’re still doing it today. For those who ask what happens when someone doesn’t feel inclined to obey a court order?
If it’s me or you, you wind up in jail. If you own Standard Oil or Microsoft? You laugh and call one of your thousands of lawyers.
So about taking on Google? The government (Obama? Trump? Bush?) wanted to take on Microsoft, then gave up and dropped the suit. I figure they will wind up doing the same thing with Google. Google might be even bigger in its own way than Microsoft. Not as rich (yet), but they are huge with Googly fingers in every pie, in every country. We have their television streaming network — and who doesn’t use them to find stuff on the Internet?
Google isn’t going anywhere. In a hundred years, they will probably own Congress and the President if they don’t already.