The Electronic Freedom Foundation, governmental agencies and privacy
groups around the globe are up in arms about the Meta data Google is grabbing
from people’s searches. They’re “a little uptight” on how that personal
information might be used.
Is it a potential problem? Sure.
Is it the problem? No.
The problem is you went digital. You opened yourself to every product, service,
well-meaning/creative individual/organization and every whacko/evil-doer on the
Microsoft, Amazon, eBay, Google, Apple and others need your information. The
good guys want to sell you something. The others have bigger plans for your
data. Welcome to the wild ‘n wooly world
of “1s” and “0s.” Microsoft for years has kept track of their property by
inserting your tracking information.
Bill’s close personal friend at Apple broke down the entertainment barriers
with no DRM (Digital Rights Management) iTunes.
Your embedded customer information comes free with every download
OK, so maybe Homeland Security did lose
a hard drive with 100,000 plus employee records on it. Maybe the FBI did lose 2,000+ notebooks
with really cool information on them. Maybe
your bank or loan company lost “a few thousand files.” They may have lost it … but it’s up to you to
protect yourself from having a bad day.
Then there are the hackers, phishers of men, Trojan horse producers who have
turned pro to help themselves to your information. Of course thekidsatDoom9 and similar
hangouts are good but they only do it for the challenge … for bragging
rights. Phishers and digital hijackers
do it for profit.
Yeah. You just won the Irish lottery. A
thoughtful lawyer in London is going to help you get $1 million from some
dude’s bank into your bank for a small fee. Some folks want to send you a free
50-in plasma screen. The bank, eBay,
your university and DailyTech just
notified you that your account is being suspended unless you check your
P.T. Barnum was right…“There’s a sucker born every minute.” And phishing is big business.
Sure you can delete but you’re still a long way from data safe. Businesses lose data every day of the week. So do individuals. Usually they never know it.
Until it’s … too late!
Look at your home system. You’ve got data, images, content (legal and grey)
whipping around the house all the time. Putting a lead shield around the home
network doesn’t do any good because you constantly reach out for … something.
While Tellywood swears we’re all reaching out for their valuable stuff, the
fact is – at least in our household – it is stuff that is disarmingly free or
something we already own. The kids load their drives with everything they can
They create a ton of their own. They load it on their MP3 players (audio,
video) to take with them and to share. They throw it on their cell phones
(which also hold a lot of personal data) and zap it to anyone who even looks
like they are interested. They love the
control. It’s second nature. They not only want it … they expect it!
Who can blame them? But is their content protected? Kinda.
On a recent holiday, we sat in the airport with our son and he effortlessly got
his system connected to the WiFi net. Then
he started searching. In 30 minutes he had tapped into the hard drives of three
notebooks that were also online in the airport. The data? There for the
taking. And he wonders why we aren’t
really excited about online banking!
Using our cell phone as a digital wallet is “logical”…to him! All of that information is immediately
available to be stolen the minute you let your guard down. Our digitally-active
family is probably well on its way to surpassing most industry projections for
home storage in 2010 by … oh, heck, late next year!
Since there’s no going back to music platters, VHS tapes or reams of paper,
we’ve developed what we’d call a normal level of concern over our identity/data
security. We don’t buy online without
thoroughly researching the outlet.
We make certain we don’t throw open the back door of our system and network to
every person cruising the iNet looking for good stuff, good information they
Next to healthy growth in storage; reasonable security products, applications
will be more important than the next iTunes, YouTube or MySpace downloads.
There’s not much you can do about your personal information that already exists
on the iNet. Finding and eliminating it isn’t a job, it’s a career. But there’s no sense adding to the information outlay.
Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, was fond of saying, “Only the paranoid
survive.” We have what we’d call a healthy paranoia regarding our data –
personal and professional.