Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tell Me What Time It Is.

Back in the 1980s, when I was working as a science writer for the University of North Texas, I did a feature on a couple of professors, one in the regular computer department and one in business.

They were concened even then with the poor security of most computer systems and the information that could inadvertently be leaked without a person's knowledge, and it was minuscule then compared to now.

They were working on better firewalls for company and individual systems. They were getting a lot of project work from the few who were listening, but overall, they were ignored.

I remember one of them saying that persons who would not dream of taking a man's wallet and sorting through it will get on the computer without a qualm to find the information and more.

That resonated with me.

I have spent my life in professions where I got into other people's business. My personal inclination is to be very private. The poor have never had much; the less you have, the closer you are to other people. You hear each other, see each other, see the imperfections way up close.

The rich have a great deal of privacy.

Today, however, even the personal affairs of the wealthy can be hacked into and strewn about, used to manipulate and control.

I know I constantly have to fight encroachments by Yahoo and Google to make me use products I don't want. I know the companies can trace every web page I visit, and that makes me stop short once in a while. And they did ask me if I wanted the service of recorded web page visits so I can check in with it to find such and such a site. Might be useful for research. By me, not an unseen corporation trying to fine-tune the customer base.

I have to give my email address and my phone number to use services or to buy things on the internet.

I honestly don't like the information out there for any casual scam artist, or aggressive commercial enterprise, to target me.It is, however, so.

Part of my distaste is my age. Part of my age, though, is that I remember a time in my life when everyone had that privacy. John D. MacDonald once commented in his Travis McGee series that newcomers to Florida just loved it, but they had no memory or knowledge of how it had been before.

Young people laugh and don't worry about what they say, the information they post, and they will regret some of it. But they never knew a world of privacy so maybe they won't even know to miss it.

I'm not ready to move into a cave in Montana. I wouldn't like the snow, and I like family and friends too much.

There are wonderful things on the internet, but I've also run into some hungry wolves and a few snakes.

In my ineptness, I fall back on one defense. I put as little pertinent information out there as I can. Oh, I'll give you my opinion on anything.
I try to be as vague as possible on my personal stuff.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I am a very little fish.

I was getting an unauthorized product removed off my computer yesterday and snarled that I felt they were blackmailing me or acting like goons. The tech, with a laugh in his voice, said, "Oh, no ma'am. The times are just changing."


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