Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Another thing to worry about


A guy I used to ride with a lot had what I thought a somewhat quirky practice of always paying with cash whenever he refueled his motorcycle.

I think we were on the western edge of Kansas City one afternoon when I finally asked why he didn’t just take advantage of the convenience of paying at the pump with a credit card.

“I don’t like the idea of anyone being able to tell where I am or where I’ve been,” he explained.

That exchange came flooding back to me about 3 a.m. the other day when I awoke with the realization that virtually everything we know, think, do, or say is knowable by an electronic trail that, in the wrong hands, could be used against us.

Think about it.

Our movements away from home are trackable by our cell phones, credit/debit card transactions, even increasingly by security cameras with facial recognition software.

Somewhere there is a charge/debit card record of everything I have bought going back decades.

People unwittingly cooperate with this accumulation of personal information when they make a smart phone – the most intimate portal – their constant companion. It has already been discovered that the art of hacking has reached such a sophisticated level that the microphone and camera on your cell phone and computers can be turned on remotely without you ever knowing it.

And don’t imagine that everything you post or forward on Facebook isn’t recorded somewhere, no matter what your “privacy” settings.

Knowing that our government has built a huge data center in Utah for the collection of whatever information it wants makes this even more disconcerting.

Consider that there is a record somewhere of:

  • Every penny you earn and spend.
  • Every car you buy or sell.
  • Every email and text message and phone conversation you have.
  • All of your medical and dental records.
  • Everything you have ever looked at on the Internet and all of your searches.

So the question becomes, “Am I paranoid enough?”

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