We are all vulnerable but just don’t admit yet
While many of us especially those older than fifty keep a wary eye, or at least we think we do, on the technology of cyberspace, the truth is our computers know more about us than our priest Confessors. In turn these, our seemingly constant electronic companions, are quite vulnerable to hackers both mischievous and malicious. They are effectively our Achilles’ heel. As we ever-sink into the mire of electronic technology even in the most mundane aspects of our lives we knowingly expose our lives to prying eyes at best and to potential ruin at worst.
As in many bad experiences in life, we insist on rationalizing the danger in that disaster can’t happen to us; it always happens to the other guy. Much like the teenagers who think they are invincible we take the most unreasonable risks. Even oldsters who have an ingrained mistrust of online banking, social media, the “cloud”, photo posting of our children and ourselves, and, yes, even ecommerce often don’t realize the depth of danger we are exposed to from even the simple and basic act of logging onto the internet. Our every keystroke is monitored and every website is shadowed until an accurate profile of each of us is drawn for advertisers, among more nefarious entities like big brother agencies.
Many, including us oldsters, consider such wicked tracking of our lives as simply the price of a ticket to ride in cyberspace. Yet this price, though seemingly innocuous, has hidden costs which may have future impacts on not just our liberties, but also our religious beliefs. This logical sequence is difficult for many who lack discernment, but all we need do is recall that our political leaders and agencies now consider veterans and pro-lifers as potential terrorist to be able to make the link.
Still not convinced that our intimate lives are open to scrutiny like a filet rabbit? On YouTube watch a few “How to” videos over a week or ten days. You will increasingly note that “what to watch” suggestions are mainly additional “How to” videos. Then switch to …say, forensic videos the “what to watch” will soon transition to mostly additional forensic videos. In addition, adverts will be tailored to these subjects.
So what to do? First be circumspect in what you do on the Internet. While it is great for research, it has a steep price to pay. It is better to do old-fashioned dogged research at your local library than submit to the prying of cyber monitors. Next, remove yourself from all social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc. (though anything you’ve posted to date is still available somewhere in the ether of cyberspace). Don’t bank online because you will have to use a password to gain access and if you can do so, so can a hacker. Don’t post pictures, photos, addresses or even whole names on the Internet: you may be exposing your loved ones to real physical danger.
In our times, more vigilance is called for than most times of recent history. Our grandparents knew this instinctively, but we have somehow rationalized the danger. Below there is an article from Wired, a highly recognized technology magazine that caters to savvy techies and computer nerds. Considering the source, it would be wise to pay heed to maintaining a low-profile in cyberspace.
Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore
Unfortunately, the above referenced article points to a solution that will not only undermine our privacy but may completely obliterate it:
We need to make that trade-off, and eventually we will. The only way forward is real identity verification: to allow our movements and metrics to be tracked in all sorts of ways and to have those movements and metrics tied to our actual identity.
It would seem that 1984 is upon us! You must ask yourself: How far will I go to ensure access to the Internet? Regrettably, this may be a question to ask sooner rather than later. Perhaps it is time to resort back to snail-mail Newsletter subscriptions? I wonder how many Catholic Rural Solutions readers would be willing to do this. Remember, paper and postage cost money and I certainly am in no position to underwrite the cost of it. While I’m not planning on going to mailed “hardcopy” newsletters, it would be interesting to know the readership’s view of this.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.