Isn’t this digital age fantastic! From world news to instant communication anywhere in the world, it’s all ‘in our pocket;’ not to mention every kind of shopping facilities without the need to leave our homes.
Facebook and Twitter ensures that our views are made known to the world at large within minutes.
Surely there must be some drawback to this wonderful world of instant communication, digital technology and world-wide inter-action. Indeed there are.
The cost of all this instant access to almost everything we want or need is our privacy and with it, in some cases, our security.
Are we always aware that all our verbal and our written communications (land-line and mobile phones, e-mail and text) are provider accessible, stored and retrievable and that our access to any type of news or Google search is logged by the communication providers, building up a personal profile of us?
The same applies to our ‘loyalty store cards,’ our Visa/debit card or any catalogue purchases. All of these are stored and analysed by service provides and used to building life style profiles of us which, in turn, are sold to other companies who then send us their promotions, offers and service information?
So if a company you have never heard of sends you their promotional material, you’ll know how they got your name and address as ‘a likely customer’ for their goods/services.
Political agencies too are keenly interested in our so easily obtained, media accessed/transmitted opinions, providing instant individual profiles whenever needed or deemed expedient.
In short, our increasing use of digital communication facilities has become a commercial and political, privacy destroying, tool.
The irony of all this is that every authority/institutions claims to have ‘safety procedures’ to prevent fraud these very ‘safety checks’ are seriously flawed because two of their favoured security questions are your date of birth and your National Insurance number.
Bearing in mind that, by law, all phone calls are now recorded and said recordings stored for one year, revealing this uniquely personal data over the phone, far from safeguarding you, poses the biggest security risk.
How? A one year central storage of this vital personal identifications could easily enable some unauthorized person to illegally access it to commit identity fraud, claiming to be you.
It’s time we encouraged these institutions to devise other, equally effective means of security checks, like in line with their type of business, that is insurance or banking etc.
Maybe it’s time for Mature Wisdom to not only enjoy but also carefully evaluate the benefits of digital science and decide how to use it and when to resist its ‘safety’ ploys and exploitation.
by Angela Mayet