“You have No Privacy, Get Over It”
These words were famously said by Scott McNealy, the former CEO of Sun Microsystems. While this isn’t an excuse for not taking action to protect yourself, it is important to remember there are limits on anyone’s control. Our private data exists in thousands of different locations, and is bought and sold hundreds of times a year.
Unfortunately it’s also regularly lost by companies we trust hundreds of times a year as well. In 2009 alone there were over 100 million compromised records resulting from data breaches. And we, as consumers, hand out or leave our data exposed far too often.
For example, you might fill out a credit application to get a discount on a purchase at a local retailer. Sure, you might have every intention to cancel the card; but you’ve just handed over your personal identifying information to an anonymous sales clerk. In 2009 authorities found thousands of credit applications for a national chain of retail restores lying in the dumpster behind the store.
Additionally, if your spouse emails you at work to request your Social Security number to complete your tax return, you might email or text it back to him. While this may be convenient, what if your email or internet connection is compromised by a hacker? You Social Security number could end up in the wrong hands. This type of reckless behavior leads to millions of Americans falling victim to identity theft fraud every year.
But does that mean we should give up modern conveniences in order to keep our information safe? Absolutely not. Advances in technology have a profound effect on our lives.