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Technology change in 2015 – two steps forward, three back

Technology improvements do not always…improve.  Rant on. You remember that experience in your life of turning a key and a long-ago new car just started?  We expect that experience with technology but we virtually never have it. And we don’t complain. Much. Wireless networks in the home need a geek-or-two to get running. Smart phones require training, app downloads take time. We slog through customization of menus, opting out of stupid defaults, and quite frightening disclosures. "Anonymous location data will occasionally be sent to Google, even when no apps are running. Agree?" Oh sure. Because it doesn’t matter whether I agree or not.

The problem may be overwhelming…but solution is minimalist. Nearly everyone’s identity was stolen recently – actually handed over without protest.  That means EVERYONE. Add the Anthem numbers to the other named hacks – and it all adds up to just about the population of everyone, including the very youngest and oldest. Once you notice this, IF you do, you freeze access to your credit information (now try to buy that new car!). You put so many new secret handshakes on your bank accounts that signing on feels like airport security. But the real problem is if you don’t notice anything different – unless you’re the worried well.  You want to do the right thing. Forget about getting a new identity – even the IRS can’t get behind that as all that useful.

Closing the information doors – only the worried well will try to lock them. Although nearly all personal data is gone, and the results will be discovered over the years ahead -- advice is plentiful. Consider identity theft of the worried well. Their identity has been stolen (proven by the letter about that IRS pending refund to the thief), but they've suffered no financial losses yet. They follow all the super silly tips, triple-secure their passwords and they use real-time generated keys. They obtain secret phone PINS for calling the bank. They write all this down and store the printout in a safe place. (!) They are constantly checking credit reports (but they don’t click on that phony Anthem email). They are reading their bank statements daily searching for unusual charges. They cut their credit cards up, walk into banks and transact directly with tellers who ask them why they won't use the ATM machine. That's because they've read other advice to avoid skimmed ATM machines or data-siphoning gas pumps.  

Meanwhile back at innovation central, let us behold the self-driving car and the smartwatch. Convenience is the watchword for trivial innovation today. Innovators gave up on security a while ago. It happened while we were sleeping, leaving a green field of personal, government, and medical data sets to fuel hacker imaginations. So forget about your data privacy. Instead, behold the new convenience economy – you can manage your hackable house temperature, buy bar drinks for nearby friends, and now you can read your email messages sideways on your wrist. Or why not get a smarter self-driving car, one that can be hacked from anywhere?  Then consider April Pew numbers: 73% of the 65+ in that survey did not have a smartphone. After all of these 50 years of Moore's law of tech innovation, maybe the wisest among us couldn’t see the upside in subjecting themselves to more disruptive technology changes – and the resulting and potential for noticeable life disruption. Rant off.


I agree with you!  Being a confirmed electronic Luddite (well I do like my ancient smart phone!) I do believe that 90% of the 'enhancements' benefit less than 1/10 of 1/10 of 1% of the population.  That's a very small number!

Email is fine for me.  I get forced into texting as that is the only way I can get to some people.  And talk on the phone to a human?  Now I'm really showing that I'm a pre-electronic Luddite even though I worked in Information Services for almost 40 years!  Facebook, Twittter, etc. . . forget it.

Yes I have my list of a million passwords and virus protection and multiple backups but I just do it and get on with my life.  I'm working on cutting back the amount of time I spend on this stupid (yes, stupid is the operative word) technology.  I like to read books - the ones with paper and you have to turn physical pages - they are much more interesting!



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