When we moved into the 21st century eleven years ago, many of us gladly embraced technology and social networking and the ease it added to our lives. We no longer needed an encyclopedia or dictionary, every bit of information could be instantly at our fingertips with the use of Google. People we had lost through the years of living our lives were finding us on Facebook. Pocket calendars and address books were no longer needed because that information could be stored in our phones. We could communicate quickly through email and save the cost of a stamp and envelope. We could even pay all our bills online in one fell swoop.
Now that we've become accustomed to this immediate gratification of our wants and needs, things are changing again.
Google users have been getting emails telling them that new policies will be put in place in March. Users cannot "opt out". These new policies promise to make their lives easier.
"We're getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that's a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google."
Boston Herald journalist Raakhee Mirchandani wrote, "Instead of keeping separate vats of information for each of its products, Google will now allow them to cross-pollinate, creating a complete picture of who you are, what you read, where you’re going and what you’re up to."
According to "Social apps 'harvest smartphone contacts' " published on yesterday's BBC Mobile News Technology website:
"Twitter has admitted copying entire address books from smartphones and storing the data on its servers, often without customers' knowledge.
Access to the address book is enabled when users click on the "Find Friends" feature on smartphone apps."
Times are changing. You don't need to be paranoid but should be curious as to who's collecting this data? And why? And who's guarding it? And just how secure are our "secure sites" like bank accounts and the like? The computer's smart enough to match us up with our passwords and allow us access to our accounts. Surely, that information stored in computer banks could be accessed by someone other than ourselves. With identify theft rampant, have we set ourselves up by being lured into a trap that has firmly ensnared us in its jagged teeth?
It goes without saying that it's probably a little late to go back and try to erase our information from the vastness we know as the internet. Like a word spoken in anger, once released you may never get it back. Suddenly pencil and paper and stashing your cash in your mattress are beginning to sound like not such bad ideas. Just something to be aware of and think about.