Living Out Loud

I Have Some Strong Opinions on Privacy Freak Outs


If you are in the habit of finding stuff online to make yourself angry and depressed, don't laugh, lots of folks are into it, go and read some articles on how methodically your life is monitored by big tech companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon - even if you don't have accounts with those services. They take the mountains of info they collect on you, like your location history (been to the VD clinic or an AA meeting?), your search history (how long have you had these fantasies about midget clowns?) and they sell it to people who have money, like insurance companies who want to know how you drive your car or future employers who want to know your politics. It's all horrible, as mean spirited as only abject capitalism can be and it is practically inescapable.

Yes, you can search for ways to protect your privacy (although THEY will know you did it). I use a firewall to block my computer from talking to certain sites and countries. I also use a VPN that promises not to track where I go on the Internet so that if the police/CIA/FBI come looking for my history they will be SOL, if, and I must stress this, if my VPN company is telling the truth. I kind of have to take their word for it. I also use several ad and tracker blockers on my laptop, work desktop and phone. I read the (well, I skim over) the privacy policies of most apps I buy and websites I subscribe to and if they say "We will sell you out to the highest bidder" then I do not buy that app or subscribe to that website.

In the end though, who knows how well I am protected? There really isn't any way to find out. Mentally I deal with it the same way I deal with the looming climate disaster and the rise of right-wing fascism; I try not to think about it too much. I'll tell you what I don't do. I don't continue to use the Internet, Facebook, Google and the like while pretending that privacy is super-duper important to me. The online and corporate worlds are full of performative cyber-security theater people who are always online but act like they are engaged in a life-or-death battle with the forces of evil. The truth is that the people who really and truly value their privacy are living an analog, non-digital life as far as possible and giving up lots of the benefits that being connected gives you in the 21st century. As far as I am concerned, if you aren't willing to go that route, maybe quit making a big deal out the reality we all live in, OK?

I also have some pretty strong opinions on zero-trust computing, excessive mandatory password change policies and low security computing environments where people act like they are working on the atomic bomb. As an IT support guy, it is my job to make sure your computer allows you to do the job our employer has hired you to do. If the law says you have to keep some data locked down, well then we will just have to figure out the least intrusive and time sucking way to do that but if you are the lucky person tasked with doing things like planning the grass cutting schedule, then I really resent being forced by cyber-security freaks to make your life miserable by forcing you to jump through any kind of hoops just to use the technology you've been issued. I am on your side in the fight against self-justifying security bullshit.

#100DaysToOffload #Security #Technology #Work