Facebook’s newest breach that affected more than 50 million user accounts is just the latest in an ever increasing problem in privacy invasion and theft. This new attack gave the hacker(s) access not only to personal account information including email addresses and phone numbers, it also gave them full control over a users’ accounts. If we can’t trust the so-called technology giants – who are supposed to be the best at what they do – to protect our information, what do we do?
Privacy Not Guaranteed
Lawmakers are working on making stricter privacy protection laws, but will that really do any good? Hackers are always going to find a way to break into networks – they live for that challenge. Security is important of course, but is there really any program, network or system that is truly unhackable? Doubtful.
Perhaps the problem is that certain businesses ask for too much of our personal information – and keep it stored for future customer convenience. Amazon, for example, is a place most of us have at least shopped once. If you’ve ever purchased anything from them, all of your personal information including credit card numbers, are stored on their servers. Now, with Facebook’s newest hack, if you use the same password for both your Facebook and Amazon accounts, the hackers could potentially get into both of those accounts.
Although Facebook claims no credit card information was compromised – but admitted it’s too early in the investigation to be entirely positive about that claim – who is to say the hackers couldn’t get credit card information from any of your other accounts where you use the same password? It’s a terrifying thought.
Maybe instead of storing our information for our own convenience, companies should use programs to make our information disappear as soon as we finish our transactions. Snapchat became popular because it made your messages and pictures self-destructed once viewed. This might be a good security protection measure for online businesses to take. However, the potential (and likelihood) of businesses abusing this probably wouldn’t make much of a difference – as in the case of Snapchat, whose fine print claims all rights to your images and can see them even when you no longer can.
Is it Already too Late?
You know the saying, nothing ever really leaves the internet. Once you’ve put something out there, someone, somehow can always find access to it. Pressing ‘delete’ only works on that 50-page novel you were writing and didn’t save before accidentally hitting the dreaded button. That, you’ll never get back. But that stupid picture your friend took of you when you’d had too much to drink and thought mooning your friends a funny idea at the time – that will be floating around in internet space forever.
Our privacy is already compromised, and it’s happened so smoothly and so enticingly, we let ourselves get sucked in with eyes wide open and sparkling with stars of amazement. Our cell phones, for example, know exactly where we are every single second of our lives. Using GPS for directions is a great tool, right? It’s easy; you’re phone already knows where you are, so all you have to do is tell it where you want to go – and it will tell you exactly how to get there. Facebook users love to use it to tell all their friends where they are eating dinner, shopping, and on and on.
In today’s world, once you are born you are ‘in the system.’ Your birthdate, name and gender (for now) are entered into the hospital’s database along with your parents’ private and financial information. When you get a social security number, that is entered into the Social Security Department’s database. From your first doctor’s appointment, your health records are in another database. When you start school, a new job, get a bank account, apply for a loan; your information is now in several other databases. So, whether you never sign up for a single social media account, you’re already in the system. Your personal information is already out there.
It’s already too late.