The Internet of Things … Just Not MY Things
March 19, 2019|Posted in: Uncategorized
So, a lot of my posts make me sound like a technophobe, and this one isn’t going to be any better. I’m really NOT a technophobe, I just don’t happen to subscribe to the belief that every new piece of technology is best for me. And the more some outsider tries to convince me it IS for me, the more suspicious I get.
Take banking, for example. I still get my normal, old-fashioned paper statements in the mail each month. And every month, I see these huge notices on those statements that tout all the benefits of banking online or via app.
Now, I will bank online now and again; I don’t think it’s evil or anything … it’s just that I know me, and if I’m not holding the physical bill in my grubby little paws, I WILL forget to pay it. At the same time, I understand why the bank would rather I did everything electronically: it is way faster, cheaper, and more accurate for them. I get that–they’re in business to make money, after all.
My beef comes from their advertisements, which treat me like a complete idiot. Like, they don’t want to admit that THEY benefit from it; no, no … it’s all for MY benefit:
Think of all the trees, hassle, and money you’ll save by going paperless!
OK. Stamps are what? 50 cents a pop these days? In the course of the year, I’m not saving enough to buy a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte. Whoopee.
You want me to think about saving trees? That’d be a lot more convincing if you weren’t sending me credit card come-ons of biblical proportion 2 or 3 times a week. You’re wasting a lot more trees than I am, folks.
And hassle? Um … I drop it in the outgoing mail slot in the foyer as I walk by … the biggest hassle every month is trying to remember where I put my checkbook, and since I can usually find my checkbook faster than I can find the stupid password for your site, that’s a wash.
Of course, they’d probably say I could just have my phone or computer remember my password … but no, thank you. Again, that’s technology I just don’t need.
I figure, the less info I have wandering around in “The Cloud,” the less there is to use against me. I won’t even tie my Paypal account to my checking account: once that connection is made, you’ve just doubled your vulnerability.
How so? Well, think about it: some lowlife can get to your money, not by hacking the bank–which is pretty hard to do, under normal circumstances–but simply by getting your Paypal email account and playing with it awhile. And once they’re in there, crooks could transfer everything you have in checking straight to your Paypal.
Oh, you have a savings account too? And the accounts are linked? Well now you’ve given the bad guys access to those monies, too. And once they’ve added all your dough to your Paypal balance, they can arrange a transfer to another account they control, and make it look like you did it yourself.
Of course it isn’t that easy, but remember, you have people who work as hard at fraud as you work at your job (or in the case of me, probably harder). Silicon Valley (and Wall Street) want us to interconnect our entire lives–that damnable Internet of Things–but no matter how much they stress it will make OUR lives better, the risk outweighs the benefits. And it’s only getting worse.
Think of it as a house with several rooms, but each room only has a door to the outside. Even if a thief breaks into one room and steals everything there, he’s still only got the stuff in that room: if he wants stuff in any other room, he has to start all over.
But the IoT is more like a house that has two or more doors in every room: one to the outside, one to the hallway inside. Once the hacker gets into one room, it’s a cinch to go into all the others, as well. In that situation, having a 3-inch solid oak door on your “bank” room is kinda pointless if you only have a screen door on your Roomba room. Chain’s only as strong as it’s weakest link, and all that.
All this interconnectivity is great for the corporations: they can swap (or sell) information back and forth, and learn all your likes and needs–the better to market to you with. And what do you get out of it? You get to have Alexa tell you weather, or call home and turn on the crock pot. It’s highly ironic that app-powered surveillance cameras we buy to make us feel physically safer are actually putting all our electronic assets at great risk. Ain’t worth it, people.
I’m not a technophobe. But neither do I think technology is an all-or-nothing proposition. And no corporation is going to tell me otherwise.