Two Verizon employees recently got arrested for stealing nude photos off a woman’s smartphone when they transferred her data. Almost daily, we hear about some major corporation’s security that has been compromised, or how some Bulgarian hacker is selling off millions of Facebook passwords. “80% of online photos of kids end up hacked and on child predator sites.” London is a police state with their glut of surveillance cameras. Airports have scanners that see you naked. It has a lot of people terrified that somehow, someway, their privacy is being stripped away. I don’t buy it.
There are in excess of seven billion people on this planet, and roughly half of them are packing the same equipment you are. The other half has the parts of whatever sex you aren’t. A tiny percentage has both; a tinier percentage has neither. Some of us are bankrupt, some of us are flush with cash, some of us say unflattering things about our bosses. Nobody has anything going on that is of any real interest to most of us (except Obama … is that guy packing a hog leg or what?), and yet we’re terrified that someone is going to do something that will expose us for the monsters we are (unless you’re that ViolentAcrez guy … at which point you probably deserved to be revealed for the monster inside you). The bottom line? There is enormous safety in the raw data that is everyone around you. You are a salmon in the stream, one of billions, and there is a better than good bet you don’t get snatched up by a bear or a fisherman. We only hear about the fish “Uncle Dave” caught; we never hear about the fish who die of old age, which is most of them.
What is a hacker going to do with a million Facebook passwords? Have you ever physically, consciously looked at a million of something? I once copy/pasted blocks of text of the letter “A” until I had four million “A’s” in a text document. On page 967 of like 2,954, I colored one little “A” red. That was my chance that week of winning the lotto (I didn’t get laid a lot in high school). Suffice to say, I didn’t win the lotto, and if a hacker has my Facebook info (amidst a million other Facebook accounts) I’m not too concerned. The same with London. Millions of people walking around, driving, shopping, eating — who is possibly watching everything and everyone? At what point are the cameras just visual reminders? How many innocent phone calls do I make that sound vaguely sinister because I use terms like “bomb,” or “terrorist” or “blow up the Space Needle for the will of Allah”? In fact, I’ll bet the NSA just started reading this article — what’s up, guys? Say “hi” to Uncle Sam for me.
I am not memorable, I am not interesting, and if some TSA flunkie test-fires his baby batter to a nude scan of me, frankly I’m flattered. But that’s only if I know about it. In this case, and most other privacy-related issues, we will never have any clue that someone is looking at something of “ours,” and you know what? It just doesn’t matter. And that brings us back to the peculiar incident of the lady who got her nude photos stolen by the Verizon guys. You know how those two got caught? They showed the photos to a random customer who happened to know the woman. What are the odds of that happening? About as good a chance of me winning the lotto … or getting laid in high school.