I got an email this morning from a client who has been dead at least six months. We’ll call him “Peter,” which is not his real one. Seeing his name pop up in my inbox was eerie. I knew immediately that it was not a “real” message and, sure enough, it was one of those that is sent out to everyone in your inbox advertising sexual enhancers or weight loss or some such—I don’t know which in this case since I do not open these.
Still, it was odd seeing Peter’s name, especially in this early-morning fog before my coffee. It felt momentarily like a message from the grave from someone who had not been ready to pass on from this life. Like a stilled voice trying to cry out to be remembered.
Indeed, he had not been ready. He left an eight-year-old son for whom he and I fought hard. His death had been out-of-the-blue, young. He need not signal from beyond for me to remember Peter.
But, I am digressing—my ADD. There are many rabbit holes I could go down on this one, but the one I want to write about today is this:
Do you ever think about how much information is floating around in the airwaves? Okay, I know it isn’t in the airwaves but on some big servers that I picture (wrongly) to be in the sky. In any case, it’s out there.
I don’t highlight anything exciting, folks. I am no national security risk. I would not care one bit if you, my friend, looked over my shoulder at any time and saw my readings or my highlighting. But it’s creepy to consider persons I will never have any real connection with having that access. Don’t you think?
Same with my local Kroger store. I use their “rewards” card because without it I don’t get their discount. Therefore, they know everything I eat. (Now THAT’S something you don’t need to see—often laden with junk food as it is). Truthfully, I shrug about that one, too, but add it to the Amazon thing, and it’s creepy.
Our office uses encrypted emailing to send documents through “the Cloud.” It is American Bar Approved for securely sending documents, is a great tool for communicating and storage yadayadaya, but c’mon! It’s up there somewhere! Which I believe means that is eventually accessible.
The whole thing unsettles me especially in light of the revelations of how much spying our own government is doing on us all. I believe that to be creepy, too—and illegal, not to mention unAmerican (Can anyone spell “Bill of Rights?”).
We’re getting immune to the creepy feeling we ought to have about leaving a trail of information about ourselves.
I had a client in the other day who is a professor in the information technology field. He spoke about how easy it is to find out things—how you don’t have to be the big-dog government. He says as an exercise he has one of his students post a private picture on facebook in the classroom, then shows them right there how to get to it.
There is no privacy.
He says his young students do not care. “I don’t particularly want people I don’t know (especially millions of them) knowing that my favorite color is blue,” he said. “But these young folks cock their heads and furrow their brows when I try to explain my unease at this.”
Yes, there is no privacy, and we are caring less and less. The younger you are the more information you put out there.
You think I don’t understand how much information about myself I put out on this blog?
So, back to Peter. What is going to happen to all your email accounts when you pass on? What about your “cloud” storages? Will they be reaching out to someone after you are gone? Do your loved ones know how to get into your electronic paths and deactivate them? ( I suppose there is no such thing as “destroying” the information you’ve already put out there.”
I don’t think any archaeologists will be needed 1,000 years from now to know everything about us. There is a growing cloudbank of witness to your lives.
Creepy, I tell you. C