It was a normal day at work. As I was emailing in the office I could hear clients chattering in the background and music playing (at a slightly louder than acceptable volume, I might add). The security cameras were down, so a technician had arrived to remedy our situation. For the first hour or so he worked quietly, occasionally mumbling a word or two out of frustration. Finally, after stewing in the awkward reality that we were both sharing the same small space and yet not saying a word to each other, I decided to inquire about his progress. (To be completely honest, I didn’t care about the progress, but I asked out of social obligation.) What I didn’t realize was that my simple question would fuel a rant lasting more than a half hour.
You see, this technician had a very important agenda once I opened that can of worms. For the next 30 minutes it was his duty to educate me about the security threats the World Wide Web so richly cultivates. This technician described countless examples of how each computer owning citizen on this globe is being tracked. Our information is being harvested and hijacked in order to promote and feed governmental agencies as well as internet companies and the entertainment industry. Yes. This is true. The internet is used to gather information about its users, no matter how ethical or unethical it is, but this gentleman was one Julia Roberts short of starring in his own version of Conspiracy Theory.
I learned about his family in that half hour. I learned that he was networking computers throughout his house, even his children’s rooms, before broadband existed. I learned that he purposely sabotages certain standard computer programs to dissolve any unwanted barnacle-like programs that might encrust themselves on his hard drive. He was candid about the precautions he takes. He was almost proud to share his tips and techniques. He was also very fond of his homemade recipe of software he had cooked up to save him from “Big Brothers” always watchful eye.
In all reality, there are a lot of sketchy practices when it comes to the internet. The internet has great power in today’s culture, meaning it also has a great responsibility to protect its users and not take advantage of them. The problem is there is a lack of accountability for the big wigs sitting pretty in their cyber mansions. So…here’s to you, Big Brother; I know you're reading this.