Low Tech Thinking in a High Tech World.

Low Tech Thinking in a High Tech World

Over the past couple of weeks, I’m sure you’ve taken a closer look at the invasive technical world in which we live.  The grilling of Mark Zuckerberg by Congress should be eye-opening to us all. Is Alexa really spying on you?  Does your phone hear what’s going on around you 24/7? What about your connected car or truck?

The lack of knowledge by Congress on how social media operates, much less the technical side, is laughable.  While digging for the smoking gun of Cambridge Analytica, the process pulled back the curtain that hides just a portion of the dark side of our insatiable appetite for seamless connectivity.

As I reviewed highlights of Q&A from the proceedings, our collective ignorance of the processes and the repercussions of our need for instant gratification spoke volumes to me.  We wonder how in the world such breeches in security can possibly happen.  How we see ads pop up for items and services we were just talking about.  Who is the Gatekeeper and who is going to protect us from ourselves?

Recently, my wife was “window shopping” from her laptop.  At that moment, an ad for the same company popped up on the sidebar of my browser on MY laptop that was on a table across the room.  In a split second, I had been served an ad based upon my wife’s browsing from the same IP address.  No big deal, unless she had been looking for a gift for me!  Seriously though, there is a privacy policy attached to just about everything on the Internet (don’t worry, our website doesn’t sell or offer your information to anyone for any reason).  Nobody reads the fine print.  Or the large print.  If you need a calculator on your phone, you quickly pull it down from your app store and use it.  The app store has a privacy policy.  As does Google or Apple.  As does the app you downloaded.  Oh, and it also asked for access to your location, your contacts, your phone, your camera and the list goes on.  It’s all there, yet it’s ignored for the sake of that immediate gratification.  Here’s a little suggestion; don’t EVER play the online “games” and “personality quizzes”.

We recently bought a new truck.  It’s as connected as any vehicle I’ve ever seen.  It has its own hotspot available (though I’m not sure why I’d subscribe since I can do the same thing with my phone).  It’s a Ford, so it has Sync 3, which still can’t understand and obey simple commands, but that was expected.  It can connect to my phone via Bluetooth or USB.  And guess what!  There are pages upon pages of Disclaimers and End Use Licensing Agreements in the manual. In fact, pages 586-611 are nothing but that.  Did you know you had an End User License Agreement for your navigation system?  After all, they know where you are.

We don’t think about the impact of today’s technology.  We simply revel in it.  We hop in the car, turn it on and we’re on our merry way while surrounded by monitoring devices.

Yesterday, I received a letter from State Farm explaining to me how I could save 5% on my car insurance and perhaps even more if I would simply subscribe to their new service.  The service includes plugging a device into the OBDII port on my car so the company can monitor my activities and usage of the vehicle.  Have you ever received a letter from an insurance company that upped your rates because they found out you were putting more miles on the car than you had thought you would?  How did they find out?  They buy lists from the automobile companies, oil change stores, tire stores, online stores where you pop in your make/model/year and miles to do a little browsing.  I’m sure State Farm would love to see my trip to the race track and my top speed in a very short distance!  They could, if I was willing to save 5% on my premiums by plugging them into my OBDII port. Sorry, that port is busy.

The fact is that WE are the Gatekeepers.  If we truly need (not just want) all this technology at our fingertips, there is a price to pay.  And the true price is just beginning to be unveiled.  The next time you see the permissions popping up when you add an app, just say no and see what happens.  If you can’t get in, ask yourself if you really needed it.  Either way, the price of technology hardware and software is plummeting and the price and impact on our lives is skyrocketing.

Be safe.

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