Spy vs Spy

Spy-vs-SpyThe more security conscious we’ve become the more our security is compromised and is regularly breached. We bank online and entrust much of our private lives to social and other networks that a heightened sense of security is inevitable. Yet to me it’s akin to leaving a window open when one leaves the house: it’s an invitation to a burglar yet we still expect to be covered for our recklessness by our insurance company. We willingly sign up to Google: handing over personal details that we wouldn’t share with even our most trusted friends or family. The millisecond that we press ‘enter’ or ‘send’ our details are available to companies and organisations worldwide whose business it is to know everything there is to know about us, which in turn leads to targeted advertising and assumptions of income based on lifestyle choices. What else is there? Well, there are briefcases left on trains or busses containing this or that sensitive detail about thousands or millions of people. There are the Edward Snowdens of this world, Julian Assange: remember him? Or, how about America listening into the conversations of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel? Police1At the end of March I contacted the police via their online Police National Legal Database, just to clarify a point of legality: They duly responded. Fine. Then, on 2nd April, I received another, this time unexpected response from the police that should have gone to a completely different individual: a response that contained several pieces of personal information not intended for my viewing. I immediately sent their message back with the note, ‘Sirs, It would appear that you have sent this to the wrong recipient’. To date I have not had a reply. I’ve often wondered if the original intended recipient ever knew that someone like me was even privée to their online police query. This is a simple but effective illustration of just how vulnerable our electronic security is, even from the most trusted of sources.

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