TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: In With the New E-Mail, Out With the Old

Re: In With the New E-Mail, Out With the Old
19 Jan 2006 10:14:08 -0800

Lena wrote:

> I guess I ought to stop buying things on the Internet, because, as
> so many have warned, someone could scoff up my credit card and start
> charging. ... I shouldn't even be ON the Internet, or someone could
> plant a virus in my computer and steal all my personal information
> that way.

> I shouldn't even go out in public, because I could be the victim of
> a robbery, or get killed in an automobile accident. But if I stay
> in this house, the house could catch on fire and I'd get burned.

> There's no place to go. No place to hide. What should I do? I think
> the sky is falling in.

There of course is an element of risk in everything we do. But the
element of risk varies significantly from one act to another. Getting
sarcastic about it is not the answer.

The reality is that Internet commerce is relatively new and the risk
of fraud is higher. Computer networks DO make it easy for thieves for
a variety of reasons. The necessary protection features aren't as
strong as they need to be, and the criminals are working very hard to
defeat them. (Thieves steal in traditional ways, too, but the
computer gives many advantages in using stolen stuff.)

Personal privacy is not something to take lightly either. We used to
joke about threats our school teachers made about our "permanent
record", knowing that record would be buried in file cabinet never
ever to see the light of day. Not true today. We ALL have very long
and detailed "permanent records" we are not aware of stored and
processed by people we don't know. The information and secret
processing of these records will impact whether we can get a job or
not or how much we'll pay for things like insurance, rent, and
mortgages. This is just the _legal_ side of it. The illegal side of
it can go much worse.

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