Jul 142013

Unless you’re retired, independently wealthy, making the effort to live off the grid, or some combination thereof, you’re eventually going to trust a faceless megacorp with your personal information.

Well, I say “a faceless megacorp.”  I suppose you could spread it out among several, but you might as well not have as soon as you aggregate it, and even if you don’t someone else will.

So, which one, Bo?

Google was out immediately.  They tell you right to your face that they intend to make all of the content in the world searchable.

As important as Apple was to me growing up, and as warmly as I felt about them as recently as 2007, I never seriously considered them either.  I don’t care for their ceaselessly arrogant business practices.  Also, Apple bigots are insufferable.

I went with Microsoft.  My affection for their products is longstanding.  I’ve spent my entire career in Windows shops.  They don’t seem nearly as scary as Google, and they’re not nearly as arrogant as Apple.  Why not?  Plunge.

Turns out that might have been the scariest choice of all.

I learned in a recent John Dvorak column that the NSA appears to have access to Microsoft that is both broad and deep.  The most damning allegation is that the NSA can bypass Microsoft file encryption at will.

Wow.  Just…wow.


You know, I still have my Palm TX.  It works perfectly.  I even have a new spare battery for it that might still be good.  Carrying it and a lowball candy bar phone is starting to sound pretty appealing.

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 Posted by at 4:18 pm

  3 Responses to “Microsoft, NSA kissy-kissy; perhaps retreat to more primitive gadgets is in order”

  1. This whole public revelation that privacy isn’t what most thought it was makes me a bit worried that people don’t realize the power of the technology their world relies on these days. The biggest issue we face, in my opinion, is that so much of our lives, including the information and meta information about said lives, has moved into “the cloud” (I hate that term so much…) of the “information super highway” while our behaviors, practices, and understanding of how to protect said information are trailing behind in 1983 (you see what I did there?).

    Meanwhile, there are countries less than a century old that have blown past us in to the 21st century. The picture of that article pretty much says it all.

    Our identities, whether we like it our not, are no longer private. We need to wrap our heads around that. We also need to understand that this does not mean we can’t protect it. Modern technology, including encryption, can vastly support having a very public identity while having it very well protected. Estonia is apparently a shining example of this.

    If everyone in the country were issued a single smart ID card, it could enable us to simplify and strengthen our personal security in so many ways. Have the whole system be open source to allow for the scrutiny of those who have the know how and are willing to protect us from poorly implemented security. Now you’ve got a single system that can simplify your identity management allowing much safer banking, medical records storage, licensure, and secure information storage and communication.

    Right now we attempt to do all of that with individually implemented, black box systems for each of the above categories, with varying degrees of success, mostly a lack there of.

    Wouldn’t you rather, instead of your whole identity revolving around a number as simple as 123-45-6789, revolve around an ID like:


    Which looks more secure? Because one of those is what the U.S. uses… and one of those is what Estonia uses.

  2. Perhaps I should go and visit Estonia.

  3. Tahm, interesting thoughts. I’ll mull.

    Hey Lynda! Good to “see” you here. Hang a bit.

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