The CBS piece is terrifying. I wrote some thoughts on it for the list-serve and wanted to expand thereon without seeming to blather.
Paranoid? This demands a political answer. but there is some technical stuff in here to justify the piece.
There is a law in Arizona that requires people to produce paperwork proving they are citizens. Some are outraged!
They seem to forget that many of those now outraged were dancing in the street over the recent passage of Obama-Care which will require you to produce paperwork, which you doubtless carry, that proves you are a citizen and entitled to the program.
All we need now is Sgt. Schultz saying: “Papers please.” Maybe not even “please.”
I use an unlabled disk I got from a friend who works for an “A” agency…oh wait, that’s what the “A” stands for isn’t it. Not much help there if you’re trying to guess. Anyway if you put the disk in the CD-Rom drive it sniffs out all the drives, including the removeable ones if connected and those you tried to hide, and asks you basically which of them you want to destroy. It takes it about 24 hours but I understand that it repeatedly writes 1’s ad 0’s over and over and over again until there is nothing left of the data-filled magnetic structure. You end up with “rust” on a spinning plastic disk.
Just because of my cynical nature, I sent a “cleaned” drive back to the manufacturer and asked if they could recover any data and they told me it was “empty”…clearly an impossible situation for any drive in any condition. I guess they meant that either a) they couldn’t, or b) they wouldn’t. FYI: The drives are fine when you finish with this cleaning but you obviously need to add things to make them realize they are harddrives and to work again.
Since I’ve had that disk I have not thrown out an HDD before cleaning. Before that, I used a hammer but I’m now not convinced that it did any good except to provide me with some excersize. Just in case your were curious, I did try to copy it and it won’t. Poop.
What’s equally troubling is how easily we hand over unnecessary information when making a purchase. “What’s your zip-code?” “What’s your phone number, area code first?” My doctor takes my insurance card and drivers license and makes a copy of it for the files. Or he did!!! That’s something else we’re going to talk about!
Even the mag-strips on credit and debit cards probably have information they don’t need for the transaction on them. I don’t know what they do have and I probably don’t want to know but someone needs to tell the bank to not include things not necessary for the transaction in places like that.
It’s fascinating that Social Security cards all say right on the front that they are NOT to be used for purposes of identification yet in Florida if you want to renew your drivers license you can use one to prove that you are elegible to hold such a priveleged document as a driving license. One article in the local daily stated that Social Security cards are a proof of citizenship. (Since they quit teaching Civics it’s been downhill.) You don’t have to be able to read, you don’t really have to be able to see all that well, and you don’t have to speak English…in fact if you can’t read or if you don’t speak English they have someone who will “help” you take the test. There is no explanation for how you’re supposed to study for it…. (This is the kind of thing that gets you sitting the corner of your room sucking your thumb, swaying back and forth slowly and kind of humming softly.)
One thing the CBS story included but which was not mentioned here is that most of the copiers sold on the used market go off-shore to places like Singapore, the old Soviet Union, and South America. All places that are high on my “Trustworthy” scale and well known for “Identity Theft” rings. I have gotten phone calls from places where people speak with strange accents, like those spoken at 7-11’s to be offensively stereotypical, asking if I want to buy my pharmaceuticals from them…they’re cheaper. When I ask how they got the specific information as to the medications I take, they tell me it’s readily available from lists they buy. In one case, the caller told me that the manager (pimp) buys the lists and the callers get paid to make thousands of phone calls. They are off-shore and simply do not care about the US “Don’t call” list. One guy told me “that’s a US law…it’s not the law in my country.” Your Diplomacy and Foreign Relations tax-dollars at work!
And our “nanny” government takes no steps to insure our financial safety or security in fact particpating in more ways than most of us would like if most of us knew what was going on. The ridiculously redundant questions on the Census form being a prime example of collecting un-needed or redundant information. I told them our names and address and nothing else. They either have it, it’s illegal to ask (race, gender), or it’s simply none of their business. Of course if most of us knew what was going on we’d either be doing it differently or we’d all go off a bridge!
Of course, I’m helping! Information Security is my middle name so of course I run two wireless networks at home here in Fla…one for office and printing the other for house and entertainment…and a few other wireless things, like phones and I have wired magnetic interconnect lines to the phone company, etc. all around the joint. I live in an older neighborhood and there is no fiber. Telco says we’re lucky to have phones! (It took an act of the State Legislature to get them to hook up DSL to my house down here. I asked for ISDN and I think they’re still laughing.)
Of course if the NSA is listening to me, they’d be better off listening to Katie Couric if they want to learn something interesting.
Actually, my buddy tells me that aren’t listening to anything I have to say. I’m disappointed and not a little jealous! He said they used to listen but gave it up.
That’s sad, ain’t it?
Keep it out of the red!!