Think I’m channeling Andy Rooney today, but I have to say passwords are driving me CRAZY! I mean, everywhere I go I must have a new login, a password, and a user identification. What, no secret handshake? Like I don’t know who I am? Like I’m some sort of spy for the Society of Pet Owners Everywhere who wants to hack into how many snacks you’re giving your furry friends? Like by having a password my personal information is somehow safe? Can you say, “wire tap?”
This is all very confusing. Yesterday, I heard of a writer from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers who is very sick. This woman has a large following, and we all appreciated hearing from her family. Of course everyone wishes her well for a speedy recovery. But in order to hear news from her family, I had to sign up for a website called CarePages. It’s like having to have a login and password to read a local newspaper. Am I going to search a website about sick people in order to what–steal bed pans or something? Maybe I could write an episode of General Hospital after changing a couple of names. The registration onto this website was no big deal–give your name, age, blood type. Whatever.
Dutifully, I signed up for the sight and made another entry into my secret code book (an old address book where I keep passwords for the kazillion sites that require passwords). I’m running out of space for the C-D section.
I hear there are software devices that will store all of your passwords for you. Then you only have to remember the one “master password,” and a magic gate opens letting you visit that florist shop on-line you last purchased from in 2000. I think the information is stored in this reliable source called “the cloud.” I don’t know about you, but clouds or any other form of weather have never been too reliable before, so now I’m supposed to trust this huge server in the sky that has everybody’s information in it to somehow be secure, safe, and private?
A couple of weeks ago, I went to purchase something from the Apple App store. Dutifully, the screen popped up to ask my name and login. I click-clacked away on the keyboard, only to find my password was rejected. Hmm. I typed it in again. Nope. I checked my address book. There I was, and there was the password I thought I had. I typed in my information over again. Rejected. After a couple of hours, a support call or two and my good guy intervening with the computer gods on my behalf, I finally got in…forgot what I was going to the site for in the first place.
Lately, this has been happening more and more. I suspect there is an expiration date on passwords, only in order to know this, you must have a password to the security section of the internet.
And speaking of, just want to share with you some of the “privacy” policy of Yahoo.com:
“Yahoo may combine information about you that we have with information we obtain from business partners or other companies.
“When you register we ask for information such as your name, email address, birth date, gender, ZIP code, occupation, industry, and personal interests. For some financial products and services we might also ask for your address, Social Security number, and information about your assets.
“Yahoo automatically receives and records information from your computer and browser, including your IP address, Yahoo cookie information, software and hardware attributes, and the page you request.
“Yahoo uses information for the following general purposes: to customize the advertising and content you see, fulfill your requests for products and services, improve our services, contact you, conduct research, and provide anonymous reporting for internal and external clients.”
Okay, so where’s the privacy in all of this? Yahoo now has my name, birthdate, social security number, gender, where I live, what I look at on the internet–and they share it “internally and externally.” What about all of this is private? If this is secure, why am I feeling so naked?
And please don’t get me started on creating a password. Now I have some anonymous password teacher in the cloud judging whether my new passwords are “weak,” “mild,” or “strong.” And chances are, if they’re strong, no one in his or her right mind will remember them–ever. Back to the cloud to register the doggone thing.
I think I’m going to give up and go back to the wink-wink-nudge-nudge form of security we used to have for our secret kid clubs back in the day. Sheesh.