This once-proud nation has fallen on hard times of late. America’s manufacturing industry is in the toilet (mostly because that toilet was made cheaper in China). Our non-immigrant kids are no longer the best in math, science or anything that doesn’t involve racking their ’nads. And now it seems that even our criminals are getting lazy. They’re no longer putting in long hours or taking dangerous risks. So whose fault is the demise of our criminal’s work ethic? Most likely, yours.
What many people don’t realize is that their social networking status updates are providing specific and timely information on their whereabouts to total strangers, some of whom are no-good, low-down criminals. In the past, these no-good, low-down criminals would have at least had the decency to stake out your home and wait until you’d gone on vacation before pilfering your stuff.
Nowadays, criminals are lazy and complacent. They just sit at home reading your publicly viewable status updates and—when you’re out of town—they rob your home without any risk or fear of discovery (see pleaserobme.com). Frankly, this lack of initiative on the part of America’s low-life scumbags is nothing less than shameful.
It seems Facebook was making it all too easy for nogoodniks by suddenly making “Share With Everyone” the default setting for anything you posted, even if you had set it differently before. Not surprisingly, public outcry forced them to rejigger their Byzantine, purposely complex privacy settings, yet they remain confusing to all but the nerdiest among us (I’m looking at you, writers of The Big Bang Theory).
And don’t forget about location-aware apps like Foursquare, Yelp and Gowalla which announce to the world that your home is unoccupied and available for robbery.
But digital hardship shouldn’t mean that we just give up and give away our privacy. No, rather we should rise to the challenge and take five minutes out of our busy day to do our due diligence by looking into all the ways companies are using our personal information to take advantage of us. Just like freedom, privacy isn’t free. And the price of privacy is eternal vigilance.
Failing that, you can visit the folks over at ReclaimPrivacy.org who have created a “bookmarket” (don’t ask) that you can easily add to your browser and find out precisely what you’re sharing, and with whom. For other tips on how not to get all your stuff nicked while you’re away watching “Sex And The City 11, Back To The Plastic Surgeons!” visit the Center for Democracy & Technology. Because if you value your personal privacy in the least, that is truly the least you can do.