Another Privacy Rant
Ok maybe I’ve never unleashed a rant about privacy on this website…but they’re coming! And if you’ve spent any time around me in person, you’ve probably heard my complaints about privacy.
This seems like a timely rant as we have gotten (ANOTHER) glimpse behind the curtains of US government surveillance. Although it’s been known for quite some time that the government has and does collect massive amounts of data on citizens and non-citizens alike. The current revelation is that the CIA (allegedly) has the ability to monitor what was believed to be encrypted communication through apps such as WhatsApp, Signal, etc. Putting aside why I think that is terrible (and the dumb argument of “if you’ve got nothing to hide…”), I’m also concerned by how people treat their own privacy.
This Rant’s for You, Guy with his Name, Phone Number, and Home Address on his License Plate
It’s important to guard details of your personal life to deter things like fraud, theft and crazy people. I started my legal career working with victims of identity theft. That’s when a criminal uses your personal data to get credit cards, identification documents, drain your bank accounts, etc. It can ruin your credit and actually land you in jail, if your identity thief has his/her crimes linked to your name. Undoing the damage from identify theft can take years and years.
Knowing this I was quite surprised to be driving behind a man with a mysterious personal license plate. The plate seemed like a random 5 letters and numbers, so I googled out of curiosity (after stopping the car of course). The license plate was the driver’s Ham Radio License and I was taken to a webpage with the man’s full name, home address, and phone number. I’m from New Mexico. You don’t want to piss another driver off and have them show up at your home later! That’s loco!
Privacy is important. Not just because we probably all do weird things when we think nobody’s around (or listening in through your Smart TV). Privacy can help keep your family safe, money in your bank, and your dance moves secret.