The recent data breach at Sony Entertainment studio proves there is huge chunks of our private information floating in databases around the world, which will be available to our grand kids in the future. Many think they’ve got nothing to hide but in reality we are all have something to hide.
Connecting the dots about the past would have been much easier if the internet existed at the beginning time. Historians wouldn’t need to exhume skulls to understand life before them. Tracing the social life of our ancestors would only require crawling into Google, Facebook, Twitter or Amazon of time to access their emails, shopping details, browsing habits, their dating life, and all the other incriminating private data we innocently leave behind after every click.
While that was past where history had a lot of black holes and gaps, it points to a future where history will be transparent and historians of tomorrow will have an easy ride. The recent cyber assault on Sony Pictures is enough prove we’ve left enough digital footprint in database around the world. Literally, our whole life is on the web and only requires the right skills to dig out. These prints can be mapped to tell all the juicy details about your current life.
“Sony hack has stirred in the public consciousness the idea that we leave an incredible volume of data in our wake, often quite permanently. Stupid photos, snarky emails, and awful work presentations are not unique to Sony. And this hack is merely hinting at our future — the future of near total transparency to history,” says Matt Novak in blogpost.
More worrisome is that this information will be available 100 years from now. We are always up in arms every time companies breach our privacy, but probably it’s the right time to address what this companies will do with your private info in the future.
“We’re constantly asking what these companies are doing with our information today. But maybe the more important question is, what these companies will do with our data far into the future,” says Novak.
For sure, nothing prevents Google, Facebook or Twitter from selling your emails, direct messages or private photos to your great grand kids. Companies like Ancestry.com are already selling access to your family tree, death & birth certificates and they’ve now ventured into DNA mapping. Think about all the private photos tucked away somewhere on iCloud, how much will they cost 50 years from now? Actually, the problem is not how much they will earn from your data but how much of your data will be available for sale.
In this case, Sony hack should not be seen as an isolated case only affecting a dozen of Hollywood stars, who woke up to read their latest Bank statements on Facebook. It could happen to anyone at any time, actually it will happening to you next. So How much of your private life will be available online when the internet break loose?
Many are blinded by the false sense of security that they have nothing to hide. But, if you wouldn’t have your inbox pasted in a billboard next to your house, then you have a lot to hide and the more reason you should freak out every time a database is hacked. “Just take a look through your Sent folders last month. Last week. Yesterday. There’s something in there you wouldn’t want the world to see. There’s some conversation that would be misread without context, or read correctly for its cloddishness” notes Brian Barrett at Gizmodo.
The most important lesson from Sony’s hack is that we are all vulnerable to attacks, regardless of the privacy or the anonymity our service providers promise. So if you’re not ready to live in a future where your private data will be sold the highest bidder, then its time to act and minimize the collateral damage. Be careful about the information you post online, because apparently no one is completely safe. It’s the dark secret of the web.