Forget Privacy, Think Security

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Everywhere you go there is a privacy advocate screaming to protect your privacy. Privacy advocates, bless them, are a dying breed. They fight for whatever privacy rights there are left and do their best to remain watchdogs. If your gig is privacy, my guess is you have lost all your hair and are popping Prozac to relieve the stress of todays anti-private society. And you are fully employed and very very busy.

My gripe, people are freaking about full body scanners at the airports and the privacy issues involved. This isn’t a privacy issue, it’s a security issue. If you have to show a black and white image of your bum bum to avoid the plane from being blown up, so be it. Otherwise don’t fly.

“Privacy is dead, deal with it,” Sun MicroSystems former CEO Scott McNealy was widely reported to have declared over a decade ago. Scott hit the nail on the head and shortly after Tila Tequila became a famous lesbian pinup on MySpace, the Real World of reality TV was born, and we’ve been tweeting tuna sandwiches ever since.

Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook who was around 13 years old when McNealy made his statement recently re-affirmed it by saying  “… in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that’s evolved over time.”

The fact is, “Privacy is an illusion, said Robert Siciliano CEO of, “the focus today should be security, not privacy” he continued. That right there is a ready made quote for you to copy/paste and make me a sage like my two counterparts :)~

Think of it like this: from birth you have a medical and birth record. These docs follow you everywhere in life and are filed and viewed by many. You can’t get admissions to schools, jobs or insurances without presenting these records. You are granted a Social Security number shortly after birth and that IS your National ID. Nine numbers that are connected to every financial, criminal and insurance record that makes up who you are and what you’ve done. But none of these docs are connected to you physically, which results in identity theft, a security issue.

Further, every time you visit a website with cookies enabled, use an ATM, credit card, RFID transponder on the highway toll, public transportation pass, make a call on a mobile phone, order a pizza over a home phone or simply use a computer to denote you ate that tuna, chances are – someone, somewhere – is recording that transaction and determining your location.

If you want to participate in society you have no choice but to give up your privacy. Fundamentally this is a trust issue. Humans lie and can’t be automatically trusted. We have considerable checks and balances in place to prevent lying from going unnoticed. Anonymity is dead due to the fact that bad guys try to hide or not pay. Transparency makes their chances of getting caught more likely. If you kill someone then drive down the highway, your chances of getting caught increase because your license plate is recorded through the toll. This is a good trade off for the family of the victim.

Knowing all this and understanding technologies impact on what you thought was privacy, should make you resigned to the fact that privacy is in-fact dead and an illusion. Now your focus needs to be security. Secure your financial identity so no-one can pose as you. Secure your online social media identity so no-one can pose as you. Secure your PC so no-one can take over your accounts.  And please, there is no sense in telling the world what you are doing and where you are every minute of the day. When you do this, you aren’t relinquishing privacy; you are compromising your personal security.

  1. Get a credit freeze. Click on the preceding link and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.
  2. Go to my website and get my FREE ebook on how to protect yourself from the bad guy.
  3. Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano identity theft speaker discussing cookies and privacy issues on FOX News

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