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Does Your Mother Get All of Her News and Information from Email Forwards?

mom-computerDoes your mother get all of her information from email forwards?  Does she stay up at night worrying about missing children who aren’t actually missing, or cologne that can be used by criminals to knock people out in parking lots just because she read about these things in emails from her friends? 

Has she replaced whatever notion of U.S. history she learned in school with information she pieced together from emails forwarded to her by people you only know as snookie3522@aol and grammylove2000@hotmail?

If so, you are probably distraught by your mom’s bizarre information sources, but don’t worry.  You can stop her from being indoctrinated further by spam in one easy step:  Just tell her that every time she opens an email forward, a random stranger at an offshore bank can access her credit card information and take a picture of her.  Make sure she knows that this invasion of her privacy can happen even if the email comes from her very best friend. 

Before you know it, she won’t be spamming anyone anymore, including you.

Cyber-Snooping: Our Favorite Lunchtime Pasttime

June 22, 2009 by Alison  
Filed under Alison's Blog, Technology

These days, personal privacy is a thing of the past. With a few clicks of a mouse and some creative lunchtime cyber-stalking skills, we can learn all about other people’s lives. We can find out if our ex got married, what his trampy new wife looks like, and whether or not her parents have money. We can read about old coworkers, get dirt on new ones, and see satellite images of people’s houses. 

And if we have specific questions like “Will I really have bad luck for ten years if I don’t forward the latest spam email from my Mom to at least ten people?” or “Do I really have an Uncle in Nigeria who left me a million dollars?” or ”Does Shamwow really work?”  we can find those answers online as well.

But I have a double standard when it comes to search engine snooping. I can’t stand the fact that my own information is so accessible to other people even though I love looking at theirs. One day I put my name into Google and up came an Amazon Wish List I created ten years ago, probably in an attempt to get some guy I was dating at the time to buy me a birthday present I really like. Fortunately, the list only had on it “Songs of the 70s compilation” and a few other random items. But imagine if it listed personal lubricant, handcuffs, and a wrench.  Is that really public information?  My Dad is one of those old people who doesn’t use the internet, but his friends who do know more about my life than he does. 

Nevertheless, we don’t get to choose whether or not our life story is public information anymore. The end of privacy is a natural byproduct of the digital age and there isn’t much we can do about it. We just have to be a little more cautious, keep the bad photos out of the wrong hands, and make peace with the fact that some day someone might discover that we are a long-time member of imsohairyicouldscream.com.  Copyright © 2009 Alison James

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