Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trust The 'Net? Never!

Sure, the internet is good for kicks and giggles. I enjoy blogging, posting pictures on Facebook and trouncing my opponents in fantasy football.

But do I trust it with my most closely guarded secrets? Do I want to transact all my confidential financial business on-line?

Absolutely not.

However, it seems that we're all being pushed in that direction. They want me to bank on-line, pay bills online and of course forever shop on-line.

Despite gentle prodding by the government, I refuse to even do my taxes on-line. When they make it free and absolutely secure, maybe. Until then, no. But the Internal Revenue Service just sent me a notice that said they're not even going to mail me a tax return this year. Since they expect me to file my taxes electronically, they will no longer mail out paper forms.

I'll tell you what, IRS. I'm going to leap ahead technologically here. I'm sending my tax returns in by thought transfer. Saves postage, computer bandwidth and your precious paper. Just give me the name of the appropriate IRS clerk and I'll start mentally beaming him the figures.

At work this year, they've stopped mailing out the booklet containing our benefit options during open enrollment. Look it up on-line, they say.

Check-writing also is becoming a thing of the past. Now it's debit cards and wire transfers. But at our house we still write checks and neither my wife nor I own a debit card. They've notified my wife this past month that she can't add minutes to her cell phone by calling on the phone. Use the internet instead. And now they're even pushing for on-line voting.

Why don't I trust the internet? C'mon. Google "Identity Theft" in Google News and you get 2,481 hits. It's that common.

Just the other day I got an e-mail from my son Greg. The subject line was about a highly pigmented eyeshadow palette he had just bought. What? Had my son joined a punk rock band or something? Turns out that somebody stole his e-mail address and address book. Now they're spamming all of Greg's friends and family.

Here's something I just read here JUST TONIGHT. There's a program called Firesheep that adds a tool that shows when anyone on an open network -- such as a coffee shop's Wi-Fi network -- visits an insecure site. A simple double-click can give a hacker instant access to the unsuspecting user's logged-on sites including Twitter and Facebook. Since researcher Eric Butler released Firesheep on Sunday, the add-on has been downloaded nearly 220,000 times.

That's a lot of hackers trying to get my information. That's a lot of reasons for me not to put my confidential personal information on-line.

Hopefully it won't come to me having to take down my blog because nefarious forces have taken it over. If that does happen, I WILL go to thought transfer. If then you receive a series of streaming mental uploads from a "Big Dave" on a Tuesday night, that'll be me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trouncing my opponents in fantasy football? You're on a two game losing streak.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

ANONYMOUS--I'm second in the league in points. The wins will come.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

I agree w/ you Dave. We do have debit cards-but hey, it doesn't give us cruise points or free airline tix! although we only write checks for oh maybe 5 things. One for the gardener and one for my hairdresser, neither one is set up for CC's.
My husband and I do a lot of our banking online and while my everlovin' is fine w/ it-it scares me.
I sympathize w/ your son as well. Remember a few months back when I went through h-e-double hockey sticks to get off all the blackmail lists b/c of a hacker?
And yet, w/o the internet I would have no income at all!
what are we to do?

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are worried about identity theft but you write a check that contains the following...your name, address, phone number (maybe), drivers license # (some merchants), ROUTING NUMBER, ACCOUNT NUMBER, CHECK SEQUENCE, might as well give a blood sample and first born son. It's fraudulent you still use checks!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--True, you can make money on the internet. That's okay by me, as long as I don't have to give them my social security number or anything like that.

ANONYMOUS--I'm not worried. My wife writes all the checks. Why not second born son? Methinks that's who this is.

3:55 AM  
Blogger CAROLDEE said...

You are scaringgggg the begeeeeez outta me Dave...we still write checks but sooner or later just about everything will be turned over to on line with NO way out of it..mandatory..then what.. the whole world explodes and we are all doomed.. Now that is the scariest thought you can get for Halloween.. Ehhhhhh TRICK OR TREAT!

8:34 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CAROLDEE--I'm going to have to board a space ark and travel then to a planet that does everything by hand. No internet or nothing. I'll thrive there.

5:41 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ I agree it is best not to give too much info on to the internet
but I don't know how your thought process will go - OK for us, but maybe not the IRS. Best of luck with them. We get discounts for various things we pay on line. I still prefer checks to pay accounts.
The funeral on Friday was beautiful
and full of love and good memories.
Peter had to make a speech and did well, with just a few stumbles. I was unable to go to another funeral next day, but my son went
to represent our family.
Take care my friend, Regards, Merle

9:11 PM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

Scary, isn't it? I'm still very careful with the internet - no checks, bill paying, ordering on line, and no personal photos. I guess if "they" want someone, :they" can get them, but for me, I'm not trying to help "them"

12:03 PM  
Blogger Yoga in Mirrormont said...

My lovely, edifying blog of long ago was once hijacked by some evil beings, which brought me to the realization that the virtual life is one big fantasy, not unlike your "trouncing" team, perhaps.

A blessed Reformation to you, Dave. The Spartans and I are confessing, repenting and taking comfort in the fact the our sins have been forgiven and that we shall, indeed, be victorious in the end!

Condolences to you over your third straight loss to Penn State, by the way. (But who's counting?)

Yoga meditation
Can make one feel better.

If one's team constantly loses,
Or, if being on ESPN makes one a fretter.

Feelings of sadness, tension, worthlessness and irritability
Can soon be replaced with joy and tranquility.

So, GO BIG GREEN - Hey, ho, ho, hey!
And, may the Fighting Illini beat your skunkbears this Saturday:
Om shanti, shanti, shanti, namaste!

8:14 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MERLE--I hope it's a while before I start attending funerals regularly. All my elder relatives are in relatively good health right now, even my 98-year-old grandma.

CASSIE--Hard not to do the personal photos though, especially when you're on Facebook. That's all I've found Facebook good for.

BONNIE--You can't even pass through Reformation day without taking a couple shots at my woeful Wolverines. What does the Bible say about the lowly and downtrodden?

Too bad about that Iowa game. Had you gotten past that one . . .
Then again, the Spartans are like the Chicago Cubs. Sooner or later they're bound to break your hearts. Just this year it was later.

3:54 AM  

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