So I’m Mark Swartz, & this my blog. MY blog. I get to say what I like. What I’m thinking about. Right now, I’ve been pondering encryption. Encryption.
Why would I need it? I’m 22, a student, I have no creepy secrets … but I’ve started feeling a little … how can I put it? … watched. Yeah. Watched. Hey, there’s something cool about my computer getting to know me as well as I know it. 🙂
Targeted ads are useful, since they save me time and effort when I’m looking for a nifty little gadget or app. But I’m also starting to get a bit creeped out by just how well I’m being observed. Collected. Like a specimen. My habits, my likes, my preferences, all picked over, so that someone out there can drop little bread-crumbs for me to follow. I’m feeling led. By the nose. Just for once, I’d like to do my own research, without some Big Brother algorithm advising me on what to purchase, and how to do some rudimentary task.
Then there’s government. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have heard of Julian Assange, Anonymous, WikiLeaks, and Edward Snowden. The stuff they’ve brought out into the open is absolutely crazy. I mean, countries have always kept a healthy eye on each other. That’s a given. But this level? Hacking telephone lines of government officials?! Collecting electronic data of populations? Crazy. When you realise that some geek out there in a basement office has probably been looking at your family photos; admiring your dog; scoping your girlfriend’s topless selfie … and monitoring your spending patterns, hobbies, and what you’re reading, just in case you show a little dissension? It’s not right.
So I’ve started to use encryption myself. I browse privately. I use an encryption programe for all my correspondence. Now that I’ve got the habit, I’m going to keep on with it. I mean, one day, when I’ve graduated and running my own small business, I don’t want someone looking over my shoulder all the time. I also appreciate that encryption will protect me from some idiot hacking into my accounts and way-laying my hard-earned money, or screwing up my computer systems just for the malicious joy of it.
And that’s the thing about encryption. Like I said earlier, I’m a simple soul with no secrets. But I reserve the right to have them if I want. And if I’m going to go about my life honestly, I’m going to encrypt to make sure that no-one else compromises me. I’m going to earn my money honestly, and encryption will keep others from earning mine any other way.