We know we are being watched and recorded — even while stuck in traffic — but few of us realize the depth of the “fingerprint data” mining going on behind us behind the scenes to wholly identify the minutiae of us. Over the weekend, another “Blippy Blooper” made the headlines, and the willful Blippy braggarts around us continue to get publicly stung by the very money viper they’re trying to privately pet.
It’s an all-too-familiar threat for anyone who’s done a bit of online shopping: the notion that, somehow, a security breach or errant server configuration could somehow expose your credit card information to the entirety of the Internet. And revealing this most sacred of numbers doesn’t even have to be the work of a super-hacker–as five users of the online service Blippy recently learned, all it can take is one fairly simple Google search to unlock the key to one’s financial kingdom.
Here’s the deal. Blippy is a startup service that allows anyone to create a profile and share their various online purchases with a mass group of friends. It’s akin to a giant Facebook wall for shopping: When you buy $500 worth of Blu-ray discs from your favorite online retailer, this purchase gets shared on Blippy as long as you made the transaction using your previously designated “Blippy Card.”
The Blippy Card isn’t a new piece of plastic–it’s just the credit card that you’ve told Blippy to track purchases on, under the subtext that purchases you don’t want tracked could be made using another card or payment system.
USA Today — yes, that USA Today — published a fantastic article on all the ways your private identity is being logged into databases on a daily basis.
Your phone number can be found on the internet and, for a price, information about you, your home and your job can be purchased for as little as $15.00USD.
Credit Reports are vital to your economic happiness — and they contain every gory detail about you.
Insurance reports, checking accounts, employment history, rental agreements, the Social Security Administration and utilities all mark and record your public and private behavior and many of those entities make money selling that information to other companies and ordinary people — for the right price.
Is it possible to live a private life any longer if your car accident negatively affects your ability to sign up for electric service without first providing a hefty deposit?
If you bounced a check, should that color your job application?
If you quit your job after a week — why is that any business of your insurance company as they use that against you to raise your rates?
All of this Panoptically recorded data has great value — not for you, but for Big Companies looking for any reason at all to squeeze a bit more money out of you — and the fact that paper is dying and the bit and the byte now have teeth with fangs means we will really have no way out from the momentary adult indiscretion or the fateful adolescent instant when a computer processed a payment late.
We are all forever condemned by the unforgiving memory of the database coalitions.