If you haven’t been living under a rock, you will be aware that
Big Brother the U.S. administration has essentially decided that ALL data is worth capturing and sifting through, whether for national security reasons or other nefarious uses. The online giants (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, FB, Twitter, Apple, Verizon, etc, etc) have all bended knee to NSA, DOD and other intelligent agencies to provide every keystroke across the globe. Every photo tag is run through facial recognition software. Photo editing suites have back doors to allow any provider of software, firmware and devices such as PAS cameras and smartphones. The list goes on and on. Bradley and Snowden have confirmed this. (And they’re the only ones,so far, who have spoken up.)
I strenuously advise one to eliminate or greatly reduce ANY and ALL online profiles; either social media or business network/forum memberships to only necessary use. Even then, you should be vigilant in controlling what seemingly innocuous pieces of information you post.
I would also advises admin security for all online capable devices along with a zero tolerance for anyone using YOUR devices to access online or offline. That means mom buying movie tickets too. NO girlfriend/ wife/ buddy should have access to your devices. It seems like a hardcore stance. Trust me, it is absolutely necessary.
Any professional techies out there who can elaborate on this, please feel free to provide additional evidence.
Here are some bullet points in securing your identity and preparing for when you’re dead. Yes, I said when you’re dead. When the drunk driver kills you crossing a street. When you lose control of your vehicle and plow into oncoming traffic. When you are riding your motorcycle and get blasted in an intersection. When that hidden heart valve defect puts you into cardiac arrest. When you get shot walking into a convenience store in the middle of a robbery.
It happens all the time. All these events happened this week in the city I live in. These are the ones I know about. 150k people die every day around the globe.
Here are some bullet points to help you in this.
- Tier your passwords. You can simply adopt a 4 or 5 tier system for your passwords. One for all financial/banking accounts. One for all personal email accounts. One for all the social media you use, website or forums you subscribe to THAT YOU ACTUALLY ENGAGE WITH FREQUENTLY. Another for silly shit like WhiteTrash.com
- Choose passwords that combine upper/lowercase letters and numbers. DO NOT use names of family, kids, pets, GF, or any personal data from your past (like towns, streets you lived in, addresses, jobs or birth dates) You would be better served using historical events and dates, fictional characters, trivia, bible references (these are GREAT!) An example would be * chARle770MAgnE ( in reference to the years the wars of Charlemagne started) Maybe upper case for vowels, lower case for consonants or vice versa, add a number after every third letter. Get my drift? It’s easy, you just have to commit to memorizing it.
- Change passwords every 3 months. Set a remainder on your phone. Rotate the 4 or 5 passwords amongst the different tiered accounts or if you are online a great deal of the time, write out your passwords for the year and store them in a place no one has access to.
- Go through and eliminate past or expired accounts/subscriptions/forums you no longer use. That means the Spotify account you set up when on that European trip 2 years ago to have music to fuck the ladies to.
- Set an admin password for your laptop/wireless device/smart phone. If someone (buddy/GF/mom) uses your device, set up a guest account with a simple password for them to use. Log out of your admin first before giving them access.
Some use social media for gaming chicks. If you do, keep your profile simple. Don’t divulge personal likes in SM profiles, your favorite books, movies, music, etc. Don’t TAG photos of you or your friends. Do not accept tags from others. Use one good recent photo of you, (if you must) and that’s it. No ones cares about your rocking steak you just grilled or the sombrero you got for Halloween. Limit details and photos of trips, family outings, GF, friends, graduations. If someone specifically asks to see them, send them via snail mail and curate only the best. Or save it for when you see them in person. You’ll have more to talk about when you do.
I know this all seems extravagant and it goes against the current mindset of broadcasting your life for all to see. Instead of being broadcast TV, be more like HBO- one needs to subscribe to your life. Give them a personal ‘credit check’. If they are an acquaintance, pass. If it is friends far away or incarcerated, include them. Be fucking picky for god’s sake!
Divulging personal data may SEEM harmless but trust ALL this data is being dumped into a bin to be sifted through for gathering, meta tagging, collation and strategic predictions by thousands of just graduated MIT nerds.
There is no quantifiable benefit to posting your likeness or personal data to be seen online unless you’re applying for a job. Period. Real life allows you to give this out to whomever you choose when you meet them.
Lastly, appoint someone you TRUST implicitly to be the person who wipes your devices in case of death. Make it a lawyer if you need to. Macbooks have Keychain Access that stores all your password enabled accounts; I don’t know what PC has. Write a letter stating that X person has permission to collect your devices and wipe them of password protected accounts and to return them to surviving family members if you so choose. Make sure you include your admin password for them to get into it. List bank accounts and financial accounts so that money can be withdrawn to cover costs of your burial/funeral. Get the letter notarized and put in into an envelope marked “open in the case of my death”. I’m not a lawyer so I urge you to have any questions answered by an attorney regarding what else you may need to have in writing so this can be done swiftly and correctly.
In the end, you want to make your unfortunate demise as painless and clean as possible.
Remember, you an INDIVIDUAL, not a lump of data.
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(originally published Sept 2013)