We have written in this spot many times about actions one should take to keep your personal information safe online. It’s really disconcerting, however, when you could have used many best practices and still find your information being shared.
That is largely at the base of lawsuits recently filed by taxpayers against Google and Meta. These suits dig into some serious issues underlying our largely digital culture. You can read a good article from Forbes about the background to these here, but largely what it comes down to is when companies like these digital giants largely make their money off making use of digital data, then what is it appropriate for them to use and in what ways? And even if they are not actively using some information, if their actions and services possibly allow others to access information, what is their responsibility in the matter?
These types of questions can keep spinning out further and further from there. And they are important questions and ones that society will need to come to some consensus on as the fallout from new technologies continues to be observed. This, however, is not the place (and I am not the person) to try to arrive at any real answers.
Instead, however, I do want to emphasize just how many ways there are for your information to be compromised. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t retain vigilance and use best practices when it comes to how you operate online. But it does show that even with them, nothing is foolproof, and there are still malicious actors out there.
So the warning here then is to not feel super safe. I do not want to encourage any level of paranoia, but instead, if you see something suspicious, don’t just hide from it or think that you can avoid it. There are a lot of scams out there, but not EVERYTHING is a scam.
Therefore, if you see something strange on a credit report, look into it. If you receive some information from the IRS that sounds wrong, look into it. If you receive correspondence about accounts you were not aware of, look into it. And sure, sometimes these may, in fact, be fraudulent and you can ignore them from there. But the more vigilant you are, the more you can keep these things from turning into something bigger. And as we are seeing, there are many ways out there for some of your information to potentially be grabbed, even through no fault of your own.
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