On May 19, Amazon announced that, less than four years after their introduction, the sales of Kindle books surpassed those of hardcover and paperbacks combined. What’s even more amazing is that this does NOT count free eBooks, but DOES count printed books that are not available on the kindle. While I couldn’t find any sales statistics like that for Barnes and Noble, I think it’s safe to say they aren’t quite as good due to their physical stores. Still, it’s another nail in the coffin for printed material. How long will it be before books go the way of Beta tapes?
I’m sure you have heard about the theft of personal information from Sony. It’s not the first time personal information was hacked, nor will it be the last time. If you are concerned about keeping your private information private, I’d like to share a news story on this subject.
I remember a TV station doing a story on how easy it was to get personal information. They walked up to a person in a parking lot and asked, “Do you mind if we find out everything we can about you and report back to you in three days?” When the person said, “No”, the reporter copied down the license plate number and left.
Three days later, they showed up at the person’s house with the names, birthdates, SSN’s etc. for everyone living in the house. They also knew all the mortgage details (some that even the owner didn’t know). When asked how they got all this information, the reporter said they paid a private investigator $250.
The scary part of this story is that it was in the late 1970’s – before the Internet made getting this information easier. My guess is the only difference between then and now is that, instead of taking three days, they would be able to make the 5 o’clock deadline.
The point here is that if someone wants to get your personal information, they will. It doesn’t matter that it was Sony this time or simply stealing credit card numbers, it’s impossible to stop determined people from getting information. We need to be vigilant but not paranoid; be watchful, but not a hermit. And it really doesn’t matter if we are “online” or not. We can live in a technological world without losing everything.
For a little fun while testing your knowledge, play the Identity Theft Face Off game from Federal Trade Commission.
Dave's Affordable Design is in the Technology Education and Consulting business. Read more about Dave here.