Let’s talk seriously about your privacy, because according to a new CNN report, it’s almost impossible to get by in today’s “digital society” without giving up some of your privacy. In fact, recent studies have shown that the same electronic gadgets which help us stay connected these days are a big reason why 11 million North Americans were victims of identity theft last year! Every day, your gadgets share more personal data than you realize, starting the moment you roll out of bed. For example: When you turn on your cell phone, it’ll send out digital signals that can trace where you are to within 100 feet! Buy a latte with your credit card, and you’ll leave behind a “digital track” that could be followed. If you log onto your online social network, you’ll give away your location via the computer’s electronic IP address.
So, is all of this tracking a bad thing? Not necessarily. Steve Rambam is a private investigator who hosts a seminar called “Privacy Is Dead: Get Over It.” He argues that most of us get “compensated” for the privacy we give up, in the form of more convenience. His thinking is that it’s a lot easier to shop online than it is to drive to the store, and carry all those shopping bags! It’s also easier to whip out a smart phone, to look up the nearest deli, than it is to thumb through a phone book. The downside to all of that convenience is that it’s much harder now to truly “disappear.”
As an experiment, a writer from Wired magazine actually tried to do that last year. He used false identities, physical disguises, prepaid cell phones, and a bag full of cash to try to stay hidden as he traveled across North America. Despite all of his precautions, a reader tracked him down within two months living under an assumed name in New Orleans - more than 2,000 miles from home! The lesson? Our expert says it IS possible to live a totally private life these days, but in order to do it, you’d have to endure a life that won’t be either convenient or fun.