Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What's your privacy really worth???

What’s your privacy really worth???

I had occasion to consider that the other day when I left my PDA in a cab. I know….it was a stupid thing to do and I am not given to random acts of stupidity, but I was on the phone and paying the fare and had taken it out to get a number from it, and the driver behind was getting impatient because the cab had stopped at the lights , and…….

I knew immediately I was inside the building and went to check which floor I was supposed to be going to for the meeting. It was one of those moments….

That frantic patting of pockets and rummaging through folder, knowing that it wasn’t there but in the faint hope that maybe I was actually smart enough not to have left it sitting on the seat.

What was the cab I was in?? What company was it?? Rang the cab company and said I was just dropped at … and had left my PDA on the seat, and… no I don’t know the cab number, the drivers name?? …are you kidding me, he didn’t know which street we were on… drivers ID…. Just forget it!!

Ring the office - get the meeting location and the name – then 90 minutes later stop to work out what to do. My life in a bloody piece of plastic and buttons. 3000 contacts over several years of contracting, the sort of resource you can go to to get that name, meeting detail, tax file number, birthdates, the account numbers I can never remember……. my life in my pocket.

Forget the cost of replacing the hardware – that’s enough of a pain – insurance…. “no I wasn’t in the house at the time, yes of course I wasn’t aware that I had left it on the seat until the cab had gone; drivers ID….. ohhh just forget it!!”

Surely I’m not the only one this has happened to. The truth is this is the third time. One PDA and one PDA/phone [a bloody poor excuse for both, but that’s another story….]

So then I have to start again. Not just the contact details [most of that I have synched on the PC], but not all, not just the diary [most of that I had synched on the PC – although not all the old meetings] but it’s a time consuming process to work out what I didn’t have and what I did have….. etc.

The greater concern is what happened to all of my information. I know, I should have had a password on it but I used to have a password on it and it was such a pain in the arse to have to unlock all the time and … anyway. Someone gets in the cab and says, look what the last guy left here, driver you better hang onto it cause they’ll ring for it when they notice it missing…an hour later and someone in a local pub is $50 lighter and has their grubby paws on my life.

So it got me to thinking, what is my privacy worth?? To me. What would I have paid to get my PDA back, more to the point what would I pay to have someone else not have it. My information has a value doesn’t it? I even saw where someone came up with a calculator for it and I think they undersold it.[Check out the calculator here]

I wonder who knows what about me and how many more lists, and databases, am I on. Someone is paying good money to get hold of it. I keep getting emails and phone calls from people I have never heard of [don’t we all!!].

Enough’s enough.

And I still want my PDA back… I don’t want to go through that again. Just send it to me if you find it.



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