This morning I got an email from on of my friends. She is my hero in terms of not having ‘stuff.’ In the past two years our lives have both settled down somewhat. No more big moves having settled into stable relationships and jobs. Here is an excerpt of the email:
“…on my way back here, i left my knapsack in the cab. had my laptop, car keys, my camera, my mom’s blue ring, all the little jewelry and make up I own, plus a few other favorites. my mom’s ring bugged me the most. but it’s made me recognize that i was getting too attached to it — and by extension, i think i have been getting too attached to the trappings of security in general. i think i mean that i’ve become less free, and more concerned with things (like jewelry) that i never gave a damn about before.”
It made me think…what are the trappings of security? is it such a bad thing to have security? As we get older (a fact that can’t be helped) is it not natural to want a certain amount of security? have I become less free? Weighed down by commitments, responsibilities and belongings?
I woke up this morning and read two articles. One was from Fast Company regarding Mint a ‘Quicken’ killer that strives to make balancing your checkbook ‘fun’ well if not fun then at least less painful. Its all online, you put in all your banking and credit card data, it mines it all and then voila puts it all in one place and automatically categorizes them. The second article I read was Wired’s “Why ‘Anonymous’ Data Sometimes Isn’t” by Bruce Schneider. In his article he talked about how little information is actually needed to de-anonymize data.
Using public anonymous data from the 1990 census, Latanya Sweeney found that 87 percent of the population in the United States, 216 million of 248 million, could likely be uniquely identified by their five-digit ZIP code, combined with their gender and date of birth. About half of the U.S. population is likely identifiable by gender, date of birth and the city, town or municipality in which the person resides.
It’s scary. On one hand you have the benefits of utility and efficiency, on the other hand you have security. It’s the reason why my mom refuses to use a credit card or ATM card. It exposes her to more risk. Incredulous, I exclaim “… but its so convenient. Why do you want to rely on CASH?” (It’s so old school) Maybe I am part of the old generation now and it’s the ‘kids’ that will look at me with their mouths hanging open and ask me ‘What do you mean you don’t do your finances online?”