SMART CONSUMERISM: STORAGE WARS, OWNERSHIP & PRIVACY
I am what many refer to as a “techie” or a “tech savvy individual”, but I do not use a smartphone. You may find that odd or even laugh out loud, but there are many reasons I have made that decision. Today I choose to share a few with you, because in order to become a smart consumer, you need information in order to make an informed decision. Remember that phrase “the more you know”? Hold on to that while I explain.
First, allow me to give you a little information about my technical background, which may help you to see where my information comes from. I have (2) two degrees, one in Computer Programming and the other in Computer Networking Administration and what that boils down to is I build computers, link them together, build websites and make them communicate with each other, smartphones, tablets, digital telephones and any other wired/wireless device.
I am going to take a guess and say that most of you reading this have a smartphone, you are likely reading this post on your phone. In your hand you hold a device that has the ability to do many tasks that enrich your life, save you time, allow you to communicate in more ways than you could have ever imagined, work from anywhere by sharing documents, images and more. Whether you are a business owner or just someone who likes to take pictures your smartphone is doing more than just allowing you to live what you may deem “a better life”. In addition to the benefits there are also drawbacks and you should innerstand them both, because to me one outweighs the other.
When you take a picture using your smartphone by default it is being tagged with GPS coordinates. I say by default because with most smartphones it can be turned off, but is set to on when you buy it. What that means to you is that when you take a picture the exact location is being embedded in the meta data (information about the image that is transferred with the image whenever it goes). Someone with this knowledge can very easily extract this information using a simple program or website. Can you imagine that your entire regime can be tracked and traced so easily. You take your child to daycare or school and you decide to take a picture. Then you go to your office to have a meeting with a client; you take a picture of the prototype or someone being silly. Before you go home you have to go to ballet or softball practice; more pictures are taken and finally you return home where you share the pictures on your favorite social media site. While this is just one reason I don’t like smartphones it is easy to resolve it, if you are unaware of how to turn off this feature look online or contact whoever you purchased the phone from.
Storage Wars & Ownership
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s talk storage wars. You have files stored on your SD card if you have a smartphone or a tablet and a hard drive if you have a computer (desktop or laptop), regardless if it is a PC or a Mac, but at some point something called “cloud computing” and “cloud storage” was introduced. The thought of storing your data “in the cloud” which can be anywhere like Google Drive, Dropbox, or any of the other free or paid storage sites, seems like a dream. I mean you can free up your SD card and your hard drives so that you can store more, right? Well, depending on what you are storing you may think differently after reading the reasons this may not be a good choice or the right option for you.
The technical term “cloud” is a network of computers that are stored remotely (not inside your home).
- So when you store your files “on the cloud” you are essentially leaving your files at your friends house.
- Your files are being stored on multiple computers and many copies exist, so even if/when you delete it, a copy remains “at your friends house” forever.
- I know there are disclaimers stating your rights and ownership of your files or data are protected; it simply cannot be guaranteed. Of course if you find out they were accessed or used without your permission you can use the law to try to resolve it but–it is not likely you will find out and if you do– the amount of time and money it would take to fight it would probably make you decide not to attempt it.
What that means is, if you have business or personal files/data/images that you want to protect, you should store them at “your house” on SD card(s), micro SD card(s) and or external hard drives that are used strictly for this purpose. I am not saying that by storing your files on another computer or in a cloud is not a good idea, I am saying Innerstand what the cloud is and make an informed decision about what you want to store there. For instance my website and likely yours is stored on another computer (your host); I use Google Drive to store crochet and knit patterns and I upload pictures to Facebook however I do not upload pictures of my son because they are to personal to me and as a business owner I do not store any confidential client data or projects on third party (remote/cloud based) computers.
None of this information is being shared to scare you, quite the contrary it is being shared to empower you. I hope that you found some if not all of this information to be helpful and want to pass it on to your friends and family.
As always I hope that the information shared is both enlightening and empowering. Thank you for reading it and sharing your time with me.
IMAGE COURTESY OF FREEPIK.COM