The Perils of Electronic Communications

I’ve been reading the reports of the massive data loss at Sony over the last few weeks. In some ways, the most jarring reports are not leaked finances but instead all the email. As much of a geek as I am (or perhaps because I’m a geek), I just don’t share private thoughts via email or text message. This came up on a recent episode of Mac Power Users and I truly believe people don’t understand how easy it is for governments, or subpoena-wielding attorneys, or … now … motivated hackers to get access to digital communications and records.

I think it runs even deeper than the typical big brother paranoia. Digital communications is permanent and hurtful things said to friends and loved ones via email is equally permanent. If you are pissed at a friend, go confront him. Yell. Scream. Exercise your demons. Bloody noses heal and a shared beer a few hours later heals even better. A rage-filled email however drives a deep, and often permanent, wedge.

So saying hurtful things is, generally, a bad idea and doing so electronically is an even worse idea. Hackers are only going to get smarter and your private communications are more likely … not less … as we move into the future to be compromised.

So here are a few tips the next time you start writing something in an email or text message you don’t feel comfortable projecting on the side of your house:

1. Don’t

2. Do

3. It.

There it is. Three easy tips.