It is 1:28 AM on Thursday May 3rd, 2018. I’m not posting this one right away since I’m writing about something which this something might actually read. What does that mean?
I’m currently exploring a new job opportunity and one of the requirements is a background check. My background is not cause for anxiety but it causes it anyway. It is amazing the amount of information human resource departments ask for now days. I imagine they do so due to liability and the rise in our culture where everyone sues everyone and companies do have to pay out a lot due to liability. In the case of this opportunity they’ve asked for: corporate references, past employer references, fingerprints, college degree verification, a driver’s license check, criminal background history check, a drug test and so on. This is the final phase for this opportunity and it just happens to coincide with my privacy experiment here on the internet.
One of the questions was for alias’s used and it made me think if I should put down my internet alias which I did not. This is the name I use for internet activities such as Facebook, Yelp, Twitter and so on. In order to guard a bit of privacy from all the prying eyes these days I thought it was a good idea years ago. I also have a separate cell phone number through Google voice which I sometimes use since companies and services can look you up through your phone number. Now some would say if you have nothing to hide you wouldn’t need to do something like this but that is not the point. The point is to try to keep a modicum of privacy in an age where everyone wants your personal information, even when buying something as simple as a shirt from a clothing store! For internet services they ask for just about everything with a few smiley faces and cute text as though they’re your friend and it is no big deal. We’ll as we’re seeing in the media this is all a big deal because they will sell that information for their own profit and you’re information will probably be leaked/hacked anyway so you might as well just send it yourself directly to the criminals.
This was apparent in the Cambridge Analytica debacle on Facebook and even more seriously with the Equifax hack which got your social security number. What this leads to is incessant calls from call centers asking about your energy statements, calls telling me I’m under investigation by the IRS, and for scams by a cute female bot simply trying to record my voice saying “yes.” It has gotten to the point where I don’t even answer my phone anymore due to the possibility of getting scammed.
For the current job opportunity they wanted to know if they could contact my current employer for “drug and alcohol records.” I had to call HR on this one because even though there is nothing to find I don’t have the job yet and having some random background checker call my current boss when I haven’t given my two week notice yet would be cause for a very uncomfortable situation.
Going back to my experiment in internet privacy there are mixed results. As it turns out my NoScript extension doesn’t let most pages even load until I give it explicit permission which is becoming very annoying. The internet doesn’t even work these days without the ability to track your every move. So in addition to web services explicitly asking for your information and even if you decline they still get you by recording your movements on the backend or the page won’t load at all.
All of this tracking is akin to all users writing out their activities for the day and sending it not only to the CIA, IRS and NSA but also a myriad of companies who want to profit off your life.
This has all gone too far and we’re finally starting to see the backlash.
So here I am, up in the middle of the night, which is caused by anxiety of who knows how many companies checking into my life. To be sure, my life is not all that exciting and I have nothing to hide but good God privacy is absolutely dead these days.