Our society is maintained by information: information about who we were, who we are, and in some cases that we will become. We live in the Information age, a time where movement of information is faster than physical movement. Some say that we live in a new type of society called an Information Society, in which the creation, distribution and manipulation of information has become a significant economic and cultural activity. Matthew Lesko, a columnist, made this point clear when he wrote, “Information is the currency of today’s world.” Sir Francis Bacon an English statesman from the 1500s proclaimed wisely that, “Knowledge is power.” His words echo today in the familiar truism, “Information is power.”
In our lives today we experience how the personal information that we keep, that we share and that we lose, moves us through a waxing and waning dance of power and powerlessness. Keep your information safe and you protect your home, your assets, your family and maybe even your life. Share your information and in return you hope to receive valuable goods and services. Lose your information and the things that you enjoy and love can come crumbling down around you.
Today, instead of on paper, most of our private information is stored in electronic format on hard drives. This technology allows our world to do business as never before imagined. Business is faster, less expensive and requires far less labor than even one generation ago.
However, throughout history we discover that technological advancement has a price. Pollution and stress invades our environment and often our bodies. The loss of certain skills once familiar drives us toward a dangerous dependency. Now high-tech scam artists and thieves prey on victims around the world at the speed of light and neither needs to be awake for the crime to occur. With these things in mind we are moved to the realization that now is the time for each of us to examine the state of, and the danger to, our personal information.
Your private information is vulnerable in two ways. It is vulnerable to loss and theft. We can compartmentalize your storage locations into two frameworks, your local, personal computer storage and your online storage. These frameworks each have their strengths and weaknesses.
Your local, offline information can be stolen by someone breaking into your house, car or wherever you keep your computer. Your data can be destroyed by a hard drive crash, a fire or flood. It is difficult and time consuming to keep consistent, daily backups of your hard drive then store them at a location other than your computer. You can never be sure if your computer is at this very moment infected with spyware, adware, Trojans, back doors, key loggers, bots or viruses. Each one is capable of taking control of your computer and sending your valuable, private information from your hard drive to anywhere in the world.
Many people enjoy keeping notes and documents online. People every day are discovering the convenience of having their thoughts, to-do lists, diaries, customer lists or essays available from any computer in the world. Business people, real estate agents, sales people and others are now getting more work done more efficiently thanks to the wellspring of online document authoring sites.
Now freed from the task of daily backups and concerns about loss and theft due to an infected computer, only one thing remains from making online document authoring and storage the perfect solution: privacy.
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