Sophisticated technology - keeping secrets safe?
Whilst I may never have had first hand experience in the
highly spiced world of spying and espionage, I have had skirmishes around the
theft of SIT (code: for secret information technology): when I owned my
furniture company. Everyone knows that the moment you release a new product in
any industry, if the design is of any merit, you will see your new product being
made by other manufacturers within a fortnight.
On one occasion, I called in to visit one of my retail
outlets unexpectedly -– my timing was perfect. As I walked in I found one of my
competitors lying under one of our dining tables, chatting with the shop owner
as he took photo's of our design with a camera and flash. A most embarrassing
moment all round! The competitor was so shocked to see me, he whacked his head
on the solid rail of the table as he scampered out...
Modern technology will certainly make life easier and more
convenient for thieves to work silently and efficiently. Personal data and
information is also becoming more accessible if you know where to look.
On the positive side - isn't it great. We can be contacted
24/7. We can communicate with our businesses throughout the day from wherever we
are, even when we're on holiday. Now we can take snap shots and speedily send
them back to the office: like a post card, but this is a phone card.
Taken from the Waikato Times, 17 August 2002, "...one
wouldn't buy a £200 mobile phone to send a few postcards from far-flung
holiday destinations. But it is not hard to think of many other applications for
For example, when out shopping, a wife could show her husband
the shirt she planned to buy him. When looking at houses, a prospective buyer
could take pictures of the rooms, and send them back to a home computer. And for
business, there are numerous monitoring, security and surveillance applications...
After two dreadful years for the mobile industry, Vodafone,
Nokia and the rest sorely need a big success. The industry has invested tens of
billions on the promise of 'data services' -– such as the transmission of
pictures, video and music. The technology is here at last."
With more than one billion mobile handsets in use worldwide,
(China has more than 100 million cell phone users) it is fairly likely that the
odd individual, with less than pure motives, will utilise the latest technology
to their perverted gain. Convenience has increased to another level.
Talking about the numbers game: what happens to all of the
'outmoded products' when they are superseded by the next latest
technology? This particular issue is creating its own horror stories as an
insatiably hungry consumer industry cries out for more -– but struggles to deal
with its waste products.
"...Disposal of obsolete computers and mobile phones is
being targeted as a major logistical problem for US authorities... The toxic
materials used and complicated designs of the electronic devices make it
expensive to engage in some form of safe environmental disposal.
The amount of lead in cathode-ray tube devices like computer
monitors and TV sets is an example of the problem...
The US moves have also been encouraged by concern that more
than half of America's discarded hi-tech trash is exported to developing
countries such as China and Pakistan, where some residents are now complaining
they are becoming exposed to the potential health hazards of electronic
recycling" Waikato Times, 5 September 2002.
And if that's not bad enough, users beware:
Dealing with a burnt laptop?
One final word of warning: the current issue of British
medical journal "The Lancet" has published a letter from Claes-Goran
Ostenson, of the department of molecular medicine at Stockholm's Karolinska
Institute. The letter reported the case of a high tech ordeal leading to
physical injury. "Doctors are warning that laptop computers may inflict a burn
even through clothed skin after the bizarre case of a Swedish scientist who
scorched his penis and testicles while writing a report in his arm chair".
It would appear that the moral of this story is beware
when using a laptop' too literally'.
Private Information On You!
Following along behind the NZ experience, other nations of
the world are waking up to the dangerous implications of embracing a big brother
type I.D and information system. The Japanese have been protesting their
Governments plans according to a Waikato Times article, 6 August
2002, "...The new database stores personal data -– names, addresses, dates of
birth, gender and the new ID numbers -– for each of Japan's 126 million
citizens, making it easier for them to obtain documents for a variety of public
services and benefits...
Opponents fear that something sinister is at work and that
the new system gives authorities a tool to harass and silence critics.
'This system treats individuals as things, not people,'
Hirohisa Kitano, a legal expert and professor emeritus of Nihon University,
said. 'The Nazis assigned numbers to Jewish people in exactly the same way. It
is extremely dangerous,' he added...
Critics say the ID number could act as a key to an array of
personal data stored at different locations, making it easier for hackers to
The most critical concerns in this technological age revolve
around privacy and the security of individual information. Oh -– a little
warning for email users: The Herald, 12 June 2002, "Private words for
global audience ...The paradox is that although email seems as intimate and
ephemeral as a phone call, it carries the same legal liability as any published
It is hard to contain and very difficult to erase.
All of which should cause people to think twice before
hitting the send button, says Graeme Sinclair, partner in charge of information
risk management at KPMG...
'If anyone sends out a defamatory email, then the usual
laws of defamation apply,' says [Solicitor Lisa] Shadgett."
For a bit of interesting reading covering the current NZ laws
surrounding the privacy issues, have a look at
"...The Law Commission's discussion paper Protecting
Personal Information From Disclosure takes up the issue of better defining what
we might reasonable expect to be kept private.
Information about health, sexual behaviour and financial
position are rightly mentioned but, sadly, photographic information is not..."
New Zealand Herald, 2 July 2002.
I echo the words of my father Barry "If the problem is
spiritual, we need a spiritual solution". Protesting and petitions will not
slow down the predetermined objectives of World Government advocates. If
security is an issue of concern for you as an individual -– you must find the
ultimate sense of security in knowing you are safe "In Christ". I am not an
advocate of fatalism. I am a realist who believes that we should do all we can
in the natural to protect our private property and security: beyond that, we
mustn't lose our peace "because we belong to a better country...
whose builder and maker is God" Hebrews 11 where the context of the chapter is
'Faith in God'.
In Japan -– Toys R Us
...Japanese consumers are renowned for being gizmo-crazy, and
line up for the latest in everything from mobile phones to digital cameras.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., maker of the Panasonic
brand, rolled out its latest gizmos Friday in two model "houses of
Among the offerings: A toilet that analyzes your urine and
automatically sends suspicious results to the doctor via the Internet, and a
closet that picks out clothes according to weather forecasts _ and whether you
need to impress the boss...
Toilets flush by remote control and have motorized seats that
adjust to your height. Lights are primed to switch on when someone walks in a
room, and an increasing number of homes log on with high-speed Internet access
to the rest of the world.
Sanyo Electric Co. has developed a bed sheet that monitors a
sleeper's breathing, heart rates, and body movements to adjust the room's heat
and lighting accordingly...
...an electromagnetic stovetop that warms pans without heat...
...bathroom sink ensemble. Its mirror takes infrared pictures
of your hair and skin, keeps records in its data banks, and recommends the
treatment to bring out that shine...
Microsoft mogul Bill Gates' multimillion Seattle mansion
features a computer system that changes music, temperature, lighting, and even
digital artwork to match visitor preferences as people move from room to room."
Waikato Times, 7 September 2002