Friday, March 4, 2011

And One Password for All

Wanna know what I think would be a fabulous idea? Make one password work for everything you do on the internet. Think about it: you would no longer have to remember your password for Amazon, for your bank, your credit card site, itunes, etc. Pay your car payment online? Same password as for your Papa John's account. How could this go wrong, really?
Was that a little heavy on the sarcasm? Sorry folks, I'll try to lighten it up next time.

So, yeah. There is a proposal floating about wanting to make this happen, in the name of security. "It will be a great thing for commerce" they say. "It will be more efficient" they say. Efficient, maybe. More secure? I doubt it. You see, in jobs past I have worked with people who, though they were told not to, wrote down their passwords on sticky-notes, and had them stuck to their monitor. Even if their password was "12345" they still had it written down, and stuck to the computer. Really. They weren't being asked to have complicated or elaborate passwords, no 15 character, numeric and special characters combo jobs. But, you may say, they'll take it more seriously! They'll be sure to make it a password they'll remember, be conscientious to make it secure! If you believe that, then we've not worked with the same type people in the past.

Another reason that I have big misgivings about this "one password" idea is that, if it were to be hacked, a person would be screwed. This would be password would be linked to benign things like Amazon and Papa John's (if those retailers enrolled in the program) true, but it would also be linked to things like your banking, your mortgage, and your medical records. Think that having your identity stolen now is a pain? Then think about it if they could get everything about you, down to your tonsils that you had removed when you were eight. This would way surpass what they can do with your Discover card number and your social security number. "But it would be really hard to be hacked" you may say. True. But even the Pentagon's computer system has been hacked. If our military, our national security's computer system is vulnerable to hacks, then I am skeptical that they could keep so much information out of the wrong hands.

And that is what all of this boils down to, really. It's my information. My mortgage, my Amazon account, my hospital records, my Expedia account. If i choose to be a moron and tell everyone that my password is the names of my kids all put together, then so be it. I get to reap those repercussions. But I would rather be able to make those decisions than have it made for me. Maybe I'm stubborn. I rather think it's independence.

Want to read more about it? Take a look here.

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