Trojan ponies, tech thugs, and cyber-barons
Maybe it is just me, but I get annoyed when I hear ads on TV or the radio offering us protection from hackers and other cyber-minions. These ads urge us to buy monthly policies that protect our computers from malware, eavesdropping, and home title protection. As I listen to these oh, so sincere ads, I can visualize local thugs visiting small stores and "offering them assistance." In the real world, this feels like a protection racket, and it is criminal behavior.
Why do well known companies get away with selling us cyber-protection for their own products? Protection on computers should be standard, just as car seatbelts are standard. Call me naïve, but if I ask a local contractor to add a door to my house, he will need to include locks on that door to protect my family from unwanted intrusion.
As a conservative, I do not trust our cyber-barons any farther than I throw them. Over the last thirty years, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook have become more prominent parts of our culture. Mostly, these entities have leaned heavily to the political left. Google was earning frequent flyer miles in Obama’s White House, outpacing all other visitors. Many accuse Mark "Hand on the Scale" Zuckerberg of significant interference in the infamous 2020 election. Does anyone recall how the cyber-barons snuffed out the story about Hunter's laptop just before the 2020 election?
I have been using computers for my work since 1984. These tools have helped me with my endeavors, and I am warily grateful for their assistance. I admit I am using an iMac to write this blog. While I am thankful for the service I get from computer technology, a nagging suspicion stalks me.
I had a portent about the cyber-barons as Christmas 2012 approached. My wife and I agreed that a Wii console would make an excellent Christmas gift for our young sons, who were 11 and 9 then. I volunteered to do some online hunting for the "best deal." I spent some time on a Saturday evening skipping from one online retailer to another looking for a Wii, which would be a good deal and here by Christmas morning. I retired that Saturday evening without the Wii in my grasp.
I sat down at my computer on Sunday morning to check my email. And what to my wandering eyes should appear but an email from Amazon noting my interest in a Wii and offering me a deal I couldn't refuse. I bought the product. However, as I was celebrating my good fortune, a troubling question arose: How did Amazon know I was looking for a Wii?
I fear that our government and the cyber-barons want to increase their control over us until we live in a society much like the society described in Orwell's 1984. I suspect they have released Trojan Ponies (aka cookies) over the web to monitor us.
Unlike the Trojan Horse, Trojan Ponies are not meant to destroy us. Trojan Ponies, like the Trojan Horse, are meant to strip us of our freedom and self-determination.
I do not trust the cyber-barons and their politics. I am reminded of them almost every time I use my iMac or iPhone, made in a slave plantation called China. This awareness doesn't keep me from sleeping at night but it does make me wary.
Ned Cosby's new novel is OUTCRY, exposing the refusal of Christian leaders to discipline clergy who sexually abuse our young people. This work of fiction addresses crimes that are all too real. For more info, visit www.nedcosby.com.