Are you afraid of cyber crime? One
hears stories of stolen identities and
wonders if it could happen to you.
Yet we live in a digital world where
the first question we're asked is for
our password. I don't know about
you but I find the idea of logging on
rather irritating. If I'm your customer
and I've bought before, why is it my
job to help you recognize me? Why
am I put on the spot to provide info
simply to buy some soap? Finally,
what happens if I can't remember?
Closed for business
In theory this is for my "security" -
yet why do I immediately feel like
a criminal when I can't recall my
password? After being interrogated
I usually have to reset my password.
This only adds to my endless cycle
of confusion. Did they require one
capitalized letter? What symbol did
I use? How many times have I reset
it? Is this my third or fourth favorite
password? The mania goes on and
on and on. Finally after too many
failed attempts... I'm "locked out."
Little is more terrifying than when they
ask you for answers. Did I capitalize
my childhood pet's moniker? Did I list
my elementary school's name or did
I add the word "school?" When asked
for a relative's phone number - who's
did I provide given there's more than
one option? So I try to no avail. Using
every combination of capitalization,
digits, symbols, and phrases with or
without additional wording. After I've
exhausted every possibility I'm back
in cyber purgatory. "Account Locked."
Written on the wind
At first I kept a log of passwords and
related data. Far in the back of my
embossed leather kid address book
(how archaic is that?) are pages upon
pages of password notations. Sadly,
most are no longer relevant as I can't
seem to keep up with the changes.
So I gave up. Fortunately my MAC
enters my information instantly on
most websites. It's ability to quickly
remember all that I can't remember
is invaluable. But what happens if
the damn contraption ever crashes?!
When one finally hits that stone wall of
no return, your only option is to pick up
the phone and dial the bastards. And we
all know what that means. Using up all
of my minutes on hold is not necessarily
my favorite way to spend money. Thus
I usually call via our land line. I can't
tell you how often my cordless phone
runs out of juice BEFORE I finally talk
to a live person. Sadly whether the idiot
on the other end actually deserves to live
is questionable at best. All of this proves
that forgetting is a punishable offense.
Let's make this clear. I 'm not a crook.
Actually all I'm trying to do is give you
my money. If I could access all of my
shipping addresses on Barneys.com it
would be so easy. Instead I'm required
to devote precious time translating my
Rosetta stone before I can shop. This
isn't rocket science yet it may be easier
to land on the moon than access your
Barneys account. There must be a better
way. Given they know everything about
me - why can't they use that data to make
my life a little easier? Crack that code!
The problem is it's everywhere. The
other day I went to the bank to take
care of some business. After a warm
hello and handshake, I sat down in my
bankers office. Before any transaction
could occur, I had to swipe my ATM
card and enter my PIN. Let me recap.
They know my name. We discussed
my transaction in detail. I presented
my drivers license at their request.
Yet before I could do anything with
MY money - I had to give them MY
password. What if I'd forgotten it?
Sadly... what can one do but comply?
Much like the process of standing in
the airport security line, it's not smart
to make a fuss. Being subjected to a
digital strip search is inevitable given
I will continue to forget my password.
Today I logged onto a big government
agency. Soon my password had to reset.
After multiple wrong responses I was
shut out. Not only did I feel guilty for
my ignorance, I'm worried that now
I'm in big trouble with big brother.
Is there a law against forgetfulness?