IT’S CON­VE­NIENT, BUT BE CARE­FUL

The Gulf Today - - OPINION - THE AU­THOR SPE­CIALISES IN SUB­JECTS FROM HEALTH TO SO­CIAL IS­SUES

Some­one sent me a re­ally amus­ing pic­ture the other day. It was ac­tu­ally two pho­tos side by side. One was taken in 1918 and the other in 2018. The 1918 pic­ture was of a street scene with peo­ple dot­ted around with their heads down read­ing news­pa­pers. The present day pic­ture was the same street taken a hun­dred years later, again with loads of peo­ple with their heads down also read­ing. But the dif­fer­ence be­tween the 1918 pic­ture and the 2018 one is that whereas in the for­mer peo­ple were read­ing news­pa­pers in the lat­ter they were all read­ing some­thing on their elec­tronic de­vices.

So things have changed a lit­tle bit since then. In the old days and by that I mean even as late as in the early 90s, we had only three real forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. A let­ter which was posted, pick­ing up the phone or leav­ing a mes­sage on an an­swer­ing ma­chine, sim­i­lar to to­day’s voice mail, if they had one.

But the voice mail is slightly dif­fer­ent from the an­swer­ing ma­chine in that, in or­der to be able to re­ceive it, you don’t need a phys­i­cal an­swer­ing ma­chine. Un­like hav­ing to pur­chase one you just need to sub­scribe to a third party ser­vice. In the old days, if some­one didn’t have a ma­chine, you’d just have to keep try­ing them again and again. It was ac­tu­ally made more Di­fi­cult AND A lit­tle EAS­IER At THE same time back then, de­pend­ing upon if you were the caller or the re­cip­i­ent of the call. Be­cause there was no caller ID or noti­ica­tion that some­one HAD TRIED to call them they couldn’t call back even if they might have wanted to. More­over, as a con­stant caller, no one would have known you had tried them 20 times so you didn’t look like a stalker.

Now of course you have mul­ti­ple ways to get in touch with peo­ple and a mul­ti­tude of ways in which to be snubbed.

You could email, ring, leave a voice mail, send a text mes­sage, What­sapp them, send a mes­sage on Face­book, on Linkedin, on In­sta­gram and Tweet them. If all of these fail you could try call­ing their mo­bile again and again and again in which case you run the risk of be­ing la­belled a stalker and be­ing blocked, not just once but in as many ways as there are modes of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Be­ing la­belled a stalker, though, is the min­i­mum risk you run from care­less use of tech­nol­ogy. In other words, there are some se­ri­ously huge ones that can ruin your per­sonal AND inan­cial LIFE, IF you are not care­ful with how you use tech­nol­ogy or so­cial me­dia.

Last week, we heard about how a lead­ing multi­na­tional ho­tel chain was hacked and in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to 500 mil­lion guests world­wide was stolen. Can you imag­ine all those emails, mo­bile num­bers and credit card de­tails be­ing out there? The lat­ter is the worst loss.

I guess the risk of be­ing hacked are pretty high un­less you are us­ing a se­cure net­work both on our lap­top/pc and your mo­bile de­vices. That’s why I have never had a credit card. I know too many peo­ple whose credit card in­for­ma­tion has been stolen and bills racked up. It seems some banks is­sue credit cards to cus­tomers with­out their con­sent. If the cus­tomer doesn’t want it he or she has to go to the trou­ble of hav­ing to can­cel it which I think is out­ra­geous. It’s seems far eas­ier for banks to is­sue un­wel­come credit cards than to can­cel them.

I am also su­per care­ful when with­draw­ing cash from a cash ma­chine. If I see or sense any­thing out of the or­di­nary in or around a ma­chine I do not use it and look for an­other.

Now the other day I ac­ci­den­tally deleted a video from a mo­bile de­vice. I needed the video and searched the DE­VICE ile MAN­AGER But Couldn’t ind it. I Googled the prob­lem and found a thread in which some­one had ex­actly the same prob­lem. They sug­gested Down­load­ing A SPECIIC App From THE de­vice app store and swore that it re­cov­ered their videos. In fact, it did ind THE DELETED VIDEO on my DE­VICE But there was a pro­viso which the thread did not men­tion. In or­der to have the deleted video re­stored the App needed a small pay­ment of Dh21.

I thought okay, since I ur­gently need the video, I shall have to pay so a friend kindly keyed in his credit card! But we hit a wall half way through the pay­ment process. For some ob­scure and weird rea­son, the app wanted us to key in my Gmail pass­word!

Now why on earth would they want that? No one does. So we aborted the op­er­a­tion.

I DID ind THE VIDEO on my DE­VICE. It turned out that I hadn’t deleted the video af­ter all. I had ac­ci­den­tally moved it to a hid­den folder. Just goes to show that, un­less you do a fac­tory re­set, when you delete stuff from your elec­tronic de­vices, they don’t ac­tu­ally get deleted.

Good job we didn’t pro­ceed!

BY BIRJEES HUS­SAIN

ON TECH­NOL­OGY

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