Friday, 15 February 2013

Ghosts in the system

It seems you can't do anything on the internet these days without first registering for an account which means creating a new profile, a new username, and a new password.

Today, for example, I needed to contact an online book seller to notify them that while they have listed The Bird With The Broken Wing for sale, the cover art is missing. In order to contact the book seller I had to set up a new account. Setting up another account means another username and password that's entered into my little code book. I open my book only to discover that, yikes, I'm up to my 88th password.

There's no way the brain can store the varying usernames and passwords, and every site owner knows this. Yet it's not like every site owner uses the same matrix for passwords - some must be minimum 6 characters, others minimum 8 characters, some must contain a number or a symbol or both. So every registration is unique. It's like that damned stapler conspiracy - you know the one. Manufacturers make every row of staples half an inch longer than every stapler so you always get these little bits left over. I mean, why can't they make staplers and staples the same size??

Anyway, because I can't remember 88 different passcode combinations, I do what everyone else does. I write them down. But wait a minute, I'm not supposed to write them down. What if my little code book gets stolen. Stop! Identity thief! Identity thief! Here, take my handbag; it only contains hair clips, my phone, and tissues. I can afford to lose them, but not my little code book. Thankfully, I'm not stupid enough to store the really good passcodes in this book - like bank details - just the million internet accounts I might go to once or twice.

Now I know how a spy feels when he must protect his secret code book at all costs. Otherwise who knows what sort of damage a thief might do if they stole my book.

I guess I must next do what all good spies do and convert all the text in my little book into code so that if anyone finds it, they can't decipher it without the code breaker.

I wonder if they do this just so we become ghosts in the system.

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