Most of us know of the existence of George Orwell’s book, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, often just written as “1984”. If you haven’t read this novel or seen the movie, it might be worthwhile reading/viewing it and comparing the story with life in 2017. George Orwell wrote the novel in 1949.

An example of what we should be wary of has just arisen in that Sydney buses are to trial sponsored Wi-Fi. In itself, that sounds like a good thing, BUT…. any public Wi-Fi system is fraught with dangers of hackers attempting to connect and connecting to unsuspecting users’ devices.

The danger here is much worse than that. The company ‘sponsoring’ the free Wi-Fi has “Terms and Conditions” which could have been taken straight from the pages of “Nineteen Eighty-Four”:

Generally we collect the following personal information about you:

  • your name

  • your contact details including residential or business address, telephone number and email address

  • company details (if applicable)

  • drivers licence number

  • date of birth

Depending on the circumstances, we may disclose your personal information to other people including one or more of the following:

  • service providers including agents, contractors, IT, security, legal, accounting, research, credit, credit reporting bodies, marketing, insurers, financial institutions, debt collection agencies and others

We may disclose your personal information to an overseas service provider, for example a freight provider, a cloud data centre or a customer information call centre. Our overseas service providers may be located Europe, the United States, Asia or South America.

If you are OK with giving your identity away to access free Wi-Fi, go ahead, but you have been warned!

Stay safe, Terry Griffin

References: The privacy policy (catchoz) ITNews story ABC News story Sydney Morning Herald story

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