By 2022, There'll Be a Naked Photo of Everyone on the Planet Lurking Somewhere in the Interverse What's on your handset? Intimate texts? Raunchy emails?

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Only someone
with the heart of a concrete robot could fail to feel faintly –
just faintly – sorry for the American diplomats whose cables
were leaked, what with all that private unguarded chit-chat being
made public. If the world had an annual end-of-year office party
(which, come to think of it, is a brilliant idea), 2010′s would
be an awkward affair.

Still, what’s
most surprising about the mass leak isn’t the content – it’d
have been more astonishing if they’d said Berlusconi was actually
rather charming and North Korea is great in bed – but the fact
that this kind of thing isn’t happening every day. Because in our
terrible modern hell, it’s possible for absolutely anyone to leave
a comprehensive dossier of ultra- sensitive private information
about themselves on the back seat of a bus just by misplacing their
phone.

The more these
devices are capable of, the greater potential for embarrass-ment.
What’s on your handset? Intimate texts? Embarrassing photos? Raunchy
emails? An eye-opening internet history? I just hope you trust the
staff down the Orange store next time you’re upgrading your phone.

Actually, if
you’re anything like me, you don’t have anything lurid on your handset
at all – partly out of sheer paranoia – but still can’t
help feeling anxious whenever someone asks to borrow it. It’s the
same uneasy frisson you feel when a policeman looks you in the eye
while stopped at the lights – a vague sense of guilt, like
you’re hiding something.

And phone-borrowers
don’t even have to be deliberately nosy to stumble across your personal
details. Even if they only want to make a call, simply by accessing
the dial option they’ll be treated to a list of who rang you last
and how long you spoke for. On the phone to the doctor for an hour
were you? That’s interesting. Here, have it back. Just going to
wash my hands.

Another example
of inadvertent intrusion: I once used a computer belonging to someone
I knew, and logged on to Amazon to look up the release date for
a DVD. That’s how I roll. I’m crazy. Anyway, the moment I arrived
at the home page, it assumed I was her, and presented me with a
list of suggested purchases, all of which were self-help books for
people trapped in terrible relationships, with titles such as STOP
CRYING, START LOVING and WHEN SEX IS HARROWING. It was an uncomfortable
and rather sad glimpse into someone else’s life, I thought, once
I’d stopped pointing and laughing.

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the rest of the article

December
7, 2010

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