I was traveling last week and spent two nights in New York city and then two nights in Manchester, Vermont. In the past, I used the hotel’s clock radio as an alarm. This requires that I find a radio station that has decent reception and I can stand to listen to early in the morning, which is not my favorite time of day. I also need to figure out how to set the alarm and ensure the time is set correctly. On a trip to San Francisco years ago, I forgot to check the time and was up, packed and ready to go the airport four hours before my flight. Of course, in our post-9/11 world, that is about when you should be leaving for the airport.
These days, I just use the alarm function on my cell phone. It got me thinking about the many ways that we are using cell phones these days. We use them to wake us up, talk and text to friends and family and check emails. We also use it to surf the internet, take pictures, record video, calculate sums, update our contacts, play games, keep our passwords, and navigate.
Cell phones can also be used as credit cards in Japan. In some countries where it is not common to have a bank account, cell phones are being used to transfer cash and obtain funds. Money is transferred from one person’s account to another person’s account by text message.
Our cell phones have more computing capability then the astronauts had when they flew to the moon. The majority of us have no idea how to access even one-tenth of this capability.
That is okay, as long as we know how to protect our information. The more data we store on cell phones, the greater the risk to our privacy and security if we lose our phones or strangers are able to access the data without our knowledge and consent. I am concerned that the engineers working on new ways to use our cell phones have gotten ahead of the technology to protect the data. Yes, Big Brother is out there, but I am more concerned about his Crazy Cousin.