• April 5, 2020

MILLER: Getting a new identity sounds wonderful - Odessa American: Nathaniel Miller

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MILLER: Getting a new identity sounds wonderful

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Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2020 4:00 am

On Monday, the Justice Department announced four members of the Chinese military were charged with breaking into the computers of the Equifax credit reporter agency.

Those charged are accused of taking the personal information of about 145 million Americans, information that includes their names, addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers, and other identifying information.

None of the accused are in U.S. custody, but officials are wagging their mighty finger of justice to warn future hackers that American law enforcement has the technology to pinpoint individual culprits.

The idea that the information of Americans can be accessed so easily is terrifying. As a society, we’ve given up on privacy in the name of convenience. Why write a check or carry cash when you can easily swipe a card?

If we need to check our accounts, we’ll use the closest – unsecured – Wi-Fi connection to log in to our bank accounts; the online equivalent of opening your bank account for the whole world to see.

We all do a lot of boneheaded things when it comes to our personal information that leaves us open to hackers. But the strangest thing I am having a hard time understanding is why Chinese intelligence is interested in taking on more American debt.

According to the U.S. Treasury, China owns $1.11 trillion of our national debt as of May 2019. As individuals, Americans, on average, have about $38,000 in personal debt.

Now my degree is in English, so I am terrible at math. But if you add all the personal debt alongside the national debt, you run out of fingers and toes to count on quickly.

According to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the breach of Equifax is consistent with the Chinese government’s interest in getting as much information about Americans as possible.

If the Chinese government is so interested in our personal lives, they can personally have mine. Student loans, car payments, living paycheck to paycheck are all the things they would be inheriting from me.

If the Chinese government is so determined to take our identities, they better be prepared for the family life that comes with it as well.

I would hope they are ready to take out the trash every other night, wash my dishes, take my children to their doctor’s appointments, clear out my “honey do” list, and – most importantly – deal with my large Hispanic family.

I believe the orange-colored potato chip mascot said it best when he said “It ain’t easy being cheesy.”

If there is a bunch of people out there trying to take my information, they better be ready to deal with all the stress and anxiety that comes with the low-paying lifestyle I call existence. You don’t get to take the fun parts of my life without dealing with everything else.

Maybe then I’ll be able to flee to a tropical paradise where I can get by with a nice tan and live life off fresh seafood and tropical drinks.

That’s a dream I know won’t last long because I’m a parent, and if children are great at one thing, it’s finding you when you’re trying to hide.

Odessa, TX

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