I have been dealing with technical difficulties ever since I moved to New York in August 2018. Spying and hacking have especially impacted my online platforms, and I've had to delete my Facebook and Instagram accounts, losing content that goes back more than a decade. I have also rebuilt--and continue to rebuild--my website on different platforms. Among other disappointments resulting from this continual cyber assault, I gave up an email account I owned since Google's inception, a credit card, and a variety of apps. One cannot, it seems, be protected in this day and age, but there are levels and gradations to one's exposure, and what I keep hearing from technical experts is that the effort to protect our online assets is worthwhile even when futile.
This statement was a paradox that I refused to engage with, at first. I couldn't engage with it for I was angry. Afraid. Annoyed. Confused. Etc. Then I thought about Wilfred Owen's war poem, "Futility." Is it hopeful optimism or naivety that leads the speaker to ask the "kind old sun" to revive the dead soldier? And I couldn't help but recall "Was it for this the clay grew tall?" whenever I deleted chunks of my virtual history.
From war, I moved on to a mystical view that decentered my experiences. The continual attempt to protect my online presence even when these attempts seemed laughable in comparison to the frequency and extent of the unrelenting breaches, is beneficial, not for myself, and not for now, but for the security industry itself, and only in the long term. It reminded me of an eye-opening TEDx talk by Tom Chi, "Everything is Connected -- Here's How," at #TEDxTaipei.
Is cyber hacking a crime? Has it exacerbated my mental disorder? Has it cost me years of work and contacts? Yes. Not maybe. Yes. But, "Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides / Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?" Perhaps not. Not yet, at least.
We'll see what tomorrow brings.