Your Info


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28/Aug/2014

Your 'info', your information, your 'data'. It controls how you live your life. Who you are, what you can do, when you can do it. Even, who you know, or can know. Who you can 'work' with, share common interests with, who you might compete with. Getting help when you need it, helping others. In making your life work, well or badly.

You might say, "it all seems to just about work at the moment, if there's any problems, I'll sort them out when they happen, I've got more important things, like day-to-day living to get on with". That is quite understandable. Change, even considering change, takes energy, personal effort, and you've only got so much of that, even considering any 'spare' you've got for emergencies.

Change will happen. And, a moderate, manageable, amount of effort will mean that change, when it does occur, wont mean, possibly massive, loss.

Changing Information

Your information will change over time, as you and your circumstances change. Humans make mistakes, so there will be errors, either yours or other peoples. Unless you've got some control over your info, there's no way you can fix those mistakes, get others to fix theirs, without some loss you really don't want, maybe can't afford.

If you think about most animals, information is important to them. They need to know about their surroundings, which bits are safe, where there might be food and water, where to rest. How to go about finding a mate, maybe protect young. If they're part of a group, they need to know about other members of their group, how to get on with them, work together to make life safer, which to compete with, and how. All this is done without much in the way of recorded information, other than instinct and memory, and often without much that we'd call 'language'.

Humans use language for their information, and use tools to record language. The language, and these tools, have themselves changed over time. There are specialised languages used to create tools, and even 'talk' between tools. Some tools do, or help do, things like translate between more-or-less specialised languages. Once your information turns into a language you don't understand, have you lost control of it, can use or abuse of it damage your life?

Risking Your Information

Life is risk. Doing anything means taking risks. But, doing nothing means you have no life. You need to find a balance, that works for you, that you can live with. And, that balance will change over time, as your life changes. All that applies to your information, if you don't share it, take risks with it, you wont have a life. But, if you don't control your information you will lose control of your life.

You might not believe this, but your information controls how people see you, trust you, think you can be depended on. Secret passwords, numbers, information you share with others, that's how you are recognised. More open numbers or names are how you communicate. Which bits of your life should be shared with who changes over time - current or potential employers may misunderstand some of your non-work activities. Or, they may be concerned about how their customers may view these.

Controlling which bits of your information are protected from being lost, which could massively impact on your social or work life, is increasingly important. The amount of effort needed to recreate lost information, if it is possible at all, can become ridiculously big. Your information in the wrong hands, which could be those who don't care about the consequences to you, or who are actively hostile, can be disastrous. Identity theft, for example, can range from the mildly annoying to massive damage to your life, and many sorts of loss.

Controlling Your Information

How much control do you need? You don't need so much 'control' that you just don't use it, because the control itself is too much effort to manage, if it gets too much in the way of you living your life. If using it complicates your life more than you think is sensible or can tolerate.

How much does the control cost you? That depends how much effort you put in. If you want it to be 'totally simple', with minimal change to your life, then it will cost more, because someone else will be providing the resources instead of you. If you are prepared to provide some of the resources, which you may already have and not be making full use of, then the cost will be less, possibly minimal, and may open-up new possibilities for you.

There will always be costs, at least in terms of some of your time and effort. But, a little cost is better than a massive, devastating, loss.

Conclusion

Once there are tools that manage information around, that manage your information, some effort needs to be put into managing your info, as it changes over time. Or, you loose control of it, and control of your life. You need to consider how much risk you can tolerate, or survive.

You need controls over your information. Controls which are in your hands. But, controls which aren't too 'expensive' for you to use. Unless you control, manage, your information, not just the physical tools you use to store and get at it, there is an increasing risk of loss.

(c) ROMsys Ltd, August 2014, permission given to use for non-profit making purposes

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