Just A Note To You


Just A Note To You

What keeps you awake at night? Is it what’s happening to the money you’ve put in the bank?

If so, you are not as close to the Adenta/Kasoa parallel universe as you might think.

For the other day, I received what I thought was a communication from my bank, stating that they had subscribed me to a service for which I was to be “debited 24,400 NN” (which I took to mean Nigerian Naira!) Fortunately, my email client intercepted the message and put it in my Spam box.

But I immediately tried to send it to my bank for investigation. However, the reply address was rejected by “the postmaster”! Which means a forged address had been used! But how did it get to me? Possibly, the Internet email providers have made it possible to send email which do not carry a valid reply address! Is that fair?

Part of what I was sent by the “postmaster ” read:

Sat, 8 Dec, 11:21
Diagnostic information for administrators:

Generating server: GONDOR….
Remote Server returned ‘550 5.1.1 RESOLVER.ADR.RecipNotFound; not found’
Original message headers:Received: from MORDOR…. (10.0.20.54) by GONDOR…..

with Microsoft SMTP Server (TLS) Received: from FRA01-PR2-obe.outbound.protection.outlook.com etc. etc.” The rest was even greater gibberish.

So what’s been happening? There are so many stories about big internet companies selling their customers’ private information to commercial companies that we shouldn’t be surprised if some of the employees of these companies decide to make “personal use” of the information that has arrived in their offices. A company called Cambridge Analytica has already shown us that such information can be sold for political purposes The Mueller investigation into how Russia influenced the 2016 US elections will no doubt tell us more.

Credit cards; direct debit mandates – these can be filched from the private information that the big Internet companies whose services (whether as Search Engines or Messaging Services we cannot do without) have apparently been collecting through “cookies” and then selling them to companies that have something to sell to people of a particular demographic type.

For instance, if you’re above a certain age, you may have been receiving advertisements asking you to buy funeral insurance services (“who will pay for your funeral”;… “would you like to leave your survivors with debt after you’re gone”?…. “can you enjoy the life you’re used to, when you retire?”

Can you imagine anything more obnoxious or depressing than that, targeted at people who are already low in spirits because of their age? Yet there it is – at the top of the mails in your Inbox. And all because some company whose services you use in good faith has sold the private information it has surreptitiously collected about you to other companies.

The Internet regulatory authorities in Europe and America have begun to take such threats to our privacy seriously. Executives of both Google and Facebook – the real giants in the industry who have money pouring out of their ears – have been questioned in the legislatures of some of the advanced countries. Their performance has been generally dismal. The lies they tell make them look like naughty boys caught stealing something from their fathers’ bedroom. Despite the huge amounts of money they have made, or because of it, they cannot refrain from being sneaky.

It isn’t only Internet companies – and banks – that are letting the public down in a big way. Look at what happened to Great Britain in the days just before Christmas 2018. A hundred thousand or more passengers who had booked flights from the second biggest airport in the UK, Gatwick, were unable to fly because “drones” were threatening to down any aircraft that took off or tried to land at Gatwick. For an embarrassing number of days, the threat posed by the drones led every news bulletin in Britain and elsewhere.

And one had to ask, “So if Britain is not safe from drones, then what’s its defence budget used for? Is its Army and Air Force not supposed to protect the country from enemy aircraft and missiles? If unarmed drones cannot be shot down safely or somehow intercepted, then how safe is Britain?

As I write, the real culprits have in fact not yet been caught. A man and his wife were detained for some hours on suspicion of having flown the drones, but it turned out the man had a cast-iron alibi, in that he was busy installing windows for his company at the time the drones were “spotted” near Gatwick!

The whole episode (when added to the issue of our private information reaching unauthorised and maybe fraudulent quarters) raises this question: if the technologically-advanced countries can fall victim to such schemes; if such things can happen to them with all their know-how and legislation supposedly enacted to protect the privacy of their citizens, then what chance in hell have we got, who cannot even undertake the simplest engineering tasks without bungling them?

We cannot supply our people with power on a constant basis; we run short of water in our biggest cities; our roads are “paved”, only to be riddled with potholes a few months later; our hospitals cannot be supplied with blood and drugs in the ordinary way and so – we are told – have to be supplied from the air – with drones! (Are any of our hospitals sited near airports, one wonders? Hahaha!)

It is sad that “modern” humankind has been enslaved to technology, due mainly to his inability to be honest with his fellow citizen. Some people have begun to wonder whether, what with their many foibles, humans will not soon write themselves out of existence by developing artificial intelligence [AI] to such a degree that the computers that use AI will declare man inefficient and thereby redundant!

This is just a note to you to warn you of the future that faces dishonest humankind. If it continues its errant ways, that is!

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

Reproduction is authorised provided the author’s permission is granted.

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