Friday, July 11, 2014

Saving Us From Ourselves

Sheesh!  I have a SmartPhone and it's loaded with apps.  One of them is a shopping-list app provided by Publix, the grocery concern that effectively owns Florida.  I tried to get on that app a day or so ago and it demanded my password — which I, of course, could not remember.  Naturally, I poked the "forgot my password" button and got a quick email response from Publix.

The email directed me (via a hyperlink, thank heaven) to a website where I could reset my password, and that's when I noticed it.

My new password must be, according to the instructions there, between 8 and 28 characters long, composed of lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers, and a collection of special symbols (pick two or more).

Really?  I need a complex, hard-to-remember password for my shopping list?  Why?  Is Publix afraid someone is going to steal it?  Perhaps there is some danger that an unauthorized person will go on a shopping spree with my list.  Hell, they might even reset my "favorite Publix" to one that I wouldn't ordinarily have chosen.  Horrors!  Alert the NSA.

In truth, Publix should welcome anyone spending money at any of their locations.  That's why that app is FREE to download and use.  It's the same reason Publix publishes coupons in the newspaper and welcomes their use — by anybody.  So why is my shopping list so secure?

Trying my best to be fair, I called Publix' Customer Relations office and posed the question to them.  Their answer was that, as unimportant as my shopping list might be, there are other datapoints that are associated with the account — my email address, family names, etc. — that I probably wouldn't want compromised.  Fair enough...

But whose decision is that?  Is it Publix' job to see to it that my data is safe — or is it my job?

"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools." --- Herbert Spencer

No comments:

Post a Comment