Digital perdition

You do have your password ready, don’t you?

Do you have more than one email account? Each requires a password, of course. So do your websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts… And your bank account – that goes without saying – each of your bank accounts.

Take comfort, it’s just a matter of time before banks will give up providing online services: too risky. Too many accounts are being hacked, and banks can’t endlessly afford to cover their clients’ losses.

And where is your internet service provider? At a café? You’re in luck then, because you won’t have to remember the very intricate password of a private router. Only, you may be out of luck, because there are a lot of accomplished hackers waiting and watching over open networks, ready to send you a key logger with which to capture the password to your bank accounts. You won’t even notice, most probably, but from then on, your PC will be remote controlled.

True, your cloud service looks after you and sends you reassuring messages: Not to worry, everything you write on your screen will be carefully stored. If you throw a temper tantrum and hurl your device at someone, or if a hacker ruins it, don’t worry, be happy, nothing is lost.

You log in with a password at work, I suppose, and if you make purchases on the Internet, each of them has to be confirmed with a password, two in fact – one to the company from which you are making the purchase, and one for your bank. They’d better not be identical, you know, and they’d better be “strong”. Strong passwords are per definition impossible to remember, non-pronounceable, non-readable and defying all mnemonic tricks, the sort of thing only a sadistic teacher would ask a pupil to memorise.

You probably purchase all your airline and train tickets online. Guess what: You will need passwords each time. And you’d better have a printer ready, because if you don’t you wont be able to access your tickets when you need them, i.e. at the airport – unless of course, you remember the password.

I have to log on to my library every once in a while. It demands not only a password but a user name I never remember. Speaking of user names, one of my electricity suppliers insists on using my long- deleted passport number as my user name and will not allow me to change it. Needless to say, it requires a password too. In fact all my electricity accounts do – I have three of them.

I also have Kindle and iTunes accounts, each requiring passwords, and Goodness knows how many tablets and computers on which to read my Kindle books, all password protected, as is my mobile phone. Mind you I have four phone service accounts – depending on where I am in the world. And I look up words in various dictionaries that require passwords. Many people use Spotify, Netlix and or other streaming services. Guess what they demand: PASSWORDS.

My bicycles are locked with passwords – keys get lost. Believe it or not, I can still get into my car with a key, though.

I haven’t tried dying yet, but I am sure I will need a password to do so. What really worries me, though, is that my poor children will need a password to get rid of my earthly remains.

But hope on the way. On Wednesday, the US will have a new president. Regardless of who that president will be, he or she will probably inaugurate a near password-free era. Unless you are terminally ill or get run over by a reckless driver – you are likely to live to see the lifting of the password tyranny that haunts us all.

Fingerprints on touchscreens will replace passwords, and people will be glad – nay, relieved – to submit their fingerprints and be free of the password tyranny.

If your next president has a pronounced dislike of Russians, Mexicans, homosexuals, leftists, Wikikileakists, rightists, Kurds, Iranians, Moslems or Jews, not to mention critics, universal fingerprinting will be very useful, won’t it.

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