By Seth Richardson
The great American showman P.T. Barnum said “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Nowhere is this more evident than the 13,000 suckers who have subscribed to Blippy.com, a website that tracks every purchase made on a credit card and publishes it to a list of friends.
With identity theft becoming a growth industry, people with even a smidgen of intelligence are trying to find ways to protect their personal privacy and financial information, not broadcast it on the Internet. But Blippidiots seem anxious to expose themselves online in the cyber equivalent of dancing naked in a department store window waving a sign with their bank account number and passwords on it.
Created by three cyber-nitwits, one of whom co-founded Twitter, Blippy allows the weak-minded and weak-willed to register a credit card on the site. Then, every time the card is used, the purchase is posted for your friends to see. The Associated Press article in the business section of the Gazette’s print edition by Rachel Metz claims that “Blippy doesn’t store it’s users’ credit card numbers. Instead you give the site the user name and password you use to access your credit card account online.” And that’s safer than the card number how, exactly? Metz goes on to try to justify this stupidity by saying that your spending habits might be changed if you know your friends will be monitoring your purchases.
As Glenn Beck says, this idiocy makes blood shoot out of my eyes.
First of all, if you’re so weak-willed that you need a bunch of friends watching over you to keep you from overspending, you’d profit much more by simply canceling your credit cards and going on the cash-only program. If you don’t have cash in your pocket, you can’t buy something.
Worse by far is that by telling Blippy where you bank, and what your username and password are, you give Blippy, and anyone who hacks into Blippy, full access to your bank account. And you can bet your bottom dollar that there are talented cyber-thieves out there right now working feverishly to figure out how to hack Blippy.
The ninnies who created this website have access to 13,000 bank accounts now, and if millions of people sign up, anybody who hacks the site could go in one day, strip all of these accounts of every dime and disappear with hundreds of millions of dollars. Now, maybe the founders don’t think there’s any such danger, but then again, people didn’t think that Bernie Madoff was going to steal 50 billion dollars either. Just saying…
After all, the federal government, with the most sophisticated anti-hacking technology on the planet, cannot keep Chinese hackers out of classified government computers, so why would anyone think that three nitwits from San Francisco are going to be able to stop someone from getting the banking information of the bigger idiots who subscribe to Blippy?
And then there’s the other privacy concerns. Data mining and aggregation is one of the biggest threats to personal privacy we face in this brave new cyber-world. People who value their privacy have to go to extraordinary lengths to try to get off of spam and junk mail lists, and it requires a lot of work to keep your financial transactions private even when you try to do so.
Most people may think that they have nothing to hide, but there are many situations short of criminal activity that mandate a high degree of personal privacy, stalking being the primary concern. When such data exists, it is usually not hard for a determined person to gain access to information that can reveal patterns of travel and behavior, as well as one’s physical location in near real-time.
Cheating on your wife? Use Blippy? With a little social engineering, your wife’s private investigator will be able to document every bunch of roses you buy for your girlfriend. Divorced your cheating husband? Use Blippy? Your violent ex-husband will be able to track you down using information from Blippy. The scenarios for the misuse of Blippy information that can cause real harm are too numerous to describe.
So far there are only 13,000 morons out there. Someone should put a stop to this insanity before more people succumb to the ridiculous idea that giving out your banking passwords to some company you know nothing about is a sane idea.
Banks should begin by banning Blippy-initiated queries and should close the accounts of people who use Blippy for violating the security of the bank. Why? Because you can be sure that the first time someone’s bank account is used illegally as a result of Blippy hacking, the customer will be whining to the bank to cover the theft. But credit card protection programs cover such losses by imposing additional costs on other consumers. The government should also make a law that absolves financial institutions from Blippy-related losses. If you give away your username and password to some Internet nitwit, you should pay the costs of being stupid.
Let’s put a stop to this insanity before it gets any worse.
Using Blippy is the height of idiocy. Don’t be a sucker.