Information Sharing Paranoia
I started filling out Zecco’s Trading Account application several times now and I stop before submitting. Feels very risky, not because I think there’s anything wrong with the company – I think they’re ok! – but as a Canadian it’s just too weird giving so much info to a U.S. company.
I’m becoming more reluctant to give out my information to any company now, especially to 1) foreign companies 2) on the web. Plus there seems to be a lot of identity theft in the U.S. (more than in Canada) and very frequent “big batch” information losses.
Here’s an interesting historical bit from The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio (yes, though I chase after the quick buck, I still read books about the slow buck 🙂 ):
In the early part of this century (20th), the international capital markets were a good deal more integrated than they are now. It was commonplace for an Englishman to buy American bonds or French stocks, and there were few barriers to cross-border capital flow. The two World Wars changed that; the international flow of capital recovered only slowly afterwards. The modern history of international diversification properly begins in 1969, with the inception of Morgan Stanleyâ€™s EAFE (Europe, Australasia, and Far East) index. As of year 2000, there is a 32-year track record of accurate foreign returns. For the period, this index shows an 11.89% annualized return for foreign investing, versus 12.17% for the S&P 500.
Ah, simpler times… No need to provide your SIN/SSN and driver’s license number, just fork over the dough. But how did they identify themselves then? “Mr. X, residing on Elm Street #8, **Shire, England”? In a way the fact that we’ve been reduced to a set of numbers protects us, but also makes us very vulnerable (duh, obvious).
With each article I read about how search engines keep tabs on people and browsing habits, my paranoia keeps growing. I’ve even had a nightmare or two about it. It’s not that I have anything to hide really, but I’ve come across a lot of disturbing people; and it’s made me overly cautious ( Cyber-terrorism anyone? ). Having been stalked twice in the past 9 years doesn’t help either. It’s not so much about actual facts being revealed, but about having control and privacy which I think is essential for our mental well being.
So let me count the ways in which exposing too much information to too many sources is Bad:
– Identity theft more likely
– Sense of privacy stripped
– Added anxiety due to all of the above
I’m stuck, can’t think of anything else.