In the hours following a massive data leak where data from almost all Brazilians was exposed, users of the only industry where kind of mass security failure routinely happens concluded there was no way to prevent such breaches from taking place. “This is literally hundreds of millions of people, but sometimes these things happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them”, said Bark Megor, echoing sentiments expressed by millions of individuals who post their names, religion, sexuality and personal information into centralized computer networks in order to send cat memes to one another. “And besides,” he continued, “this only happened because some employee uploaded a spreadsheet with usernames, passwords and access keys into a GitHub repository. Mistakes do happen, after all.”
The incident follows a long string of similar incidents. Some are due to sophisticated hacking, such as the Yahoo breaches in 2013 and 2014 of all 3 billion accounts on the site, including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords, and in some cases, personal security questions and answers. Others are due to mere incompetence of a subcontractor, as the 2017 Equifax leak of nearly all US households or in the 2020 leak in the Likud Party of names, ID, phones, addresses of all Israeli adults. “You’d think every person in the world would have their name, address and personal information out there by now,” said Larissa Layer, “pretty soon we will reach herd immunity to doxxing so maybe it doesn’t matter so much?”
“It’s a shame, but what can we do?” asks Wenin Denig, quizically raising his eyebrow. “It’s not like we have some kind of alternative open source platform that lets each person and organization control their own data. ” When asked about WordPress, which powers 4 in 10 websites in the world, he exclaimed, “Are you kidding? I want videoconferencing, chats, events, payments, profiles, and I want it all in real time with slick notifications. If I am going to check my phone 10 times a day, and share the latest controversy with my friends it’s definitely not going to be on that old software. That’s the modern internet industry. But they better beware, if WhatsApp wants to sell my data, I’ll show them!” At press time, millions of people around the world were seen switching from WhatsApp to Telegram and Signal, in an effort to escape putting all their data, conversations, money and votes in one place.
This article is an homage to The Onion’s article about mass shootings that happen with some regularity in the USA, which is reposted every so often with only the dates and names changed.