But there’s another quiet, unknown competitor that waits in the shadows, waiting for the right time to come out and bask in the limelight. It’s one that very few people speak of; it’s one that doesn’t speak a word, doesn’t cross a finish line, and doesn’t do an interview or win a medal; it’s a competitor that causes a huge controversy without qualifying for an event.
Who’s the unknown competitor?
As the Rio 2016 Olympic Games go on for the next 16 days, we’ll read about great finishes, new world records, spectacular displays of human grace and perfection, and storylines about sacrifice and dedication by athletes to earn the grand prize of a gold medal for their respected homelands. These games will bring news media attention to an all-time high, with Internet websites and news channels broadcasting live feeds of major events in Rio. Social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram will be teaming with insider information about the athlete’s conditions, welfare, mentality, and their overall opinion about being in Rio.
That’s where the unknown competitor steps in. With scammers and hackers working hard behind the scenes, new kinds of solicitations, malware, and tricky scams will move into high gear during these next few weeks, sailing around the world in the form of fake emails, bad hyperlinks, and false websites. Every time there is a major news event, the unknown competitor plays into the storyline, causing grief, financial loss and unexpected pain for anyone (even for the athlete) who decides to look up information online about the event.
Technology is at the heart of all communications in 2016. It’s all too evident. If you observe technology with a keen eye, you can’t miss people in stadiums using smartphones, wireless tablets, cameras, and recording devices to capture the intimate moments of the Olympic Games. This information is eventually posted to the Internet. Some of this “raw data” is what journalists and sportswriters want to see—all the “behind-the-scenes action” that doesn’t appear in print. This makes for a richer, more personal take on a future headline story that is filled with moments of frustration, reward, success and hardship. The main event to capture is the failure of an athlete in the midst of a competition—but even better than that—capturing the emotions of that athlete hours later after the event finishes. That’s what gets hits on websites; that’s what boasts malware on the Internet.
We are a society hungry and desperate for digital information—any kind of information will do: video blogs, emails, snapchats, electronic postings, video highlights, digital photos, personal blogs, and, one of our favorites, digital articles. With the digital era spinning into high gear during these Olympic Games, one personal statement by an athlete can reach billions of followers in a matter of seconds. That’s power; that’s control; that’s the satisfaction of a “billion digital addicts” getting what they want: digital information.
With so much focus and hype from around the world about these Olympic Games, it comes as no surprise that technology works its magic and offers another layer of sophistication and an honest security matter for everyone involved. You’ll find few private moments with technology’s presence being on high alert; you’ll even see a sense of falseness prevail long after the games finish. Technology does all that; it garners all this attention without anyone realizing it, without anyone ever knowing. That’s what it does best.
The unknown competitor achieves an imaginary gold medal of its own, crossing the finish line in world record time, alone. Technology doesn’t have any other competition—only itself.
Review this interesting little book: Little Black Book: Protecting Your Digital Life.