Seven Simple Steps to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

1. Always use different elaborate passwords when signing up for online accounts.

2. Check your monthly credit-card statements for suspicious purchases.

3. Monitor your FICO score.

4. Don’t access your bank or credit card websites using public wifi.

5. Shred all financial statements.

6. File tax returns as soon as possible.

7. Fuck it, Equifax is just going to leak your name, Social Security number, birthdate, address, and driver’s license anyway, then generously offer one year of credit monitoring for something that will screw up the rest of your life.

Why the Equifax breach is very possibly the worst leak of personal info ever [Ars Technica]


And now Equifax wants me to give them my last name and the last six digits of my SSN to see if my shit was stolen.

No thanks. The Chinese have all that crap AND MY FINGER PRINTS thanks to the OPM.

nojo, what are your thoughts on digital currency?

@JNOV: Digital currency is scrip.

And, that’s pretty much it. There’s a lot of practical interest in the underlying “blackchain” technology, but Bitcoin & Brethren are nothing more than unregulated speculative markets for a fantasy commodity. The thing enthusiasts forget about Fiat Currency is the fiat part: Makes a difference when there’s a government behind it. Especially ours.


Yeah this is my take on Bitcoin: when you own Bitcoin you’re not an owner of a piece of currency. What you own, instead, is basically stock in a company whose business is facilitating untraceable financial transactions.* Libertarians love the idea because it facilitates tax avoidance. But it also facilitates a lot of other criminal activity that even Libertarians would presumably frown upon.

*They also like Bitcoin because there’s a finite supply of the stuff, but the rise of parallel digital currencies (i.e. Litecoin) makes that argument less plausible. Any time you need additional coinage you simply spin up another digital currency.

@nojo: @Serolf Divad: There’s a piece in today’s NYT about a bitcoin mining operation in China. I skimmed it. Sleepy. Write more later.

@JNOV: The deal with “mining” is that it has long since evolved from something you could do with your desktop computer, to something that required specialized hardware, to (now) a task that requires substantial processing power — and the electricity to drive it.

And then you get into geeky details about the forced scarcity of new units, how that scarcity deliberately increases over time, and (really geeky) arguments over how or even whether to adapt the underlying protocol to account for consequences of scale.

But, as Serolf notes, Bitcoin is just one currency built on the “blockchain” protocol. There are many others, with various tweaks on the system. My favorite remains Dogecoin, an actual system inspired by a meme gag, that for a moment looked like it might actually have some traction.

And they all remain thoroughly speculative, essentially a world-wide poker game among high-stakes players. As a currency — a medium of exchange — Bitcoin has little practical value, aside from some boutique examples. It would need to be universally adopted, and its “price” would need to remain reasonably steady.

Besides, a broadly accepted digital currency already exists. It’s called “dollars”, which predominantly live as numbers in databases, from international cash transfers to your monthly bank and credit-card statements. Paper money and metal coins are merely an adorable legacy of its past, not the primary medium of its existence today.

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