The Problem with Passwords

Nowadays there are a number of apps that allow us to protect our most vital secrets on our devices. Acting like intangible padlocks on our digital portfolios we like to call phones, tablets, etc, these apps can be considered more effective, because unlike physical keys that often get misplaced and can easily be copied, the ‘key’ to these apps is a complex combination of characters that only the owner is genius enough to come up with. This supposedly ensures ultimate protection, because no one else is supposed to be equally genius enough to open the door to your closeted treasures. With all the efficiency of security codes though, is it really worth using them?

While the idea of restricting public access isn’t new, I’m concerned that the increasing habit of hiding things may cause within us, a dangerous level of mistrust. You went on a trip with some friends and everyone’s phone died or was on the brink of dying, just when it was just getting fun, but you were the only responsible one to have powered up before leaving home. You end up being the one to capture every moment, so now they want to see what dumb faces they made when their favourite songs came on, and Jamie’s reaction again when Lisa vomited on him. But wah dem wah see it fa? Dem nuh soon get alllllll a di video and pikcha dem inna di group chat? Dem cah WAIT? An’ yuh nuh like people inna phone anyways so yuh sorry fi dem, dem lucky.

Um, hello? You don’t see a problem with the level of possessiveness in that kinda reaction? It doesn’t scream “loosen up and share the moment with the other human beings who you have a love for!” to you? What’s with this not trusting people saga? Yes, they might mistakenly delete something important, but are you going to catch a disease and die from their mistake? And why so secretive anyways? Unless you have a creative new idea in there that needs to be patented before it sees the light of day, you don’t need a battalion guarding the things on your phone that EVERYONE is likely to have a version of anyways.

We might even end up putting passwords on things that don’t need protection. Let’s not even get into how annoying it is, having to constantly input all those confusing combination of characters every 5-10 minutes, just to get to content that was designed NOT to be annoying in the first place. The music app on your device is a prime example. Imagine you’re already stressed, tired of reading, analysing, filing, or whatever it is you’ve been busting your brains on all day. You decide a good distraction is some music, and all you want to do at this point is hear it play, or you’ll rip your hair out. No more characters, words, no more typing. But no, you have to type in the password to open your phone and get to the music app, and oh no! you have to type in a password to open that too, and Lawd Jesas! there’s a blasted password on the very playlist you want played. Not to mention the fact that after 3 minutes, your phone locks automatically, and all running apps along with it, so that right in the middle of Sia wailing about swinging on chandeliers, there’s sudden silence. And now you have to go through the entire process again. And again. And again. Yay. (Insert ‘annoyed’ emoji)

What happened to the days when things were simple? When you could actually leave your phone on the table in that crowded room and not worry? When you could have an undistracted conversation without having to strain to watch out of the corner of eye? When your palm didn’t have to be plastered protectively over the home button? When you didn’t have to get the queasy feeling in your chest whenever someone asked for your password, and then you had to quickly decide to give them access while thinking up a new one for as soon as they leave? What is the future going to be with all these ‘secrets’?

I can’t lie, I use passwords on some of my own apps, but recently it got so annoying, I had to get rid of them. I hated the prickly feeling of alertness when my devices were in someone else’s hands. I don’t even have anything I wouldn’t share with people, and if I’m embarrassed about anything, I usually delete them. Why am I going to keep something like that? And if accidental loss is my concern, which is why backup storage was created, I make use of it.

Maybe we should reassess our password usage, be more open, and see how positive the effects of not constantly worrying about exposing ourselves to others make us feel.

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