Last week my cellphone was stolen. This is my second (perhaps third) Sony Ericsson which has been “liberated” from my possession. It happened at Bible study at church: trustingly I left my bag unattended to socialise with some of my friends before the Bible study started. But then some unknown characters came in. They sat in a corner (where my bag was) and spoke with some people, but left before we started the actual Bible study. Being who we are, we are not in the habit of being suspicious or mistrusting of new faces. Unfortunately, so vigilance on my part would have been handy.
At first I thought I had left it at home and then at the office, but after retracing my steps, I came up empty-handed. But it was only a few days later (after I had blacklisted the cellphone and done a SIM swap) that I knew for certain that my phone had indeed been stolen: my airtime (~R200) had been drained.
The whole debacle cost me nearly R700 as I had to have my old phone fixed (I shall gnaw through my wrists with my molars if I have to go back to an old model Nokia). The K550i hasn’t had a happy life: I was thrown into a pool while I had it in my pocket and after that repair I accidentally drove over it with my car (yes, yes, yes, I know, I’m a very special human being, but I do know someone else who has done the same thing, so I am not alone in my specialness). But I am being forced to refuse to let it die on me: I have gotten accustomed to Sony Ericsson phones and they have generally been good to me.
I hate to sound materialistic: it has been more than a week, bit I am still bummed about the whole thing. I only had that phone for 6 months on a 2 year contract and it was a good phone (C702): sturdy build, GPS, nice screen, Cybershot… sure, it wasn’t a smart phone, but I liked it all the same. On the up side, at least the K550i is fast (I am convinced that it has the same processor as the C702, but the latter has more software and therefore performed a bit sluggish). Also, my 4GB Micro SD card was in the phone.
But perhaps more than losing the physical phone is the feeling of being violated which I have: I had the details of family members and friends on there, my Facebook, Twitter and GMail accounts could be accessed from the phone, I had SMSs from the bank on there about transactions which I made, and I had some pictures a tiny bit of information. I think this is how a woman must feel who has her handbag stolen. Thankfully my wallet wasn’t stolen. As a result of this violation, I am strongly considering a new policy for myself: no more personal data, other than names and numbers, on my phone: if you don’t have your birthday listed on Facebook, I am not going to know when it is. The important data will be privately hosted on a cloud server in an encrypted file. It would also be good to get in the habit of periodically deleting all my SMSs: there are better, more private, places to store them than on a phone.
Moral of the story: never let one single thing (a cellphone, a website or something else) become an “extension” of yourself in the sense that you put your entire private life on there. One day you’ll wake up and suddenly it isn’t so private anymore.