Screen saver trust and the password

Feb 13, 2013, 01:32 IST | Dhara Vora

According to a recent international survey conducted by security technology provider company McAfee, 66 % of the participating Indians are comfortable sharing their Internet and banking passwords. You might be declaring your love through material gifts this Valentine's Day, but would you dare take this trust test? Dhara Vora investigates

In the sepia-toned years, the trust factor of a relationship would only be based on promising the Moon and never looking at another woman. But with the World Wide Web coming into picture, the norms of trust in a relationship too have become wide with several people in a relationship expecting sharing of passwords of their social networking accounts or bank accounts as a symbol of trust and love.

According to a recent survey conducted by security technology provider company McAfee, 66% of Indians surveyed across Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai are comfortable sharing their sensitive data with their partners. However, 85% of them accepted changing their password post a break-up. So, where does the trust vanish?

Societal changes
“Access to information across social platform is fine as far as knowledge is concerned, but just to know who’s seeing whom and the constant urge to inform the world about personal goings-on is what is causing problems. The person-to-person contact has been lost. Today, lives of people revolve around letting people know what they are doing,” says Sociologist, Nandini Sardesai.

Sardesai feels that the cons of access to almost everything online are that several people are not aware of how vulnerable they are to the dangers in the world, “You meet an unknown person online, but when the trust is exploited, it jeopardises everything.”

The psychological impact
“When a person in a relationship wants to know the password of the other’s account, it is an indicator of lack of transparency, if the person really trusts the other, there wouldn’t be a question of asking for it. Also, the number of social networking site users is going up today, but the age for being in a relationship has gone down. So, there is a definite rise in the number of cases where knowing details about the partner’s account has led to causing problems in relationship,” says Dr Anjali Chhabria, Consultant Psychiatrist.

Chhabria says that when a relationship breaks down, what leads to the misuse of passwords and threatening is impulsive anger and vengeance. “Due to social networking sites, our entire lives revolve around portraying the good bits of our life online, and in order to get back at the person you have broken up with, people retaliate thinking that by posting offensive material online, they would show the true selves of the partners,” explains Chhabria. She advises talking to each other, or someone rather than letting the anger take over, as apart from the other party’s reputation, it is also the law that one has 
to follow.

To share or not?
In one case, post a break up, the boy, who knew the passwords of the girls social networking account posted offensive comments from her account about her personality, as he knew that would immediately lead to almost 500 people reading about it. This worsened the relationship between them, “…here, the relationship could have been salvaged but by showing that he could not be trusted anymore, the matter went from bad to worse,” reasons Chhabria.
In another incident, a woman came across the bank documents of the man with whom she was undergoing a divorce and used it in the court to build her case, as she was afraid that she would not be compensated financially. “Here, the woman felt that her actions were completely justified,” says Chhabria.

Shareall? not quite
What mumbaiites have to say when it comes to sharing their passwords

1 “Only after a while. While I did share my password but I think it works better on the spouse level than the girlfriend stage. Also I always changed my password post a break up,” says 27-year-old Marketing Consultant, Rishab Malhotra.

2 “I have been married for two years, before which, we dated for six years. Since I lived abroad, it was convenient to know that my girlfriend had my bank details. But I did not share it with my past girlfriend. Even now, my wife and I know each others passwords,” reveals 30-year-old Media Professional, Deven Bakshi.

3 “I always shared my passwords with my boyfriends, which wasn’t misused. But I am not for sharing intimate pictures through mail, as it is not the boyfriend but the third party that I am bothered about, of hacking into our accounts. My husband and I know of each other’s passwords but that does not mean we spy on each other,” shares 24-year-old, Jinal Shah.
(Names have been changed to protect identity) 

The trust files

Glamour model Katie Price who was married to ‘Mysterious Girl’ singer Peter Andre sued him last year for divulging private details including emails containing medical information.

Lady Gaga’s
personal assistant recently sued her over unpaid dues and gave out intimate details about the singer’s life to the media, which the singer then lashed out against.

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