Just Say ‘Nyet’ To The Net

Welcome to Sochi, Russia, where phishing is quickly become the newest Olympic sport.

The U.S. State Department warned Americans coming here that they should have “no expectation of privacy,” even in their hotel rooms.

And to think that I thought those empty sockets in my hotel room were simply missing light bulbs. They’re really cameras recording my every move. Heck, I’d known someone was watching I would've worn a robe as I traipsed around my room inside this government-approved media hotel. And all this time I figured it was the hotel maid who was stealing my Olympic pins.

All I can say is that I’m glad my blow-up Olga Korbut doll didn’t clear customs. We could have a real international incident on our hands. Not to mention that I’d have a lot of explaining to do once I got home.

What is this world coming to when NBC’s lead foreign correspondent Richard Engel feels safer in the fields of Fallujah than he does inside the International Broadcast Center in Sochi?

Engel recently revealed that he pulled two brand new laptops out of the box and booted them up once he landed in Russia, and within minutes hackers were telling him that he may have already won a million rubles in the Russian version of the Publisher’s Clearing House contest.

It's enough to make you want to tell off those little Russian hackers and ex-Cold War spies with some universal sign language.

Who knew that it may be safer to hand over your credit card to a street corner salesman selling knock-off Denver Broncos merchandise than it is using Paypal on a computer terminal inside the Main Media Center in Sochi?

That’s why I changed my password to my Netflix account. Next thing you know I’m ordering 15 copies of “Moscow on the Hudson,” and a dozen copies of “Doctor Zhivago.” What a bunch of Bolshevik that would be.

Once bitten twice shy, I always say. Sorry honey, but that bouquet of three dozen roses I was going to send you for Valentine’s Day will have to wait until I return to the land of Internet security. Or at least until I can order them on Target.com.

It’s no wonder that lately I’ve been getting more emails from Russian widows and orphans than I ever have from deposed Nairobian princes looking to hide millions in my bank account. Who said the global marketplace is dead?

I guess the lesson that we can all learn here is that we shouldn’t take for granted the freedoms that we enjoy every day in the United States of America. That, and if you want privacy, make sure to lock the door, especially when you’re using one of these Russian bathrooms that come equipped with side-by-side commodes.

Still, these security breaches are no laughing matter. The things that we Americans hold so dear, such as our privacy – do you hear me NSA? – are quickly being trampled on. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to share even the most mundane details of our daily lives for everyone to sift through and eventually use against us.

That’s why I will stopped posting pictures of my favorite sandwiches on Twitter, and have vowed to never again “Like” one of those cute cat videos on Facebook.

Because you never know which Big Brother is watching.

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