A retired FBI agent and military veteran has listed some things his career inspired him to “never do”, and Americans would do well to heed his advice.
“Don’t assume that your United States citizenship is going to get you out of a jam, because it’s not.”
First-time author, former FBI and U.S. Air Force veteran Steve Lazarus took to social media recently to provide some free advice to any willing to listen regarding his top five list of things “I would never do as a retired FBI Agent.”
With a through line focused on safety and security, Lazarus boiled down 35 years of service into key points, most of which could impact nearly every American household. Among them was something he referred to as “a hard no,” at-home DNA kits. “And if you wanted the reason in one word, it’s privacy.”
Citing a case from Florida where a detective had been granted permission from a court to scour of a million records on a DNA database, the former agent spoke to potential data risks that he believed superseded people looking for “their birth parents or some of the legitimate reason.”
“While we’re on the subject of misuse, do you really think a health insurance company wouldn’t want a copy of your DNA when they’re deciding whether or not to grant you coverage? Or to allow you to get a treatment for an existing or a preexisting condition?” he wondered. “What if they get taken over by another company that doesn’t share their moral or their ethical views?”
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On a similar front, Lazarus asserted he would never allow minors to go unsupervised online. “A 12-year-old with a cell phone is nothing more than a target for an online predator who knows how to get kids to do things they shouldn’t be doing.”
Kids don’t have privacy rights, he reminded, “especially not on the phone that you are paying for.”
“You need to know your children’s pins and your passwords, and you need to make ‘no notice inspections’ of their phone,” he advised as “a condition for them keeping that phone.”
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Smart devices were also considered a risk for adult privacy as he posited to viewers, “Think for a second about the most intimate and private conversations you have and ask yourself, do you really want a stranger listening in?”
“Hackers make their livelihood by breaking into devices like your phone, your computer, and even these voice-activated assistants,” the former agent warned. “For my money, I’m gonna sacrifice a bit of convenience in order to preserve my privacy, my safety, and my security.”
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Capping off his series, Lazarus spoke to digital investing and international travel, stating of the former, “Bottom line, most of it looks like a Ponzi scheme to me.”
Speaking to cryptocurrency and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), he challenged the wisdom of investing in something with “zero tangible value” that derived its worth solely from the willingness of someone else to purchase it. “It has what we call a ‘wide entrance in a very narrow exit.’ Meaning it is easy to but tough to sell -especially during a panic.”
“Worst yet in the NFT market, you pay obscene amounts of money for art you can’t touch, houses you can’t live in, and land that doesn’t exist,” he added.
As for traveling abroad, the former agent’s main concern was Americans forgetting constitutional rights don’t exist abroad and countries have a wide array of laws that differ from those in the United States.
“As I speak, there are Americans locked up all around the world because they thought if it was okay to do it here, it must be okay to do it there,” said Lazarus making particular note of the First Amendment. “Bottom line, know before you go.”
“Don’t assume that your United States citizenship is going to get you out of a jam, because it’s not,” he concluded.