If you’ve ever been wronged by a large company and wanted to do more than shake your angry fist at a building, you’re going to enjoy meeting Jessamyn West.
When the Equifax hack hit, she wanted to do more than whine to friends and family. She wanted justice. So she filed a lawsuit in small claims court — and won.
It was more than a stunt. West wanted to make a point far beyond the $690 she was awarded by the judge. She was tired of people sitting around and meekly accepting the life the digital world is foisting on them.
The Vermont-based community technologist asked friends about the hack, and they all seemed to respond the same way.
“They’re like, mah, what can you do? Computers, like, they’re impossible. Everything is impossible. The world is getting worse, blah,” she recalled. “And I was, like, these conversations suck.”
I’ve written about this phenomenon before: It’s called learned helplessness. Knock someone down enough, and many will just give up and take it. People often aren’t really helpless, but they can be beaten — literally or figuratively — into submission.
I say as often as I can that complaining is like voting. Even if you don’t always win, you always have to participate. If you don’t complain, then you get what you deserve.
That’s why, as my pal and fellow journalist Ron Lieber said, West should be your new consumer hero. I’ll let her pick up the story from here. You can read the transcript of her interview on the “Breach” podcast series, which I co-host. But really, it’s a lot more fun to listen to West.
You can listen to the podcast episode for which West was interviewed by clicking the play button below:
More from Bob Sullivan:
- “Weather Channel knocked off live TV by hackers“
- “Breach podcast, the conclusion: ‘Privacy died but it can be reborn’“
- “Can a high school senior hack his way into college? Young researcher finds flaw at several schools“
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