Last week, channeling the spirit of Halloween, ZDNet's editors wrote about horrible hacks, death robots, and kamikaze phones. They recapped the scariest tech of the year. But there's more scary tech out there, some that's pure 2016 and some that will, sad to say, be with us for a long, long time.
Well, as it turns out, apparently everyone. By ignoring State Department regulations and dismissing email as just another dull office process (or perhaps an over-heightened desire to prevent transparency), Hillary Clinton has given her opponents an almost silly, but devastating, tool to threaten her political ambitions.
Yes, clowns. It's not just Shakes the Clown that's scary. Clowns are scaring citizens all across the planet.
What makes this a scary tech story is that this sort of performance art meme would, prior to the internet, have been isolated to a few locations, perhaps repeated with the occasional newspaper reports.
The problem is that most people need the internet. We have come to rely on Facebook to stay connected, so going cold turkey isn't a realistic option.
Worse, governments, while hiding some of their own secrets, are posting more and more private information about citizens online. This practice makes it easier for stalkers to find their victims, often with the help of taxpayer-funded databases.
YouTube has become the second largest search engine after Google itself. As such, you can search for and find almost anything, including some really scary and troubling videos, like those horrible videos posted by ISIS.
But if you want something truly disturbing, there's only one video you need to turn to, this one. Warning: DO NOT click into this video. Seriously, don't do it.
Let's say it's 10 years from now, and you're up for an important job somewhere. Did you ever post something foolish on Twitter? Did you ever publish a blog post that you retracted, but not before it got gobbled up by various archiving and caching robots?
Was a picture ever taken of you wearing a stupid hat? Were you ever in a video where you maybe had a bit too much to drink? Did you ever say one thing to a recruiter but post another thing online?
Yep, you are the horror show your mother always warned you about.
Everything you do, every post or tweet you make, may be recorded for posterity. So, as the song from another holiday goes, the internet knows when you're sleeping. It knows when you're awake. It knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. Because the internet is watching. And it never, ever forgets.