This post is not about the dangers regarding private data nor about invasion of privacy through access to your data. You can find many online resources about this. Instead I’ll approach this from a different angle, one that most people don’t realize, especially the ones that so easily raise the question “What is your password ?”
Unless you are using a password manager or something like that, then most probably you create passwords based on a pattern. If a person can remember 1000 totally different passwords for 1000 different reasons, then my respect, but most of us can’t. The fallback mechanism is to establish such a pattern that allows each person to land on the correct password. This pattern can be anything and it really depends on each individual’s psyche. You can imagine sequences of different words or words permutations on a different subject. Regardless, each is based on something important for this person. Something that has priority in his emotional or logical sentience.
Often people permute on a basic pattern or even have different patterns for different groups of access. At the moment you revealed one password then you probably reveal one iteration of the sequence of passwords generated by this pattern. Although it might not be bad for one specific app, you kind of revealed important information about other relevant sites. It really depends on how obvious the pattern is but the reality is when you give up a password for one e.g. website then you also gave up most of the secret for other sites.
But it goes even further. As I mentioned this pattern is created by each individual and is very relevant to what each considers important. I can argue that this is a very small and very limited to each one’s psyche. A revealed password gives up hints on the pattern and to a certain extent what we consider as important. Sometimes it could be innocent things but it could be also hints for important memories or emotional state. Depending on how well the other person knows us, the importance changes.
I at least don’t like this. I like the privacy of certain important moments in my life as I also like the myth created around certain memories. All of that privacy to my personal private state of mind is gone at the moment I reveal part of the pattern. It’s not that I worry that much about the data but some parts of my life must remain just that private. And it gets even worse when you need to explain yourself for any future reference made by accident.
To give you an example, imagine someone used his mother name as a base pattern. Mama’s boy etc. You get where I’m going. Imagine he used the name of a former girlfriend, or a date of significance that contradicts current state in life. Should he or she change all derived passwords?
Having the in mind, I find it very inconsiderate and rude when a person asks for my password or secret. If data privacy is not your consideration then at least respect the other person’s life privacy.
Every time someone asked my password, I got very sensitive because I simply don’t want to reveal this part of my life no matter how obvious it is. It is my privilege to maintain my very own personal myth.
If you think about it, secrets in general have many similarities. When someone asks you to reveal them most of us get at least uncomfortable and even defensive. Why should be any different?