Privacy!?!

It seems very few mainstream media organizations are following the privacy scandals in the USA. Honour has a post on what Facebook is doing. See: Second Life, as Idiotic as it Sounds, Gave Me an Illusion of Privacy. She has a good collection of links to prove the points she is making.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is talking in the following video. Colleen Taylor notes that people don’t know what they are giving up or why such data gathering is a big problem. But, she does not explain. If you are not into history and politics, you won’t have a clue what is being given up. So, if you are one of the ones wondering about that… you need to be educating yourself. Fortunately Colleen touches more on those points later in the video (around 16:00).

Only one or two media organizations covered the shocking revelations made on CNN in story by Erin Burnett in her show Outfront. (Clip 1 and Clip 2) Within a couple of weeks all that chatter seems to have been forgotten. Even the EFF seems not to get how extensive the data gathering is. Even Erin seemed to miss the point that the CONTENT of ANY ONE’s calls can be recovered. How do you recover a voice conversation that was not recorded?

Get: http://www.ghostery.com/ see how many people are tracking you.

13 thoughts on “Privacy!?!

  1. Today the scandal become a new dimension. Media all over Europe reports that the NSA did wiretap offices of the European Union in Washington, Bruxelles and at the UN and also infiltrate their computer networks. Now this can´t be justifyied with hunting terrorists anymore, THIS is Cyberterrorism!!! Besides, I didn´t find any report about this in the US media so far. I have nothing to hide, but I did sign up to a VPN service today, installed HTTPS-Everywhere and started using PGP for encrypt my e-mails.

    • Most of the press in the USA is oriented toward supporting Obama and his government. That isn’t what was intended for the 4th estate. They were supposed to expose ALL government misbehavior.

      Unless one generates their own encryption keys, even those are not safe.

      • Yes, even encryption is often not 100% save, but maybe that is Ok. I have nothing to hide, I just have a problem with other people reading and scanning my communication on an everyday casual basis and saving it for long periods of time. Because you never know. Yesterday they were hunting terrorists, today they are spying on befriended governments and companies, just to get an advantage for their economy (e.g. in the current free trade talks between EU and US). Tomorrow they will hunt people that think different politically. And one should never forget. What the USA has the abilitiy to do now, soon the Chinese, Russian or Iranian authorities will be able to do. And the latter is a country which has a death penalty for gay people or for somebody who insults the Islam.

        • You think you have nothing to hide. You are one of those that is missing the historical background to understand how this information will be used against you. Whether you are Democrat, Republican, Independent, or Libertarian if you become politically active you become a target in this type of environment. You essentially lose your right to discuss politics by phone, email, or reading of web sites.

          We have cities and counties in America where Sharia law is being implemented. Judges are considering it in trials. If you are LGBT and live in one of those areas… who is going to be coming after you? Likely to kill you…

          If you have conservative beliefs, the IRS and Labor Department come after your business. What happens when the conservatives come into power? Do they get to use the system against liberals? If the liberals stay in power and take over the system eliminating any conservative influence, isn’t that another dictatorship? Since power corrupts, what do you think happens when power becomes assured in one party? History has the answers. None are answers you will like.

          You only think you have nothing to hide. It isn’t about what you need to hide in a criminal sense. It is about what you will be free to express and your loss of free expression at risk of becoming identified with a minority that is oppressed. Look at conservative movements that kept moving right or liberal movements that kept moving left. It is a circle. They all end up in the same place, fascist dictatorships, where you are told what to do and believe and suffer if you don’t comply. If you understood history, you would know what you have to hide and why freedom is important not just enjoyable.

  2. World-wide citizens privacy violations by the USA (and allied countries) is nothing new: ECHELON dates back form the 1960s and was already geared towards global communications spying and mining. In fact, almost every country in the world is trying to gather data (this is called “intelligence”, which is a bad term; it should simply be called for what it really is, i.e. “spying”) transiting through communication networks. USA is simply the only country that has been able to make it an industry, especially with Internet (another US technology) which main nodes are located on their territory.

    Now, you are right that people should be educated and be told the truth: Google, Facebook & Cos are simply efficient means to gather “open intelligence data”, i.e. data left in the open (and, in the case of Facebook, voluntarily contributed) by the very people using their services.
    The worst thing is that, taken individually, each such “service” may seem to collect an innocuous amount of data about you, and that data collection may even seem perfectly legit, downright logic and totally harmless, but the truth is that once their database gets crossed (something the NSA can do and does) with other such “innocuous databases” pertaining to other such “services”, they become weapons of mass discrimination/persecution !

    If people are stupid enough to give up their own privacy, then too bad for them, right ?… Well, not exactly… Whatever the country, their Law condemns people who exploit the gullibility of others, and that’s exactly what Facebook, Google & Cos are doing !

    What can be done against it ?… Well, just incite people to stop creating RL profiles in all those “free services” on the Internet (use pseudonyms instead: feed their database with fake/made-up data !!!) and to stop publishing private stuff (that stuff you would just share with your closest friends and/or family).

    That’s why I will always advocate for strict privacy and anonymity on SL and equivalent platforms (your privacy is not worth loosing to play in a virtual world !), and the reason why you won’t find any of my alts in CloudParty (ran by Facebook, the “Biggest Brother”)…

    • The extent of spying is at such a level that fake ID’s on Facebook and other social networks is unlikely to help. In most cases the IP address and MAC number of the computer is all they are interested in. Most people are not computer literate enough to disguise those. Too few understand how to browse anonymously. Pull the phone company/ISP data and the government easily has the names to go with those IP/MAC numbers.

      The IRS scandals are showing information is already being used by political parties and politicians with agendas to harass and impoverish people with different political beliefs. Even more alarming is the fact that even with on going Congressional investigation the IRS continues to request donor lists, which will likely turn up again in the hands of opposition parties. The IRS and Labor Depart and other agencies are then used against people in those lists to disrupt their businesses and/or careers to stop funding for what liberals consider the opposition.

      Change is going to require considerably more than people changing their browsing and social sign up processes.

      • The MAC address is lost at the first router: it is replaced by the router’s own MAC (that’s how routing is done: each router maintains a MAC/IP table for the nodes it is connected to and replace the MAC of the packets it transmits or emits with its own MAC) So, only your ISP can deduce that a packet comes from your computer based on the MAC in the IP header, but they already know that anyway.

        As for the IP, you can efficiently and reliably hide it via networks such as TOR (which doesn’t require a complex setup to use): granted, it’s not very convenient and requires some computing-literacy as you rightfully point out.

        Note however that many IPs (v4 ones) are allocated randomly by ISPs among their (limited) available pool of IPs, so it’s not a very reliable way to track someone (Google, Facebook & Cos use cookies and your ID, when you use one to log into their sites). With IPv6, things are going to change because of to the huge available range of such IPs…

        • I tried TOR, but it seems rather slow and restrictive (no flash). I then signed up for Cyber Ghost VPN. They seem very easy to use, trustworthy and they effectivly hide my IP while offering enough speed for SL or watching HD videos. The second advantage is, that I finally have secure internet access from public wifis since I travel a lot.
          For seach I switched from Google to DuckDuckGo.

          • That will provide protection from commercial snoops. But, I don’t know it offers much protection from governments.

  3. my virusscanner (eset nod32) go nuts when i try to install ghostery Win32/Packed.ScrambleWrapper.B

  4. I dunno what’s more scary… Government not doing a good job keeping things secret or people freaking out over “Big Brother” like as if they had something to hide… like something illegal or some serious crimes.

    Maybe everyone is a spy for all other different countries. Does that sound idiotic? Then this whole “shock” value at hand is absurd.

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