Rethinking Privacy


Hey, it’s nice when you agree with the Government’s interpretation of how the future is going to shake out. 

Donald Kerr is the USA’s Dept. of Intelligence Deputy Director and noted correctly:

Protecting anonymity isn’t a fight that can be won. Anyone that’s typed in their name on Google understands that. 
… Our job now is to engage in a productive debate, which focuses on privacy as a component of appropriate levels of security and public safety,”

Wait a minute….maybe the Government is just (finally) coming around to agreeing with me as I’ve been noting for about two years now that online privacy is an oxymoron.  Hey, here’s another online privacy is a mirage post!  

We don’t (actually, cannot) know where many of our pictures and data and writing and comments and email is stored, we don’t know who misquotes us, scrapes our content, has our credit card data and medical records, reads our email, or even know if we own what we write (many reviews sites will claim they own *your* reviews). 

It’s actually *not* as big a deal as one might think.  This is the brave new world of onliners and the benefits of the information explosion easily and dramatically trump the handful of privacy pitfalls.    If this were not the case we’d have seen a *lot* more trouble by now.

CNN Reports

8 thoughts on “Rethinking Privacy

  1. I wonder what, if any advantage, the use of handles might be. At best I’ve assumed it provides a tiny bit of misdirection. Somewhere in the NSA’s database there must be a line of easily referenced code saying ‘Max Wyvern == Joel McKinnon’.

    Well, there is now.

  2. Hey NSA! What I meant was, ‘Max Wyvern == Leonardo di Caprio’. And BTW, Leonardo di Caprio == Newt Gingrich, and Joe Duck == Abraham Lincoln, and Jesus Christ Himself == Jesus Christ Himself.

    That should do it.

  3. Max, don’t worry, I’ll write to you when you are stuck away in a moldy and damp New Orleans prison cell, scratching cryptic messages into the bricks and wondering why your Mars Society membership landed you in the pokey under the new Huckabee-Obama administration’s anti alien crackdown.

  4. “We don’t (actually, cannot) know where many of our pictures and data and writing and comments and email is stored, we don’t know who misquotes us, scrapes our content, has our credit card data and medical records, reads our email, or even know if we own what we write (many reviews sites will claim they own *your* reviews).”

    One reason to use proxies. It’s not merely invasion of provacy, but potential ID theft. You probably don’t want some unscrupulous webmeister getting your SS# and DOB from IP address (which is possible with certain network sniffers).

    However, there may be some grounds for having Authori-tays moderate certain chat rooms or newsgroups. Anyone who has been online for a few years realizes that all sorts of heinous activity goes down online–Marc Foley variety or worse. A Florida DA recently was stung for soliciting kiddies (it was a undercover)–he then killed himself in custody (happened with a Homeland security person as well).

    Certain areas of the Net (i.e. msn, yahoo, aol chat rooms) now function as sort of walkie-talkies for mobsters (or wannabe mobsters) and pimps. It doesn’t seem that big of a deal until you see like the Amber Alerts on LA freeways concerning some dude who abducted some children via online chats.

    So my perspective is not as libertarian as it once was; there are even sound reasons for censoring porn, I believe. We should argue for Net Neutrality and keeping the online communication channels open in principle; alas, all those freedoms that cyber-people have argued for have been very lucrative for the Larry Flynts among us.

  5. Getting online is like takling a dive into a bottomless pit. it is extremely difficult to ascertain whether it is truly possible to fully guaramntee online privacy especsially due to the increasing number of internet geeks out there striving to unsettle the established virtual system.

  6. all those freedoms that cyber-people have argued for have been very lucrative for the Larry Flynts

    Yes and I think it’s important to separate sincere concerns from cash concerns. But Horatiox even with proxies to protect your identity in some things, it’ll only take a few emails or compromised online orders or real estate info via zillow or phone numbers via Google and you are known to many. I gave up my online “privacy” long ago and though I still take some precautions with my kids I figure my cats out of the bag.

  7. This is the brave new world of onliners and the benefits of the information explosion easily and dramatically trump the handful of privacy pitfalls.

    Privacy matters, but at the same time, a webmaster or moderator may reveal someone’s real name/IP address if he/she becomes upset at a person’s politics, or perceived politics. It’s like Foxnews, everywhere, if not a high school lunch room. ID Politics rules supreme. Many blogs, even big-name ones (i.e. DailyKOS), have turned into paranoia fests, full of endless infighting, power struggles, defamation-contests.

    The ID politics are as objectionable when the “liberals” do it as when rightists do it. One perceives this sort of petty power game at many wordpress sites as well (such as New Worlds), where a few supposed liberals engage in endless Sally-Field like hysteria and few if any real substantial topics are addressed. It starts to sound like a bunch of juvenile delinquents trading stupid insults.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s