Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Communications The Internet Your Rights Online

Your Privacy Is a Sci-Fi Fantasy 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-education-battles-apathy dept.
snydeq writes "Deep End's Paul Venezia discusses the 'sci-fi fantasy' that is privacy in the digital era. 'The assault on personal privacy has ramped up significantly in the past few years. From warrantless GPS tracking to ISP packet inspection, it seems that everyone wants to get in on the booming business of clandestine snooping — even blatant prying, if you consider reports of employers demanding Facebook passwords prior to making hiring decisions,' Venezia writes. 'What happened? Did the rules change? What is it about digital information that's convinced some people this is OK? Maybe the right to privacy we were told so much about has simply become old-fashioned, a barrier to progress.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Your Privacy Is a Sci-Fi Fantasy

Comments Filter:
  • by bonch (38532) * on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:07PM (#39479091)

    The best way to get geeks to care about privacy is to make the argument about Facebook. Geeks HATE Facebook. If you make it about Google, who is much worse when it comes to privacy abuses, you will be ignored, because Google has successful propagandized itself as a harmless, techie-driven web search company and not a multi-billion dollar, data-collecting, advertising behemoth.

  • The problem is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:13PM (#39479141)
    The problem is that far to many people look about as far ahead as a goldfish. "Sure I will give you access to all my facebook data for a cheap beer..." And that makes it had for the rest of us with a clue.
  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:15PM (#39479167)

    Wiretapping laws came about because wiretapping was seen as an invasion of privacy, you were in effect joining a real-time conversation that would not normally be recorded.

    All digital communication is inherently recorded, so in some twisted sense it's more like dumpster diving and less like wiretapping to snoop in e-mail.

    Similarly for GPS tracking, that's just like old-school tailing a car, but cheaper and more clandestine - what's not to like?

    The rules need to be rewritten, give it 30 or 40 years and it should settle down, it's all still very new - judicial time runs much slower than internet time.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:17PM (#39479185)
    The picture of the comment you link to is actually a defense of freedom, not a defense of "child pornography". The writer was denouncing censorship; he was not advocating anything.

    Sorry, but you don't get to turn it around and say the author stated something that in fact he did not.
  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:18PM (#39479197)

    The problem is that far to many people look about as far ahead as a goldfish. "Sure I will give you access to all my facebook data for a cheap beer..." And that makes it had for the rest of us with a clue.

    Nothing hard there, they can have access to my Facebook data (I haven't logged in in over a year, and my 5 friends are more random than telling), I get a free beer and they get.... less than they expected, from me.

    Idiots have been bragging about their crimes forever, most mob busts were based on (unintentional) confessions.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:20PM (#39479213) Homepage

    All digital communication is inherently recorded, so in some twisted sense it's more like dumpster diving and less like wiretapping to snoop in e-mail.

    No, it's more like your mail carrier reading your snail-mail.

    Which is also an illegal invasion of privacy.

    The rules don't need to be re-written. The old ones work just fine as long as we don't throw out all reason as soon as "on a computer" is added.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:23PM (#39479237)
    The problem with this argument is that many people who use these technologies do not understand how they work, and may not realize what they are exposing.

    Is that their own problem? I suppose. One way to look at it is "evolution in action"... the unaware will be preyed upon. But I think there is a place in society for protecting the innocent from active predators, which are what these companies really are.

    I am not an advocate of laws that are intended to protect us from ourselves. But to protect people from others who actively seek to intrude and invade? Sure, no problem.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:33PM (#39479329) Homepage

    Yet idiots like these are very much everywhere. We have three generations of people in the US who have fallen prey to pop culture marketing thought. Their very thoughts are comprised of slogans and talking points. (As language is the encoding of the mind, it shows everywhere in the way they talk.) It will be the people with "mental problems" who will save the rest of us from ourselves... you know the ones -- the ones with Asperger's and the ones who, for whatever reason, couldn't go along with religion while the rest of their families did.

    Bonch needs to go sit in a corner and really think about what he has done. Unfortunately, all he will think is that he's right and righteous and nothing about anything which resembles a slipery slope or witch trials or imprisonment over art in which the eyes of the characters are too large and are therefore "children" as depicted and is therefore child pornography. The McCarthy's and the witch prosecutors out there believed they were right and righteous too.

  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:36PM (#39479361)

    All digital communication is inherently recorded, so in some twisted sense it's more like dumpster diving and less like wiretapping to snoop in e-mail.

    No, it's more like your mail carrier reading your snail-mail.

    Which is also an illegal invasion of privacy.

    The rules don't need to be re-written. The old ones work just fine as long as we don't throw out all reason as soon as "on a computer" is added.

    When I started using e-mail (early 1990s), I and everyone I e-mailed with understood that e-mail is not a sealed letter, it is a post card, if you want a sealed letter, you need to use crypto - even ROT-13 is some measure of privacy. It seemed reasonable enough, the BBSs I used (and ran) in the 1980s were open like that and you could pretty much assume that the sysop knew everything you typed, including your password.

    Even in the mid 1990s, ISP e-mail was handled on systems that pretty much resembled BBSs, my first dialup ISP was a couple of servers in some guy's garage. It rapidly grew into mass virtual machines in clusters on server farms, but the lack of privacy implications remain - if somebody wants to look, it's all too easy to do.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:37PM (#39479371) Homepage

    No. There will ALWAYS be pretty stupid people. ALWAYS. This is why being a conman is illegal for a wide variety of reasons. Taking advantage of stupid people is the problem and it is THE FEW who take advantage of the man. It is unreasonable to blame the masses for the deeds of the few.

    The problem is, in fact, the few. This is true because it is more convenient and it is true because when the flaw is a fact of human nature, the best course of action is to compensate for it rather than to "wish really hard" that human nature will change or that somehow a darwinistic evolution will occur across humanity and people will magically get smarter.

  • Or maybe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:48PM (#39479487)

    Maybe the right to privacy we were told so much about has simply become old-fashioned, a barrier to progress.

    Just maybe the generation growing up is more accepting of the intrusions, the same way manners and morals dissolved over the years, compare TV in the 1950's to TV today to see a graphic example of this.

    For the record you can maintain your privacy, just learn to think like this; that everything done on the Internet is like shouting in a restaurant so don't post or discuss things you wouldn't yell in a restaurant.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:48PM (#39479489)

    For a long time, people didn't care about privacy. They didn't care that some ad agency was writing down what websites they visited as long as they could get to whatever Internet sites.

    Now, people are starting to feel the consequences of no privacy. Companies making point scores based on people's Internet postings, the fact that an arrest for *anything* will be a career ender [1], even if it is just PI and a 4 hour stint in the drunk tank. The wrong like on Facebook gets someone branded as a potential racist for 7 years.

    A few years back, at first was a joke about people losing jobs due to FB posts. Now, this is routine, as well as the fact that the police can become involved if the wrong thing is posted in minutes. It is scary that one thing stated in anger and stupidity can mean not finding work, but more dire consequences such as expulsion from a school, or jail/prison time.

    Will this change? I doubt it. I'm watching the threshold for getting arrested, getting a felony, or even life in prison become ever more trivial. Especially anything related to drug possession.

    I can tell I'm getting older when it actually took some doing to be arrested in school when I was there (something that really was a felony). Now, it is common to read about some high school kid whisked from the school grounds and to jail because they backtalked a coach (which is considered assault in some areas), or that they decided to skip a class and went to jail due to curfew laws. What are we teaching kids when their friends get hauled off to jail and the person's chances of a job in the future nixed? Yes, fear of authority, but definitely not respect.

    I'm just waiting for a convergence of hardware DRM stacks, data mining, "anti-piracy" laws, and IP address geolocation where new computers will shoot taser probes at the person using them, and keep them doing "the fish" until the cops arrive, the second they type a suspicious or angry post.

    [1]: I've asked about that when I got through a round of interviews at one place and others who I know were more qualified than I didn't. The HR droid said something along the lines of, "You can buy an acquittal. If a cop considers someone guilty enough to pull out the handcuffs, they are a criminal and will remain a criminal for the rest of their lives, and they will not ever see a job here."

  • by CCarrot (1562079) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:54PM (#39479529)

    And why do you have a clue?

    Why is it such a bad thing for them to want a cheap beer in return by giving them information on their life?
    Why is that bad? Why are you projecting YOUR opinion on others on what they can and can't do with their personal information?
    So what if they have access to said information, its not going to change their life in any way. In fact, it is very likely going to get BETTER.
    They might get more cheap beers. They bar might bring in a different kind of beer because so many of their fans like said beer.
    And in turn, they now get better business, people get to have a better time.
    Everybody wins. Except from you of course, "the cool kid".
    Unless the guy behind the bar is REALLY A SERIAL KILLER! OH THE HORROR.

    Considering your post, you already don't have the slightest "clue". If you did, you wouldn't even be on here or even living in society.

    Sorry to interrupt your rant, but it is NOT okay if "your" data, that you are willing to pimp out so freely, includes any information about me.

    Facebook is not a personal diary app. It is wholly and completely dependent upon interconnections between people. If you prostitute your info out to all and sundry, how can I prevent mine from getting shoveled along with it, other than de-friending your ass? And even then, my past comment history, photos of me, etc., etc. remain for the data miners to chortle over...

    I just hope all your FB 'friends' know about your personal data hygiene policies...

    Also, I appreciate the irony...AC. You'll throw the curtains wide open for a crack at a free beer, but cower behind the drapes when it comes time to take a stand on an issue. Nice priorities there.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:57PM (#39479555)
    The problem with your argument is that you are making the classic mistake of thinking that ANY of these things are new issues. They are not. Not even close.

    "Anything seen is seen by one private individual, not a vasty corporation with potentially a global audience.
    Even if we accept as reasonable an individual taking a photograph in a public place that potentially diminishes someone else's privacy, perhaps because the latter person wasn't the subject of the photo and appeared in the background only coincidentally, such photos are still typically only for private, personal use, not being collected by a commercial entity that exists only to exploit anything it can for profit."

    And how is this different from take a public picture of somebody, then putting it on the cover of a national magazine? See, we already had rules about that, and they cover situations like this just fine.

    Similar things can be said about the rest of this. There really isn't anything new here, and if you think there is, then you don't know your history very well. Many of the very same copyright issues that are being slammed around right now, for example, were hashed out in public and in court -- some real knock-down, dragouts as they say -- well over 100 years ago. People keep saying that things are different now, but if they read the actual court decisions from back then, they just might change their minds.

  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:19PM (#39479723)

    A transaction in which I gain something of value to me, in return for something of value to the other person, which I value less than the goods I receive is the fundamental bedrock of economics.

    Not quite. There are some things which aren't meant for you to be traded, even if you'd really like that beer. You can't sell your kids for a beer, for example. Even though they're your kids, and you should be able to do with them what you like in general, it's not in society's interest to let you do that. I like to think that letting you sell your privacy for a free beer is not in society's interest either.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:52PM (#39479965) Homepage

    If you pay for it but it's in the contract are they 'free' to monitor your every internet reaction. See the way you react to adds, which generate a positive reaction and which do not. Conduct experiments trialling different styles of adds to see which more effectively manipulate your choices. Test to see if targeting influential people in your life can get them to motivate your decisions. See which lies are the most effective in tricky you about the veracity of adds. See if exposure to actions on the web can influence your choices. See if distortions about your actions on the web can influence your choice. Conduct continual experiments and trials whilst you are connected to the internet upon an automated basis. Target you whole family in a similar fashion especially minors. Target you with automated forum responses to question and challenge your beliefs. Target you social connections with automated responses designed to manipulate your choices. Use your image and voice in product recommendations for free. Use all content you have generated for free. Create man in the middle distortions in your social contacts.

    Are you 'free' to harangue your local representatives to enact legislation to ban all that activity. The legislate the only personal data that companies are allowed to keep is what is required for account keeping purposes. That when this data is no longer required for account keeping purposes it is destroyed. That companies are permanently banned from collating and data mining personal data. That 100% truth is required in all advertising regardless of delivery method and that all false product associations are banned.

  • by datavirtue (1104259) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:43PM (#39480673)

    It is the other way around man. Facebook is much more intrusive and connected to you r life than Google ever will be. You, my friend, are either trolling or just defunct of critical thinking skills.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @12:14AM (#39481613)

    that signature disturbs me

    You should be even more disturbed by its originators. They will have chosen the sig very carefully to create an a particular set of associations in your mind.

    For those who haven't been following, Burston Marsteller were hired by Facebook to run an anti-Google astroturf campaign. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-12/facebook-enlists-pr-firm-burson-marsteller-to-pitch-google-privacy-story.html [bloomberg.com] [bloomberg.com]

    Some of the sockpuppets they use here are:

    DavidSell
    ByOhTek
    antitithenai
    Bonch
    TechGuys
    Overly Critical Guy
    CmdrPony
    InsightIn140Bytes
    InterestingFella
    SharkLaser
    jo_ham
    DCTech
    smithz
    HankMoody

    There are many others, including disposable accounts used to moderate and deflect discussions in directions they promote. If you see a post by any of the accounts in this list in a Slashdot discussion you know for certain that discussion is polluted and likely to contain misdirection and lies. Avoid feeding the astroturf machine by posting sensible comments in these threads.

    At all times while reading Slashdot and other tech sites, be aware that you are being manipulated by professional reputation managers.

EARTH smog | bricks AIR -- mud -- FIRE soda water | tequila WATER

Working...