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Government Businesses Privacy

How Silicon Valley Helped the NSA 163

Posted by samzenpus
from the with-a-little-help-from-my-friends dept.
theodp writes "The U.S. tech giants' pledge to up their privacy game in the wake of reports that all-your-data-belong-to-the-NSA rings a little hollow to Abraham Newman, who reminds us that such protections run counter to the business model and public policy agenda that tech companies have pursued for decades. 'For years,' writes Newman, 'U.S. information technology (IT) firms have actively backed weak privacy rules that let them collect massive amounts of personal data. The strategy enabled the companies to work their way into every corner of consumers' lives and gave them a competitive edge internationally. Those same policies, however, have come back to haunt IT firms. Lax rules created fertile ground for NSA snooping. In the wake of the surveillance scandals, as consumer confidence plummets, technology companies' economic futures are threatened.'"
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How Silicon Valley Helped the NSA

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  • Strange (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 11, 2013 @06:26AM (#45389801)

    How all of us were "ok" with the companies collecting this information. When an intelligence agency combines this info, we suddenly scream for privacy. I'm scared enough that google accesses my Gmail content, and Apple my iMessages and contacts.

    • Re:Strange (Score:4, Informative)

      by mrbluze (1034940) on Monday November 11, 2013 @06:40AM (#45389859) Journal
      When the telephone was invented, it was obvious to all and sundry that it was prone to eavesdropping. It's the case with all forms of communication. Privacy is never a given, it is something that has to be actively sought and maintained, like any other human "right". What is insulting is that companies are going out of their way to betray the customer. I am not thinking so much of software giants but Intel which forces you to relinquish your privacy with apparently no way to get around their backdoors.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I am not thinking so much of software giants but Intel which forces you to relinquish your privacy with apparently no way to get around their backdoors.

        Stop worrying about intel. AMD is including a TPM in their CPUs too, it has other purposes as well so it has another name but it's the same shit when you distill it. And all the ARM processors are also working on including them. Anyone who doesn't will find themself in a poor position when they're the only ones not permitted to play DRM video.

      • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

        Privacy is never a given

        Seems to me, that unless stated otherwise, I should be able to have a private conversation with someone (email, phone, etc) without having to worry about the conversation being recorded and accessed by someone for means which it was not intended.

        If employers and health care providers are already "googling" people for information about rates and employability, imaging the same private companies accessing an NSA scoring system to gather the same insight. It's not just about people's personal lives, it's about

        • by kermidge (2221646)

          Agreed.

          It's morality, a quaint concept these days. Just because it's _possible_ to listen in, for instance, doesn't mean it's right to do so. That little bit seems to get lost in most of these 'discussions'.

          For that matter, all those pointing out how ordinary emails are sent plain-text, so what? Consider the header to be the envelope, just like of a letter via snail mail; works for me. Somebody has to physically do something to read an email by opening the file, just as someone has to open the envelope

    • Re:Strange (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mitreya (579078) <(mitreya) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday November 11, 2013 @07:11AM (#45389933)

      all of us were "ok" with the companies collecting this information. When an intelligence agency combines this info, we suddenly scream for privacy.

      Google does not have the ability to put us on the no-fly list. "Ok" or not, the threat level just isn't the same.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        All of us were NOT "OK" with companies collecting this information. If you were, I'm sorry for you. In order to be OK with that you'd have to believe that corporations don't have disproportionate power over peoples' lives, that they won't sell you out in a heartbeat because it's profitable or because they don't want to be bothered, and most importantly, that information once collected won't be abused. Information will ALWAYS be abused and there are only two cures for that: don't collect it in the first

        • by Anonymous Coward

          All of us were NOT "OK" with companies collecting this information. If you were, I'm sorry for you. In order to be OK with that you'd have to believe that corporations don't have disproportionate power over peoples' lives, that they won't sell you out in a heartbeat because it's profitable or because they don't want to be bothered, and most importantly, that information once collected won't be abused. Information will ALWAYS be abused and there are only two cures for that: don't collect it in the first place, or jail the abusers of it. That latter is kind of satisfying, but rather hard to pull off unfortunately. It is far better to not allow the collection in the first place, and that means reeling in corporate power in addition to government power.

          You say the threat level isn't the same. I would submit to you that the only reason we don't have private corporate armies running around the US (we used to) is that they have simply outsourced that task to the government. So when you speak of government or corporations in this country, you're just talking about the same large entity which has to be stopped.

          Well, The Market is supposed to protect us against this kind of stuff. If we don't like having our private information passed around like Pokemon cards, we take our business to a company that doesn't do that.

          Wait? They ALL do it? We don't have a choice? It must be meddling Socialist Government forcing them to be that way!

          • Re:Strange (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday November 11, 2013 @08:33AM (#45390185) Homepage Journal

            Actually - you DO have some choice. Did you fill out that frequent shopper's survey? Chump. Did you supply your telephone number the last time you purchased a pizza over the counter? Chumped again. Do you give out your cell phone and email address everytime a vendor requests it? Chumped, chumped, and chumped, over and over again. Do you use that credit card for ALL your purchases? You are so chumped!

            Use dollar bills, in person, and refuse to supply information of any kind to the vendor. THEY DON'T NEED ANY INFORMATION TO MAKE A SALE!!

            But, if you insist on getting that penny discount on your next bag of Cheeto's, go ahead and play their game.

            • Meanwhile, in the real world, grown-ups occasionally need to buy things that aren't sold at the corner deli.

              • And, that is such an adult comment. I got my first paying job in 1971. Graduated high school in 1974. Joined the Navy in 1975. Discharged from the Navy in 1983. Need I go on?

                I have walked out of stores where the staff was overly prying. "Why do you need my phone number?" "It's required, we're supposed to ask everyone!" "Good bye then!"

                If you CHOOSE to be corporate America's chump, that's fine. But don't make excuses to me for it.

                • Then you should be old enough to know that, valid or not, your "loyalty card" rant was almost completely out of context for the discussion at hand.

                  • AC makes a more intelligent comment than you do. He encourages me to poison the data base. I like that.

                    You still make excuses for cooperating with the invasion of your own privacy. My "rant" was entirely in context. Don't cooperate with the assholes. They need no information for your day-to-day business. As for your supposedly more important stuff - don't buy on credit, and you don't HAVE to supply any information. I have a debit card in my pocket, and I have cash money. I use the card sparingly. W

                    • by celle (906675)

                      "Utilities are paid with old fashioned checks, drawn on an old fashioned checking account. Larger purchases are often paid for in CASH, with no paper trail left behind."

                      Like your name, number, license number, etc. isn't already on the check and most places won't process it without knowing it. As for large cash transactions, businesses are required to report large cash or credit transactions. The door about the freedom of cash you talk about was closed long ago. All cash is serialized so track

                    • "As for dealing with local banks, that only works as long as the locals have a good opinion of you."

                      And, you find that to be unbelievable, or something? Yes, the locals have a pretty good opinion of me. Strange, isn't it? They KNOW that I'm good for whatever, they don't have to check a computer database.

            • 1. There are cheap, cash-only grocery stores near me - but they're only open while I'm at work. So I have to shop at one of the places that offers "free" membership cards with a 30% discount. I'm lucky enough that I could refuse the membership card without completely breaking the household budget, and I could just live with the $50 or more extra I would spend per month on groceries without it. But most families can't afford the difference.

              2. Paying cash for all of my fixed expenses, like the cell ph
              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                I have a safeway card so old it doesn't have a name. They look at my receipt and go "Thank you, Misterrrrrr...." and I say "You can call me THE BLANK" and take my receipt and go home.

                But Google knows all about me :)

                • My grocery store actually had some bug in their software in which about 100 customers all had the same name. The cashier would routinely refer to me by some name I had never heard during the checkout process. That suited me fine, but eventually they noticed the error and issued new cards for all of us.
            • Yep, why ask for info: if that store has a CCTV (to see you and your parked car on their lot), stores their money in a safe or bank (can count serial #'s on bills). And keeps receipts (id-ing what you bought)...

              The world of opt-in/opt-out is coming to close folks and becoming a more tactical situation. Even if you opt-out, I'll eventually have the ability to single you out and then make up a profile of you using public info...the systems are that good nowadays.

              Just live in group housing, and share mail (unr

      • This fascistic "only following orders" mindset really needs to be nipped in the bud. America understood that it was unjustifiable in the 1940s, but it's their first refuge now.

        If for profit(*) you maintain a product knowingly used for evil, you are just as responsible as the person directing you.

        (*) A person who has little choice will have diminished or zero responsibility. So, a destitute person who gets a job as a cleaner for Google when there is nothing else on offer, or someone given forced labour in a

        • by dougmc (70836)

          This fascistic "only following orders" mindset really needs to be nipped in the bud. America understood that it was unjustifiable in the 1940s, but it's their first refuge now.

          America learned that it was unjustifiable only in the very, very most extreme cases in the 1940s.

          If your commander orders you to put a bunch of people into a room and fill it with cyanide gas and you do it ... you might be held accountable for that years later, maybe. (i.e. only if your side loses the war, and you're one the folk they can track down and extradite.)

          But if your orders don't involve killing innocent, unarmed, non-threatening people in cold blood -- America expects you to do what you're told.

          • I had thought that the most powerful outcome of the Nuremberg trials was its impact on the public view of necessary ingredients for freedom. IOW, you can never have freedom unless each person acts as a rational individual, questioning everything.

            Even if the law hadn't changed, the Western value system had been refined - the civil rights movement of the '60s, for example, was the product of post-war enlightenment. Even the hippy movement was an albeit sometimes directionless expression of, "Question everythi

      • Re:Strange (Score:4, Insightful)

        by WoLpH (699064) on Monday November 11, 2013 @08:07AM (#45390079)

        Even besides that. It doesn't matter if you're ok or not. Even if you don't share your information, if one of your friends has your information on a phone and shares this with facebook it will still be shared...

        Regardless of whether you've ever consented to share it with facebook or anything else.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        I really want to help all of the people on slashdot to get it once and for all.
        Private is what happens in your own home. And once you let in many other people say for a party... Well that is pretty public as well.
        What happens on the internet, at a bar, at a party, or anywhere else is in public.
        That cell phone conversation you had while waiting in line at the store? Public.
        That party where you got drunk and naked? Public.
        Email? As private as a postcard.
        What do you people don't get about this. If you want som

      • Google does not have the ability to put us on the no-fly list. "Ok" or not, the threat level just isn't the same.

        But they could affect your credit score which, given the ever expanding uses (like employment, housing, even dating) can have an even larger effect on the average person's life than being on the no-fly list.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I hope a bitch (which is what she'd be) will check my credit score before dating, and save me some fucking trouble.

          The issue of credit checks by employers is an ugly one, though.

          The issue of housing is also an ugly one; it's illegal to be homeless, but you can still be denied housing. Compare to car insurance, where SOMEONE has to insure you (used to be GEICO, dunno who it is now.)

      • by SirGarlon (845873)

        Google does not have the ability to put us on the no-fly list.

        No, but it does have the ability to control what you see on the Internet. In fact, it is doing so already, and claiming it is for your own good! Which is more important to you -- to get on an airplane or to get online?

      • You don't think a giant multinational corporation could make your life miserable if it really wanted to? You must live inside of a Disney movie.

    • Re:Strange (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AHuxley (892839) on Monday November 11, 2013 @07:31AM (#45389981) Homepage Journal
      Most wanted to believe the articulate sock puppets:
      Legally you had the US Constitution to keep the US gov away.
      Legally you had teams of in house (corporate) lawyers defending the 'brand' from hints of warrantless gov collaboration.
      Your political leaders that would 'out' any goverment domestic spying just for party political points.
      The US stock market would never allow the US gov to risk its international sales and would side against warrantless gov and keep sales up.
      You had the public, gov hardware and software 'interface' that would be uncovered very quickly with great press coverage by so many skilled staff.
      You had staff, academies and skilled members of the press who would find some trace.... and then win media prizes with the story of the decade...
      Skilled academics, code reviews, gov standards, software brands and teams of individuals had all looked over net encryption and found it usable for consumers.
      After Snowden it was all found to be a hoax.
      Political leaders did nothing, lawyers said nothing, academics educated the junk code to generations of fee paying students, the tame press never followed any stories, corporations took gov cash and helped, telcos ensured the optical was in place. Mercenaries and contractors enjoyed the overtime.
      The brands are now a joke.
    • Re:Strange (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday November 11, 2013 @08:27AM (#45390161) Homepage Journal

      "How all of us were "ok" with the companies collecting this information."

      Speak for yourself, Kemosabe. There were a lot of us who have been bitching about the invasion of privacy all along. Were we listened to? Of course not - we were shouted down. "There is no privacy on the internet, everything you put out there is available for public consumption. Grow up dummy, if you've done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide!"

      Always, the conversation was derailed with just such words.

      Fact is, conversations on the internet are about as private as discussing your private life on the town square. Of course it's not "private", but you don't expect snoops to be actively engaged in eavesdropping activities. On the town square, you can look around to see if the town gossip is lurking behind the nearby bench. Or, whether the Chief of Police is loitering within earshot.

      The internet? Only some of the more savvy users are aware just HOW LITTLE privacy they have. We are forced to avoid monitoring and eavesdropping. And, it's impossible to tell just how effective our efforts are. And, we know all the while that if NSA or any other agency takes an active interest in us, they can just tap into everything at the ISP level.

      Those of YOU who were "ok" with data mining - it's about time you woke up, and understood that we have valid concerns. Now - what ya gonna do about it? Can we get NSA and a few dozen of the programs that they support defunded? Can we get some of the various police tools shitcanned? What are we gonna DO? Resort to the darknets? That really isn't a solution. All that the NSA has to do, is to install a few thousands of their own onion routers and I2P routers, and whatever else comes along. Perfect MIM attack vectors, since they straddle the backbones anyway.

      What ya gonna do? Just sit around and bitch, with those of us who have been bitching for years? Do you have a plan?

      You might join us, in writing your congress critters. Repeatedly. Often. Write to your own, and everyone else's as well. Sign all the online petitions that you can find. Start your own petitions. And, bug hell out of your congress critters. They HATE to get hate mail. They much prefer not to hear from you at all, and they love fan mail, so send the HATE MAIL.

      • Pandora's Box has been opened, no matter what Congress does we have no reason to believe the NSA's surveillance or corporate spying on citizens will ever get better.

        I think the real solution to this is ignore the political side completely, and work on technological solutions. Make the next version of SMTP work like the Tor network. Make something like Diaspora or Status.net (open source social networks) so easy to setup and run that it's a few taps on an iPhone, Android phone, Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      you were ok with it since they only had to pay off two dudes of two parties for it.

      as to competitive edge? actually there is no actual proof of it giving a competitive edge whatsoever. if it did, american companies wouldn't have been so fucked so many times. it does give an added cost of business though, as you need to spend time pestering the people for their postal codes etc shit and as you spend time sending mail to addresses they haven't been living at for years.

    • How all of us were "ok" with the companies collecting this information. When an intelligence agency combines this info, we suddenly scream for privacy. I'm scared enough that google accesses my Gmail content, and Apple my iMessages and contacts.

      i was fine with google taking my info because i know they a singular goal: use the information to provide more targeted ads. they don't care what you are interested in, just get an ad to you. Microsoft and Apple have a bad track record of psychopathic behavior [wikipedia.org] and denying any responsibility for their actions. the NSA has psychopathic behavior and a god complex which is extremely dangerous.

      you may think this is extreme but it's no exaggeration when i say the NSA has no problems with killing anyone that po

      • i was fine with google taking my info because i know they a singular goal: use the information to provide more targeted ads. they don't care what you are interested in, just get an ad to you. Microsoft and Apple have a bad track record of psychopathic behavior [wikipedia.org] and denying any responsibility for their actions.

        Please give us some examples of what you call "psychopathic behaviour".

        • i was fine with google taking my info because i know they a singular goal: use the information to provide more targeted ads. they don't care what you are interested in, just get an ad to you. Microsoft and Apple have a bad track record of psychopathic behavior [wikipedia.org] and denying any responsibility for their actions.

          Please give us some examples of what you call "psychopathic behaviour".

          well off the top of my head, microsoft has a string of bold face lies, anticompetitive behavior (strong arming OEMs and demanding "protection" money for Android come to mind) and then there is greatest lie of them all, Bing. even when it was unquestionably clear that they were copying results from google, they claimed they didn't and referred to their method of copying as "another vector" of data collection. as for Apple, they invented a deportation raid to get back their iphone 5 prototype. there is als

    • by dorre (1731288)
      Dude, my mod points had expired when I finally found an insightful topic completely wrongmodded (+2 off-topic at the moment). Nice touch with the italics .
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by cold fjord (826450)

      When the next iPhone will be curved?

      I'd prefer it if the next iPhone were be cured, but that is too much to hope for.

    • You see those devices from Hammerfell? They've got curved phones. Curved. Phones.
  • Vote with your feet (Score:5, Informative)

    by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Monday November 11, 2013 @06:31AM (#45389821)
    Take your business elsewhere whenever possible. Only thing that will make companies sit up and pay attention is when their bottom line starts to be affected. Computer professionals advise non-techy business types on how best to protect sensitive company information against the massive industrial espionage spy network [startpage.com]. People may not care about their facebook page and personal email is being compromised, but they sure as hell care when their companies sensitive business information is put at risk...
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Yes new firms in distant lands will offer amazing new deals on servers, local support and boasting of no links in the UK or USA.
      Hardware will be rebuild and air gapped. Many will still use and enjoy the 'free' US brands but trust is gone.
    • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Monday November 11, 2013 @08:07AM (#45390081)

      tl;dr return to the '80s and '90s where businesses had servers in their server room.

      Never left it. Feels good, bro. My only "conspiracy theory" (in that I extrapolated from the available evidence quite a bit) has turned out to be mostly accurate.

    • The free market only works if it is free. When the government decides to change the ground rules, there is no choice. There is no vote with your feet. Nobody will be allowed to provide phone/internet/email that doesn't include spying, and using crypto won't change that one bit. They will just ban crypto and vpn.
    • yeah, last time I checked the NSA's reach was worldwide. And US courts have upheld the 3rd party doctrine where any information a 3rd party has about you (phone records for instance), is not subject to the same Constitutional protection as your personal effects are.

  • Well, it costs money to run all the servers and machines that deliver cat videos and the latest pictures posted by your secret crush. Who's going to pay the bills for those servers ? Someone somewhere has to pay. Either you pay upfront with cold hard cash, in which case you can make indignant noses about unlawful uses of your data. If you don't want to pay cash, and instead have a "free" service, your data is what the developers will try to monetize. And there ain't a goddamn thing you can do about it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I have many times the server power that is necessary for serving all the data I want to be available online. My internet connection is sufficiently fast for hosting most of it -- all of it if I can use distributed hosting. The cost of hosting is negligible. If there were no Youtube or GMail, the cost of doing it yourself would not crush anybody. Those services feed on laziness, not necessity.

    • by geogob (569250)

      There is no free lunch

      It depends. From the point of view of the company CEO accepting to help the NSA or other agencies, there might be a lot of free lunches. That all that counts, right?

    • by phayes (202222)

      Riiighht. The Internet will be balkanised because the US is only govt doing this & there is no cooperation between the intelligence agencies. Hey, it's not like the Communications that the French govt was complaining about was collected by the DGSE & then passed onto the NSA as the price for the USA deploying drone assets to Mali, or that the Germans perform "legal" surveillance of their population secretly or that the Brazilians spy on diplomats or ...

      Government heads are protesting much too loudly

    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      Either you pay upfront with cold hard cash, in which case you can make indignant noses about unlawful uses of your data. If you don't want to pay cash, and instead have a "free" service, your data is what the developers will try to monetize.

      I would love it if I could pay for an effective search engine that didn't track my search habits in order to alter the results.

      I would love it if I could pay for a social network to keep in touch with my friends and business contacts and it didn't spy on me and spam me

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I would love it if I could pay for a social network to keep in touch with my friends and business contacts and it didn't spy on me and spam me and sell my information to all and sundry.

        It's called your own website. Put up a site based on any CMS, say Drupal, and then have all your friends create accounts there. But if you're paying someone else to run a site, then by definition you're paying someone else to compile data on you. Then the government gives them a choice between turning over the data or going to PMITA prison.

    • Google and Facebook make their money through advertising. I expect them to track users for that reason. That doesn't concern me - when I don't want them to know what I'm doing, I use a different browser in which I never login to either service and I have third party cookies disabled.

      But what about your cell phone company, your internet service provider, your bank, your physical retailer with an account system (warehouse retailers with memberships like Costco, grocery stores with outrageous prices if you
      • Where I live, I have a simple choice between a 768Kb DSL or COMCAST. What kind of choice is that. And I guess that means that my internet traffic is broadcast around my neighborhood before it hits the POP on the fat coax.
        • My choice is Comcast, unless I want to pay for satellite internet or use a 3G (4G is not available from any cell phone carrier in my area) cell phone plan. I'm sure Comcast has a list of every website I've visited since I moved into the house and sells it to advertisers.

          I've kicked around the idea of getting a VPN service like ProXPN or something. Then they can track my every move and sell it to advertisers, but I'd rather see some tiny company (ideally, one based in another country) have this informat
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Surely the competitive edge is the hidden market for private data the NSA created!

    So business models can undercut rivals by selling your private data to the NSA in secret, and it's really a government subsidy controlled by the military, but is never revealed because it's hidden behind terrorist scaremongering.

  • Has far more data that is likely to hurt you than the NSA does, and they have no problem selling to anyone with enough money. Potential employers having access to my salary history without my consent scares me and will hurt me far more than the government knowing I called my aunt yesterday. Likewise with my insurance company knowing that I visited Dunkin Donuts yesterday. Put away your tinfoil hats and see the real threat.

    • Corporate America in general can't directly intercept and store your emails, chat logs and VOIP sessions. They have little data fiefdoms dominating partial areas on your online life related to their respective businesses, wheras the NSA has built massive data warehouses to record and store all your bases...
    • How amusing. That really is a good one. Not sure how you got so many people in on the joke.

      You are all implying that the NSA (i.e. the government) and corporate america are separate entities....

      My my, what a chuckle.

      You were joking......right?

    • Put away your tinfoil hats and see the real threat.

      What tinfoil hats? Are you suggesting that it is crazy to be afraid that the government might abuse the massive amount of power we've given it, even though every government has abused its power without fail? The people who work for the government are humans, not perfect angels; thus, it makes no sense to me to not be wary of them.

      Of course, I don't think corporations having all this data is a good thing either, but there are no tinfoil hats present here.

    • You really need to read up on CISPA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber_Intelligence_Sharing_and_Protection_Act [wikipedia.org]

      If passed, then all corporate data becomes government data, and government can and will choose to share that data with yet other corporations. In short, you will no longer be able to distinguish between corporate and government surveillance - it will all be intertwined.

  • Backward (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday November 11, 2013 @06:38AM (#45389851)

    Lax rules created fertile ground for NSA snooping.

    No, rules don't make any difference to criminals, NSA or otherwise.

    It is the high value of centralizing all that data info which makes for fertile ground.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Yes centralising and the setting of global "US" standards. You wanted to book a room, sell, buy, trade, fly, call, fax, email - a US entity was in someway setting global interconnects and multinational support. Your safe encryption was their joke.
      Everything could be sold on for marketing, value adding, research, fine print.... all safe back to the 'allowed' buyers.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      No, rules don't make any difference to criminals, NSA or otherwise.

      Citation? You can't prevent murder by outlawing it, but you may well reduce it.

  • by StripedCow (776465) on Monday November 11, 2013 @07:25AM (#45389963)

    ... as consumer confidence plummets ...

    As if the average facebook user cares about privacy.

  • More stringent security measures. Universal electronic surveillance. No-knock laws. Stop and frisk laws. Government inspection of first-class mail. Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime. A law making it unlawful to resist even unlawful arrest. Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives. Gun control laws. Restrictions on travel. The assassinations, you see, establish the need for such laws in the public m

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday November 11, 2013 @08:07AM (#45390083)

    Everyone wanted free Internet, free search engines, free Webmail, free coupons, free 5% off clubs, free 1-click shopping.... what did people think was going on there?

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Loss leader and branding was the story told. That until the CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, bandwidth was 'usable' at the consumer end. It was better to build the brand at the server end - to be ready in 1-5-10 years and their newer interactive PC's.
    • I've posted it elsewhere, but I'll repeat it - I don't care about Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Microsoft (through Bing and Hotmail) tracking for the purposes of ad revenue. That's their complete business model. I get what I paid for.

      I'm angry at Bank of America, Mastercard, Visa, Comcast, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, Costco, Sam's Club, Amazon.com, Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, Riteaid Pharmacy, etc... they profit directly through financial transactions with me, but they still collect every scrap of
    • Heck, Facebook easily saw that "opportunity" and wrapped it in a nice exclusivity wrapper to make you feel important.

      And 75% of the population eat it up. In wholesale....

      I guess democratic gov't does reflect the people it governs. No news here folks.

      As I have said before, information doesn't want to be free, it wants to be exploited. 'Free' (as in beer) and 'private' are just aspects of exploitation folks.

  • Oh, come on.
    Plenty of these companies already worked together with China behind the great firewall or other countries that required a tight all encompassing security/censoring framework.
    It's just the quirks of doing business in a country, your home country included.
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday November 11, 2013 @08:40AM (#45390207) Journal

    ...perhaps I could correct this a little:
    "'U.S. citizens have passively accepted weak privacy rules that let companies collect massive amounts of personal data. The strategy enabled the companies to work their way into every corner of consumers' lives ..."

    I keep hearing about the "US govt" this and "companies" that.
    The fact is that the whole 'privacy' thing is comparable to the cigarette issue for the last 50 years....NOBODY believed cigarettes were in any way good for you, and by the late 1960s pretty much everyone recognized that they were quite harmful (regardless of what the cigarette companies insisted).

    In short, the consumers willfully participated and knew (when they bothered to think about it) that companies were collecting massive amounts of data with every transaction, using (without complaint) their social security number as an id#, etc.

    When I've got a friend or three complaining about companies/government gathering private data, they're usually paying for their meal with a credit card.

  • I mean , the browsers allow all the tracking etc .. Once the people doing the browsers are done selling us , maybe we'll have a break.
    Browsers have to be made not to allow the snooping. They are not made that way , they are made to support snooping.They are made to help advertisers take all they want from our machines.

    Time to fork and abandon browsers that do not make the efforts to protect us l

    • The Mozilla Foundation, which makes Firefox, gets most of its funding through hundred million dollar grants from Google. Google gets most of its money from advertising.

      That's why Firefox browser (and of course, the Chrome browser) will never take any serious steps to block user tracking. If Mozilla ever got serious about user privacy, the next grant from Google would never arrive and Firefox development and bug fixes would slow to a trickle.

      If any browser vendor would put real investment into blo
  • by fygment (444210) on Monday November 11, 2013 @09:58AM (#45390579)

    Few people really 'got' what was going on; some people remain unaware; and most really don't care.

    Companies will lie, politicians will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them and carry on.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Monday November 11, 2013 @11:28AM (#45391299) Homepage Journal

    This is also about attacking [schneier.com]; hacking, intrusion, modifying systems, sabotaging hardware [wikipedia.org], etc. Is not a passive "i want to know this", but an active/aggresive "i will plant a backdoor/rootkit to be able to do there whatever i want", including hitting you as a person, as a country, or as a trusted media that reach enough/certain people/companies.

    We already knwo they planted backdoors on Tor users [slashdot.org] and Slashdot and LinkedIn users [slashdot.org], and with Silicon Valley cooperation, probably they will be bundled in a lot more software/hardware/services. Time to stop playing boiling frog.

  • all-your-data-are-belong-to-the-NSA
    FTFY

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