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Privacy The Internet

Privacy In the Age of Persistence 120

Bruce Schneier recently wrote another essay on privacy for the BBC concentrating on how data seems to be the "pollution of the information age" and where this seems to be leading. "We're not going to stop the march of technology, just as we cannot un-invent the automobile or the coal furnace. We spent the industrial age relying on fossil fuels that polluted our air and transformed our climate. Now we are working to address the consequences. (While still using said fossil fuels, of course.) This time around, maybe we can be a little more proactive. Just as we look back at the beginning of the previous century and shake our heads at how people could ignore the pollution they caused, future generations will look back at us — living in the early decades of the information age — and judge our solutions to the proliferation of data."
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Privacy In the Age of Persistence

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  • Re:scary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by berend botje ( 1401731 ) on Friday February 27, 2009 @05:30PM (#27017169)
    Why you are right: nobody cares about things a random user on the internet does.

    Why you are wrong: when "blhack" gets interesting in a social, political or whatever function, then this old, stale information will still be there. And you'd better believe 'they' will drag it out of the noise here.

    Remedy: don't have your online presence be linked back to real life. Change usernames often (I once had an four digit /. account). And it helps to have a common name in real life. Hard to filter for the right John Smith, twinty years after the fact.
  • Re:Well (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @05:31PM (#27017193) Homepage Journal

    "..verge of big brother .."

    Clearly you didn't understand the book.

    A) Elected officials change.

    B) If everyone has the information, then the information can not be redacted

    C) With global information it is harder to lie to your people about who you ahve always been at war with(create tension with)

    D) Our Cameras point both ways.

    E) The technology that would be needed for 'big brother' is available to all, not controll be a government

    F) I don't ahve to sneak away to some abandoned house with my lover and worry about getting arrested for questioning the government.

    I could go on.

    We ahve a conscience.

  • a few things (Score:2, Interesting)

    by visible.frylock ( 965768 ) on Friday February 27, 2009 @05:38PM (#27017293) Homepage Journal

    I can't read tfa at work.

    A few things. Change the law such that:

    a) as little data as possible needs to be given up in the first place
    b) when possible, non-identifying data should be used
    b) data needs to be retained for as short of a time period as possible

    As usual, these are precisely the things that will not be done, and will in fact be fought against by society at all levels. Because we're idiots.

    And as usual, if we actually did those things, then we might have less law and more liberty. Oh the horror.

  • Re:Remember... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rob Kaper ( 5960 ) on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:18PM (#27017759) Homepage

    The problem is that nothing disappears. If you admitted back in 1999, while you were an idiot college student, that you "experimented" with marijuana, do you really want that Slashdot post to reappear in a year 2020 Google search when you're trying to run for the State Legislature or Congress?

    Yes, because hopefully by 2020

    a) the electorate will put more trust in candidates being open about past mistakes than those being most capable in cover-ups or spin doctor tactics

    b) the electorate will realise we all have lived twenty to thirty immature years before reaching true adulthood

    c) the electorate will not be so uptight about marijuana in the first place

  • Re:Remember... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:23PM (#27017817)

    The problem is that nothing disappears. If you admitted back in 1999, while you were an idiot college student, that you "experimented" with marijuana, do you really want that Slashdot post to reappear in a year 2020 Google search when you're trying to run for the State Legislature or Congress?

    Why would this be an issue? It hasn't been an issue for people running for President. Why should it be an issue for people running for Congress. So far it has only been an issue for people trying to get student loans or jobs at Best Buy.

    Anything could be an issue. If your parents post baby pictures of your circumcision, baptism or Bar Mitzvah then this could certainly be an issue, although people may argue that it shouldn't be. Anything could be made into an issue. If you talk about politics or religion on your Facebook account then this could be an issue. I've heard of one executive that was denied a promotion because of the style of belt he liked to wear. The clothes you wore could be an issue. If you were seen eating meat could be an issue.

    Why worry about these things when you have absolutely no control over the people placing judgment on you. Get drunk and be gay. If people don't like you for being you then you shouldn't be associating with those people. If you can't get a job because you are discriminated against then steal food to survive. Sometimes you've got to not only tell people to fuck off, but play the game as well. Like I tell people in China; if you don't like communism then either leave the country or assassinate its leaders.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:28PM (#27017873)
    Even if that is true, when was the last time you heard about the Federal government actually following the Constitution?
  • i smoked marijuana. why should i be ashamed of that? why must i pander to weakminded shrill people i don't even like whose opinions on making marijuana illegal i consider wrong?

    furthermore, why should we pander to over judgmental assholes who would hold against somebody some indiscretion of their from high school?

    i understand what i did in high school should not be held against me, you understand that, anyone of any moral integriy does too. in which case, who are we really trying to pander too? oh: weak minds, overjudgmental minds: people who would find something wrong with you anyway, regardless of your ability to white wash your past in the pre-internet age

    and in fact, it is GOOD it is hard to hide now. if no one can hide that they tried marijuana, if everyone has to come out and admit they tried it, the sheer preponderance of the weight of the hypocrisy of it all begins to collapse this whole rotten veneer that some people actually believe this stuff is bad for you, and some other assholes pay such fools lip service

    let it all come out, let it stay out, and let it prove what is really right and what is really wrong

    in short, the persistence of this information is a good thing. the judgment of something being bad or good is not dependent upon your ability to hide something in shame. my judgment of you will be fair base don your character as it is today, now, not as when you were a high schooler, and so will anyone else with a solid morality, and as for anyone who is not, to hell with them, and they would find something wrong about you in the hysterical minds anyways

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.