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Ask Slashdot: Privacy Paranoia 323

dvbuser writes "The privacy debate is well known these days — organizations that track every click, geolocation, image, you name it. So now I sit here today monitoring my IP blockers, obfuscation algorithms, tor relay and each packet that goes in or out of every device that I operate. I even wear a hat always when I go outdoors, never carry a cell phone, and never look up (well, not all of that is true). But is it really that bad? Am I simply going to wind up completely out of touch with the modern world, where the next generation so boldly (for want of a better word) goes? What's wrong with targeted advertising? And if the feds can track my every movement — who cares? Sure, I don't want to be a victim of identity theft, and I like to download some p0rn every now and then, but I don't want to exclude myself from society, or spend copious hours trying to preserve it, merely from paranoia or at the very least from an overbearing sense of privacy. What does the average Slashdotter do to preserve their privacy (or what's left of it) while still making the most out of what the web has to offer?"
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Ask Slashdot: Privacy Paranoia

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  • by thomasdz ( 178114 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:14AM (#35429034)

    I don't really care about "the feds", I care more about some nutcase or group (Westboro baptist church, 4chan, etc) who might take umbrage at my religion, what I do, who I work for, where I live, what I consume, or mis-take some random sarcastic comment that I might make for a real comment.
    So for the most part, I made up a couple of fake names a LONG time ago (1990s) and use them for most of my stuff on the web (eg: reddit, facebook, gmail). Think "Rory Bellows" = "Krusty the Clown" = "Herschel Krustofski"
    I occasionally use my real name (eg: on Slashdot) on technical forums because I know co-workers and perhaps future employers are going to be Googling for my real name and I want to appear to know what I'm talking about....haha

    The important thing is that your are AWARE of the power of Google/Bing in searching, and just in general, the power of technology in tracking you. buy a new pay-as-you-go cellphone each year. go through a proxy or two when surfing the web... but don't just be paranoid, have FUN and be paranoid... think of yourself as Truman Burbank.

  • by Sprouticus ( 1503545 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:18AM (#35429068)

    Except that almost every power base in the world (government, Religion, Corporations, schools, the militiary, cliques, clubs, etc operates on the basis of limiting your options and hiding information and judging other people.

    Transparency is a laudable goal, but until we as a race can exceed our current ability, all transparency will do is ultimately liimit society**. People will revert to the pre-industrial village era where everyone knew everyones business and the local moral police came down hard on people who went out of the norm.

    Except this will not be a local envelope, it will be national at least and in some cases global. We will have the LEAST tolerant and MOSt vocal among us trying to limit everything we do.

    ** I am speaking of transparency at an individual level, not at a corporate or governmental level.
    there is also the profit issue and the creepy issue which are completely different but no less compelling arguments.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:23AM (#35429138)

    Live openly, with integrity. Be interesting. Post under your real name. The rest will take care of itself.

    If you're a dick in real life, people won't need to look on the internet for confirmation, they'll know already.

    Not necessarily.

    For an alternative viewpoint, look at the popularity of homeowners associations. Personally, I hate them because if my neighbor is a lunatic whom won't minimally maintain his property, maybe because he drinks all day (true story!), I really don't care about how his property looks, I want to know if he's a lunatic (so as to avoid him, tell the kids to look out for him, avoid being on the roads at the same time as him, etc). Its a signal. Covering it up with a HOA works in direct opposition to my interests.

    Remember the outcry about GTA and weirdos whom "played the game" by knifing women in the back all day, despite that having nothing to do with progressing in the game and actually works against you? I really want to know whom is a lunatic, so as to avoid them, and keep my women away from him. However, all the Oprah viewers were horrified to find out they have relatives or neighbors or coworkers who were nuts, so their solution is to try to ban the game, so they won't know, therefore, at least from a moron's point of view, its all good.

    Using similar logic, the vast steaming masses don't want to know what can hurt them, w/ regards to others on facebook or whatever, so they would rather cover it all up so we can't see it. I want to know if people around me are nuts, its just that 99% of the population disagrees with me in that regard.

    The vast majority really don't want to know if their kids school bus driver is a smoking member of norml via facebook or tee shirts or whatever. They know they are supposed to say they want to know, but they really don't want to know. And that internal tension in themselves is why they get all uncomfortable about this topic.

  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:37AM (#35429288) Journal

    If you live in a glass house you don't walk around naked unless you want the neighbors to see your naked body.

    In other words, if you're somehow forced to move to a glass house, you pretty much lose the option of going around naked. People are rightly scared about that. There is the other side of the coin of total transparency: it may well be that society does not stop caring about some of the stuff hitherto done privately or anonymously; but continue to judge it harshly or even prosecute it.

    For example: the online political debates are much more open, frank and no-holds-barred than before; not just because of the instant nature of online debates, but also because people can partake anonymously in most cases. If we're forced to post under our own names, then even the things that we are not afraid to admit to or mention in the company of friends or colleagues can affect our jobs or our lives once it is committed online for the world to see. There are already countless examples of people losing their jobs or getting in trouble over more or less innocent online posts. This means that the online debate will likely become much more reserved, sedate, and "safe". Personally I think that's a big loss.

  • by koan ( 80826 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @11:20AM (#35430058)

    Something more important is how this will play out down the road, will that porno you downloaded suddenly be used against you retroactively in the newly founded America run by ultra right wing religious fanatics?

    Will copy right infringement someday have a death penalty? (you know at least one Hollywood mogul is pushing for that)

    Sure, these are very extreme examples, so come up with your own tamer versions, because I am a cynic, I feel the world will be under constant surveillance once machine AI can access and use the CCTV camera systems, back-scatter scanning while walking down the street, every communication monitored for "key words" decrypted on the fly and stored permanently.
    Hell they may even monitor facial expressions for "malcontents", once all that is in place just imagine what a corrupt government (which they all are) would get up to.

    You're kidding your self if you don't think we are headed for a world of hurt, and all thanks to technology as used by fascist and religious nuts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @12:42PM (#35431504)

    So you're happy to abandon all your privacy because you live in a police state?

    Yeah, there's nothing fucked up about that at all.

  • by Deekin_Scalesinger ( 755062 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @01:17PM (#35432042)
    "Posting anonymous for obvious reasons" is fairly close to the truth.

    *** What does the average Slashdotter do to preserve their privacy (or what's left of it) while still making the most out of what the web has to offer? *** asked the submitter.

    1. Easy - sit at home and do your normal internetting.

    2. If you are going to do something sketchy online, go to your local coffeehouse four towns away and do it there. Alternatively, go for a wardrive.

    3. If you are going to do anything massively sketchy, think long and hard about doing it in the first place. If you are still justified in doing said deed, buy a USB wireless card and use a CD based Knoppix. Proceed to step 2 as described above.

    4. If you are going to do something insanely illegal, don't do it. Kiddie pr0n, DDOSes, etc fall into this category. Chances are great that you'll be looking at felonies when (not if - just a matter of time) you get pinched.

    5. ???

    6. Profit!

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.