Online Privacy <ul><li>How things have changed, </li></ul><ul><li>What’s the current state? </li></ul><ul><li>What will the future hold? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is doing what, </li></ul><ul><li>and how does all this impact the web user? </li></ul><ul><li>06/02/2009 - Thomas Schonenberger </li></ul>
Internet privacy From Wikipedia ' Internet privacy consists of privacy over the media of the Internet: the ability to control what information one reveals about oneself over the Internet, and to control who can access that information. Experts in the field of Internet privacy have a consensus that Internet privacy does not really exist. Privacy advocates believe that it should exist.
What Privacy? Privacy is a value which may only be appreciated once it is lost. Take for example your financial information, your medical records, or your buying patterns. How will they use that information? That is privacy. "It's not about the man who wants to watch pornography in complete anonymity over the Internet. It's about the woman who's afraid to use the Internet to organize her community against a proposed toxic dump -- afraid because the dump's investors are sure to dig through her past if she becomes too much of a nuisance," Simson Garfinkel, Database Nation
It seems that there are two general reasons why privacy is important. The first is that privacy helps individuals maintain their autonomy and individuality. People define themselves by controlling/revealing information about themselves without the need for people to answer for the choices they make about what information is shared and what is held close. A second reason that privacy is important is because of its functional benefits. The privacy of people's identities: for someone speaking freely at a political rally and not having to answer to political opponents or someone visiting a bar and not having to deal with unwanted suitors. Anonymity lends to privacy for safety and peace of mind. It is our right to divulge information, to who we want. Privacy deals with how people who have this information on us will use it.
Where are the boundries? Anonymity can be socially useful in encouraging honesty, risk-taking, experimentation and creativity. Confidentiality improves communication flows and is vital to trust in professional (doctors, lawyers, psychologists) and corporate settings. Why would we give up protecting and demanding our privacy? For convenience and savings? Better services?
Online vs Offline Apparently in Britain they have face-recognition systems to scan pedestrians in search of wanted criminals. There is nothing you can do to stop this. No law will prevent it. Do you feel safer for it? Claims are “yes”. Do you feel unsafe without it? Banning the cameras will only drive this technology underground and then we have even less of an idea of what is really happening.
Online Supposedly computer users long ago gave up the notion of having any privacy in email. Anything entered onto a computer is more or less considered fair game, especially to your employer . We assume that police with a warrant can access any kind of computer logs and your ISP may care to keep.
Technology Makes it possible to gather personal information about each of us in a way that was never possible before. Given rise to unprecedented innovation. Web 2.0 - As the online experience becomes more interactive, we share more information. But in addition to worries about corporate spying, we should also take a close look at what governments can now access and use.
How safe are we? Echelon – Nobody knows! Phorm – public missunderstanding of privacy? Spyware – the owner of the information has the right to do whatever with it? A Web bug is an object that is embedded in a web page or e-mail and is usually invisible to the user but allows checking that a user has viewed the page or e-mail. One common use is in e-mail tracking. Alternative names are Web beacon, tracking bug, tracking pixel, pixel tag, 1×1 gif, and clear gif. Anonymous proxy - why would you want to use it if not for dubious reasons - it is not as secure as you think!
Google desktop “ At first I didn't care if Google Desktop was on computers--regardless whether I wanted to use it or not. After I read about version 3, I have been recommending its removal from computers.” Search across computers feature (off by default) Once it indexes your computer, it copies your files; such as word documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, text files, and others; to Google's servers for up to 30 days. Please take a second and let that sink in... It copies your files to their servers! Those files could be anything from a shopping list, to your taxes, to your credit card information, to what ever you have stored on your computer.
Action Groups – the good guys? The Future of Privacy Forum www.deepblueinteractive.com/blog/the- future-of-privacy - forum .html Speculation about The Future of Privacy Forum among other companies include that it is a business group attempting to block new government intervention in the advertising business (think Google & Yahoo’s ad fate), still others see it as a slice of a growing attempt to prevent Google from gaining any further influence than it already has. Microsoft in particular has been lobbying in Washington about privacy, a topic it views as Google’s jugular.
Thought for the day Survey the surveillance “ A weak government is not a guarantee of freedom. It is a guarantee of chaos that will be followed by tyranny. What we need is a strong government that is totally subject to scrutiny so that every mistake that they make will be pounced upon.” David Brin - Author of "The Transparent Society“ The cameras are getting smaller, the databases are getting more pervasive; the technologies for spying are getting more profound. These things are coming, whether we embrace them or not. If we drive them underground, we'll have no say in how they're used.