Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 19:12 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Late last year, president Obama signed a law that makes it possible to indefinitely detain terrorist suspects without any form of trial or due process. Peaceful protesters in Occupy movements all over the world have been labelled as terrorists by the authorities. Initiatives like SOPA promote diligent monitoring of communication channels. Thirty years ago, when Richard Stallman launched the GNU project, and during the three decades that followed, his sometimes extreme views and peculiar antics were ridiculed and disregarded as paranoia - but here we are, 2012, and his once paranoid what-ifs have become reality.
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Agreed, that is why you should be careful and set and communicate policies to protect the information you have. I do that both in personal and profession realms. This doesn't have to be hard it can be just a few simple rules such as: never publish home address on social networking sites, have a personal and professional email, etc.

Even the part about not storing personal info on social networking sites is an impossibility. For example, the mobile version of Facebook has an option where you can sync contacts on the phone. So when somebody with my phone number and email/snail mail address in their contacts installs Facebook on their phone and uses this feature, guess what? Facebook now has personal information that I never gave them. You could just not give your address and phone number to any of your friends, or demand that they never sync contacts with ANYTHING, but really... how practical is that?

Of course, you can try and pass laws to dictate that Facebook and other companies cannot store this information, but not only is this impractical from a technological standpoint (eg - impossible to enforce), it also impedes with the usability of the app. Meaning, people sync contact info because they WANT it in Facebook.

I'm not saying it is a perfect situation but categorizing and protecting data is something we all should be cognizant of.

My version of 'protecting' information is this - if I don't want it to be public knowledge, I don't share with ANYONE without encryption. Even if it's encrypted, if it's stored on somebody's server and I have to enter a master password to access it, I then assume they have access to read it. In regard to a credit card number, well... the best I can hope for is that companies will make a half-hearted attempt to keep that safe. Other than that, I assume whatever I type or store online could be in tomorrow morning's headlines. It's simple, really... privacy no longer exists.

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