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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trev
Member since:
2006-11-22

Except, let's say you and I are friends and I have your name and address stored on my Android phone. Since I am someone who chooses to sync with Google's servers, that means Google now has the information that you tried to prevent them from having. And this goes for anyone else who has your contact info and syncs with Google's servers. Furthermore, since I use Google Voice, any text messages that are sent between you and I also passes through Google's servers, and is probably archived by them. And since you're using Android as well, it's probably quite trivial for them to link this info up with your phone.


I agree that if you use google to store my contact info you are exposing all of that to google. I also agree that anything sent in the clear over the cell net or internet is also that way (whether using google voice or not) BUT I choose what information to share out with what people. So for example my company might have an internal calendar, email and contact system. This means our entire client list and meeting schedules can not be easily harvested (assuming people abide by the policy).

Hence, the reason why I say that privacy is no longer a choice. Even if you try to keep your info private, somebody like me is always going to screw it up ;)


Agreed but for someone that works in the computer security field -I- will have policies in place that are AT LEAST as strict as any clients. This is necessary to ensure I am not the one that leaks the information weakening their security by doing so. If the client has decent policies and systems in place then they won't leak it either. If I went about like many others and pushed everything up to google or some other service then -I- expose my clients information and that simply is not acceptable.

You may be in favor of sharing only certain things, but the technology that allows for it does not give you the freedom to decide what is sharable and what isn't, unless you never share it with ANYONE.


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. I'm not saying it is a perfect situation but categorizing and protecting data is something we all should be cognizant of. After all we don't want to be sending passwords in unencrypted emails, now do we? ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

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.

Reply Parent Score: 2

trev Member since:
2006-11-22

"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?
"

I probably wasn't clear enough with my comment there. The rules were a few quick examples of how to allow access to the appropriate groups. I was not keeping the mailing address from facebook but from users of facebook to stop people from knowing where I live AND that I'm going on vacation for 2 weeks. Having a professional and personal email on the other hand is about not providing all your business contacts to any entity in a nice easy list format (as you do when you host it on google). It's not perfect since most people if determined enough can link much of the information that is out there. Then again locks can be picked but you still install one on your door, don't you?

It's simple, really... privacy no longer exists.


I think you are confusing the lack of perfect security with the complete lack of privacy. No, you will not be able to completely 100% protect any piece of information but that doesn't mean you don't take reasonable measures to secure information at appropriate levels. As I stated above sharing a list of all your friends with google might be acceptable but sharing a complete list of customers might not be. It's not that google might not get their email and phone number anyway but they won't get it as a complete list of YOUR customers. Privacy is much harder today but that doesn't mean you just throw up your hands and offer up all the information you have freely.

Reply Parent Score: 2