Privacy on the Interwebs

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cmpwn
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Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby cmpwn » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:22 pm UTC

There is a lot of crap that a bunch of people are getting for invading other's privacy in the technological world. Cell phone security was recently cracked, the NSA spies on us, the CIA does the same, the FBI tracks what we do, Google gathers our information, and Microsoft watches us for piracy. Everyone it seems is watching and privacy complaints are everywhere. Now, here's my stance: who gives a crap? Honestly, when I'm doing anything I don't want to be seen, then I can encrypt it. Otherwise, why should I care if someone is watching my web access, or listening to my conversations? What difference does it make if the FBI knows that I posted on this forum?
Does anyone else agree with my mindset? Anyone else think that it really is of no consequence when someone eavesdrops on you, or collects information about your computer?
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:08 pm UTC

cmpwn wrote:Now, here's my stance: who gives a crap? Honestly, when I'm doing anything I don't want to be seen, then I can encrypt it.

You might be able to. Can other people? Is privacy a right you only deserve if you're tech-savvy?
Otherwise, why should I care if someone is watching my web access, or listening to my conversations? What difference does it make if the FBI knows that I posted on this forum?

Well, I don't know what's in your web access, but information, the cliche goes, is power. If I want to charge you with a crime, and I've got a list of everything you've ever done, it's quite a bit easier. In addition, just because the government may be doing benevolent things with it now, doesn't mean that it will stay that way.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby cmpwn » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:25 pm UTC

A) To be honest, you shouldn't be doing illegal things in the first place (not that I can honestly claim to live by that)
B) Average people on the internet who can't encrypt their traffic really don't do a lot of things the government would care about. It's us that matter to the government.
C) The worst those average people might do is look up porn and if I was sniffing their traffic, I wouldn't care and neither would anyone else.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:33 pm UTC

cmpwn wrote:A) To be honest, you shouldn't be doing illegal things in the first place (not that I can honestly claim to live by that)
B) Average people on the internet who can't encrypt their traffic really don't do a lot of things the government would care about. It's us that matter to the government.
C) The worst those average people might do is look up porn and if I was sniffing their traffic, I wouldn't care and neither would anyone else.

What is and is not illegal, and what matters/who cares, is changeable and varies from time to time.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby cmpwn » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:43 pm UTC

As it is now, I don't really mind the current definition of "legal" online. If that changes, my standpoint may change with it. Do you have an opinion without the strings, viewing the world as it is today and now? Because speculation is nice, but it is also hypothetical.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby icanus » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:28 pm UTC

My concern with this sort of thing comes less from whether governments/corporations will abuse the information (they will, but for the ost part only to try and sell you stuff), but more from what happens when they inevitably leak it to the public, or when random employees decide to go snooping on their own behalf using the tools put in place by those organisations.

At that point perfectly innocuous stuff like the three different hotel websites where you checked availability for august 3rd-10th can become dangerous if it happens to fall into the hands of your friendly neighbourhood burglar, or if your attempts to find an abortion clinic fall into the hands of the local religious nutjob with a gun collection, or your forum posts detailing your intention to take the kids and get the hell to a shelter fall into the hands of your abusive spouse, or just your post in the rant thread bitching about your line-manager getting passed on to her.

It's not something I lose sleep over, but there are certainly some things worth being careful about - and the tough thing is that it's hard to tell what information might become a problem until after it's been abused.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby Zohar » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:03 pm UTC

Another thing that needs to be kept in mind is most of us live in pretty free society with plenty of rights and not that many restrictions. However, if you look at China's restrictions on the population and the way it uses various databases that collect said information to prosecute (or worse) their citizens, and it's a different matter entirely.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby cmpwn » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:06 pm UTC

Ha for those people I put up [url]sircmpwn.somee.com[/url] unfortunately, it sucks up a lot of bandwidth and hits the limit all the time :cry:
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby Fuzzy_Wuzzy.bmp » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:37 am UTC

Your arguement is "I don't live in China and I agree with every law currently in effect in the USA, also who cares if the government and big corporations know everything about my online life, I can concieve of no scenario or historical example where this could possibly harm me."
Just thought I'd let you know.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby Hawknc » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:18 am UTC

cmpwn wrote:As it is now, I don't really mind the current definition of "legal" online. If that changes, my standpoint may change with it. Do you have an opinion without the strings, viewing the world as it is today and now? Because speculation is nice, but it is also hypothetical.

Here's how the world is today and now for me: there will very soon be a whole bunch of sites that it will be illegal for me to try to access (and won't be able to access without the use of a proxy), where previously it was not so. It's also illegal for me to know what those sites are. That said, I've seen a previous iteration of the list and there's a mix of pretty universally objectionable content (which is already illegal under existing laws) as well as material that is, in most free nations, perfectly legal to view. But here it won't be, because some old farts in a room decided to rate it "refused classification". So you'll have to excuse me if I do take objection to the current definition of "legal" online.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby BoomFrog » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:17 am UTC

cmpwn wrote:Ha for those people I put up [url]sircmpwn.somee.com[/url] unfortunately, it sucks up a lot of bandwidth and hits the limit all the time :cry:


What do you mean, I'm guessing most people here don't know what that site is, and your description makes me hesitant to check.

At any rate, there have already been examples given of how your private information could be used to hurt you by a malicious individual. Which is safer? Keeping that information secret from everybody, or letting the government and corporations know it and trusting them to keep it secret?
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby cmpwn » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:47 am UTC

The provided url is just a place I hosted ASProxy, unfortunately it is a free site and I have a horrible bandwidth limit.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby vslayer » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:24 am UTC

cmpwn wrote:If you aren't breaking the law then you have nothing to hide


edited for brevity.

I think you would be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't break a single law during their normal day. Most of us get away with it however because the police aren't on every street corner identifying jay-walkers or tracking down those of us who refuse to enrol in their voting system. when you take away our privacy, you take away our ability to bend laws, make exceptions to laws or deny unjust laws.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby keeperofdakeys » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:43 am UTC

vslayer wrote:
cmpwn wrote:If you aren't breaking the law then you have nothing to hide


edited for brevity.

I think you would be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't break a single law during their normal day. Most of us get away with it however because the police aren't on every street corner identifying jay-walkers or tracking down those of us who refuse to enrol in their voting system. when you take away our privacy, you take away our ability to bend laws, make exceptions to laws or deny unjust laws.

In response to cmpwn, here's a good example of when you want some privacy: http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/bored_teenage_office_worker_fired_over_facebook_entry. Sure, you could say that she shouldn't have said it, but I'm sure you have said something similar before. There was the case recently when facebook changed their privacy policy and the photos of facebook's founder became viewable.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby phillipsjk » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:11 am UTC

Other people have mentioned why privacy may be important to you, even if you don't know it yet. They may ban owning Kittens next week. You could then be threatened with jail-time because somebody with a grudge was able to pull an image of you holding a kitten out of the Google cache. Many laws have provisions that allow ministers/governors to enact regulations faster than normally allowed by the democratic process.

What I find interesting (to play devil's advocate) is to imagine a world where there is no expectation of privacy: where everybody is tracked but can look up information about anybody. That abusive spouse may find out about the plan to go to the shelter, but the police will also have a record of everything that happened. You won't get fired for bad-mouthing your boss if you find evidence of your boss bad-mouthing his/her boss. You won't be passed up for employment just because of crazy stuff you did in your youth; unless your stuff really stands out from everybody else's.

Of course, in the real world that won't work. Even with today's technology, having "perfect information" is an elusive dream. The strongest evidence that secrecy is important is how aggressively governments and corporations treat their secret information (note I said their secret information, not your secret information). If the information exchange was a two-way street, I would feel more comfortable giving my personal information to corporations an governments. Corporations have NDA's, governments have Official Secrets Acts. Because of their capital concentration, corporations and governments are in a position of power. If you annoy them enough they can afford a lawyer... or hit man. Even knowing all this (that governments gather sensitive information), I still wonder if government secrets are compatible with democracy at all.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby vslayer » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:35 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:<snip> I still wonder if government secrets are compatible with democracy at all.


It would seem to me that withholding information from people tasked with making an informed decision about the running of their country, is about as undemocratic as you can get without locking someone in your basement and giving them the hose whenever they refuse to put on the lotion.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby GoodRudeFun » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:21 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:
cmpwn wrote:As it is now, I don't really mind the current definition of "legal" online. If that changes, my standpoint may change with it. Do you have an opinion without the strings, viewing the world as it is today and now? Because speculation is nice, but it is also hypothetical.

Here's how the world is today and now for me: there will very soon be a whole bunch of sites that it will be illegal for me to try to access (and won't be able to access without the use of a proxy), where previously it was not so. It's also illegal for me to know what those sites are. That said, I've seen a previous iteration of the list and there's a mix of pretty universally objectionable content (which is already illegal under existing laws) as well as material that is, in most free nations, perfectly legal to view. But here it won't be, because some old farts in a room decided to rate it "refused classification". So you'll have to excuse me if I do take objection to the current definition of "legal" online.

Wait, I've been out of the loop for a while. Whats going to be illegal now?

Is there a link to this list? I honestly don't want to have the fbi up my ass for going to some site I had no clue was illegal....


And imo privacy is a must. I want to be able to discuss all topics with out fear of someone tracking me down for it. It might just be the government and major corporations now (both of which I distrust greatly anyways), but what happens when some crazy guy gets pissed off for me disagreeing with his worldview and see's me as an evil that must be taken out?
Oh. Well that's alright then.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby Hawknc » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:37 am UTC

Given the reference to the FBI I'm going to assume it has no relevance to you, but just in case, I'm talking about Australia's proposed internet filter. Wikileaks has the list that they were planning to use as the basis of the filter but they appear to be down right now.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby KrazyerKate » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:49 pm UTC

For a longer explanation as to why "I'm not guilty. I have nothing to hide" is wrong, check out:
Don't Talk To The Police

Hawknc wrote:Given the reference to the FBI I'm going to assume it has no relevance to you, but just in case, I'm talking about Australia's proposed internet filter. Wikileaks has the list that they were planning to use as the basis of the filter but they appear to be down right now.

I read about Michael Atkinson vetoing classification to the Left4Dead games, but I didn't realize that his sort had a following and that they're pushing legislation. I've never been more glad to be in the US.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby Hawknc » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:58 pm UTC

They're different but related issues. If a game is refused classification, under this scheme, content from that game and the sites hosting it (e.g. Steam, Youtube) would be added to the blacklist. The whole thing is a practical and ethical disaster.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby phillipsjk » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

vslayer wrote:
phillipsjk wrote:<snip> I still wonder if government secrets are compatible with democracy at all.


It would seem to me that withholding information from people tasked with making an informed decision about the running of their country, is about as undemocratic as you can get without locking someone in your basement and giving them the hose whenever they refuse to put on the lotion.


I think the argument is that we are in a representative democracy: only our representatives have to be privy to all that sensitive information. Of course, here in Canada there is controversy over the Government refusing to release uncensored documents to Parliamentary committees. Parliament has just been prorogued for several months (in part) because of that issue.

Keep in mind, Governments also have sensitive information about you as well. You probably don't need to know how much your neighbour paid in taxes last year to make an informed voting decision.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:13 pm UTC

Yeah, I support open government, but I can see why there are some things a government shouldn't make public. However, it should be public that certain things aren't being released, if that makes sense. "We're collecting financial data. You can't see it." is alright. "Wiretapping? Oh, crap, you weren't supposed to know about that." isn't. And I doubt anyone would argue that governments ought to release all their, say, military details.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby vslayer » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:48 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
vslayer wrote:
phillipsjk wrote:<snip> I still wonder if government secrets are compatible with democracy at all.


It would seem to me that withholding information from people tasked with making an informed decision about the running of their country, is about as undemocratic as you can get without locking someone in your basement and giving them the hose whenever they refuse to put on the lotion.


I think the argument is that we are in a representative democracy: only our representatives have to be privy to all that sensitive information. Of course, here in Canada there is controversy over the Government refusing to release uncensored documents to Parliamentary committees. Parliament has just been prorogued for several months (in part) because of that issue.

Keep in mind, Governments also have sensitive information about you as well. You probably don't need to know how much your neighbour paid in taxes last year to make an informed voting decision.


personal information should only ever be disclosed with the permission of the person whom it is about, but when our governments are planning shit like operation northwoods and the like, then we need to know about it in order to kick them the frak out of government before they kill anyone.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby GoodRudeFun » Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:57 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:Given the reference to the FBI I'm going to assume it has no relevance to you, but just in case, I'm talking about Australia's proposed internet filter. Wikileaks has the list that they were planning to use as the basis of the filter but they appear to be down right now.

Ah, ok. For some reason I randomly assumed it was being put in place in America. Sorry if that came off as american arrogance.

Sir_Elderberry wrote:Yeah, I support open government, but I can see why there are some things a government shouldn't make public. However, it should be public that certain things aren't being released, if that makes sense. "We're collecting financial data. You can't see it." is alright. "Wiretapping? Oh, crap, you weren't supposed to know about that." isn't. And I doubt anyone would argue that governments ought to release all their, say, military details.
I agree wholeheartedly. It would be pretty impractical for a government to have to release all the information they have, but we should be able to know what they know about us, and how they're gathering that information. As to military, we should be informed that actions are being taken, and general details, but I agree that sensitive information that could put lives at risk should be withheld.

Unfortunately there's a tricky grey area about what constitutes sensitive information that any corrupt leader could run with if they wanted to. And I'm not exactly sure how much information governments generally release about their military actions as it is. It would probably be naive to assume that there aren't actions we don't know about (at least in america).
Oh. Well that's alright then.

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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:05 am UTC

Oh yeah. The military get an exemption, but it has to be limited. Operational secrecy, after all, is often vitally important--nobody would have appreciated it if we were told about the Normandy invasion a few weeks in advance. Beyond that, I'm not sure they get much exemption. They probably get less, as if there's one branch of government we need to keep a sharp eye on, it's the one with the guns. (No disrespect to enlisted personnel, here.) I'd hate to wake up in the morning and find out one day that they've invented the Mass-Citizen-Taser 2000 without mentioning it to anyone until it got deployed against some protesters.
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby GoodRudeFun » Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:38 am UTC

Careful, you could give someone ideas :P
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Re: Privacy on the Interwebs

Postby poxic » Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:57 am UTC

It's being done. Have no a little bit of fear.
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