The internet and privacy

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The internet and privacy

Post by Jangloid Mark » Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:46 pm

Having just read the last few pages of the Racism & anti-racism' thread, and not wanting to go too far off topic, I thought this was a subject that deserved a thread of it's own...
Uncle Ants wrote:whilst it's pretty funny watching a bunch of fascists squirming and running for cover - there is something a little disturbing about it as well.
I agree with this. That said, the technology is now there for anyone to publish anything.
We have been told constantly to watch what we put/post online with regard to social networking stuff, but, at the end of the day, that is our choice.

Everyone is a member of something. Most things are of little or no interest to anyone (such as the fact that I'm a member of my local snooker club), but, there is always the danger of things we want to keep private, either leaking out onto the web, or being told to advertising agencies.

In terms of things leaking, I see the potential for this to get worse. As well as the proposed ID cards, the way technology seems to be moving is to have an increasing amount of data, (photos, music tracks, college essays, phone books, etc) online rather than on our own hard drives.

Anyway, enough of me....your thoughts?
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Uncle Ants » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:19 pm

I think pinching what I said in one thread and posting it to another is a bloomin liberty.
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Uncle Ants » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:52 pm

That was meant as a joke :)

Seriously though, I know someone being able to use Google Earth to see the state if my back garden may not be the thing to worry about most, but if you wanted to know something about someone and you have used the internet to do lots of normal internety things, then it starts to become concerning what people might be able to find out about you. Enough to worry you if you became of interest to a nutter. Take the B N P guy mentioned or any of them really - just by giving a starting point it didn't take long to discover stuff about his family and his property - we now know (though don't much care) how much he selling it for, how many rooms he has, where it is, no doubt if you dug you could find all sorts of stuff - that he himself has put up there for sure, but we tend to think no one links the things together so we don't think about it. No doubt you could find out all sorts of stuff about me ... and me about you. Stuff you might be uncomfortable with me knowing.

If you then tie that into all the other stuff the state can or could soon potentially pin on you - access to phone records, email records, text records, mobile phone location, bank and credit card statements, where your car has been at etc. It becomes downright disconcerting.
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Mr Bear » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:57 pm

It's like Big Brother gone mad!

I don't know, my view is that if you've got nothing to hide, why hide it?

I know that's not really the point, I just wanted to quote Arab Strap.

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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Jangloid Mark » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:25 pm

Mr Bear wrote:It's like Big Brother gone mad!

I don't know, my view is that if you've got nothing to hide, why hide it?

I know that's not really the point, I just wanted to quote Arab Strap.
That's true when it comes to what you put up yourself on sites such as Facebook, V-Kontakte, Myspace etc....although the point being made above about linking it all back to you is a good one.

The point I was trying to make was...how secure is the stuff you don't volunteer?
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Uncle Ants » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:03 am

Jangloid Mark wrote: The point I was trying to make was...how secure is the stuff you don't volunteer?
Well I'd have thought the answer to that question would appear to be ... not very. If you look at the number of "lost" laptops, memory sticks, floppy discs etc. containing data of one sort or another over the last year ... and that doesn't include data deliberately stolen and undiscovered (which is I suspect a far bigger problem), then the chances that YOUR data hasn't gone astray somewhere looks pretty slim.
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Gordon » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:04 am

Mark, it's just you on V-Kontakte.

How do you all propose we make our personal data 100% safe, or is this just a general blether at the state of the world today? It started going wrong the day the photocopier was invented.

And I don't agree with Andy that we don't have a right to privacy if we're not criminals. What's the real question, here, though?
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Mr Bear » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:28 am

Gordon wrote:
And I don't agree with Andy that we don't have a right to privacy if we're not criminals. What's the real question, here, though?
Like I said, I was quoting a song lyric rather than expressing an opinion. That said, the way I see it is that the more information someone knowingly volunteers on a publicly accessible website (such as being a member of a local snooker club), the more scope there is for information to be gathered on that person. Which is logical really. Unless someone posts it on V-Kontakte, in which case no-one will see it.

Of course everyone's got a right to privacy, but it's too late to fear that things such as one's internet shopping activity will be tracked, because it already happens. This isn't normally the opinion that's expressed about such things, but I don't really mind if promo e-mails from Tesco, Boots, Play or wherever/online ads that are put infront of my eyes are modified to reflect the things I buy, because I'd rather see things that interest me than things that don't. It's still my choice as a consumer to decide whether or not to succumb to the lure of advertising.

But I'm not really sure I understand what's being asked here.

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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Uncle Ants » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:47 am

Mr Bear wrote: Of course everyone's got a right to privacy, but it's too late to fear that things such as one's internet shopping activity will be tracked, because it already happens. This isn't normally the opinion that's expressed about such things, but I don't really mind if promo e-mails from Tesco, Boots, Play or wherever/online ads that are put infront of my eyes are modified to reflect the things I buy, because I'd rather see things that interest me than things that don't. It's still my choice as a consumer to decide whether or not to succumb to the lure of advertising.

But I'm not really sure I understand what's being asked here.
I think it's just a case of asking about your thoughts on the subject. It's interesting.

Pre Internet we took our privacy for granted. Privacy was the default position. What you bought or didn't buy was known to no one but you. Who you corresponded with and when was known only to yourself and the person you wrote to. Conversations you had down the pub belonged to no one but you and your mate. Now we discuss (and disclose) all kinds of shit in public forums, your purchases are known by all kinds of organisations, the government are busy legislating so that they know exactly when and who you communicate with ... Some of this has been done willingly, some of it unwittingly and some of it without our knowledge.

In effect in order to interact in a modern world we have given up a huge amount of privacy but there has ever been any meaningful debate about it. We seem to be sleepwalking into a situation where non-privacy is the default, and it seems to me that people in general are surprisingly willing to accept it. I thnk if the givernment had tried to pull tricks like the ID card and this proposed central comms tracking database 20 years ago people would have been up in arms, but the Internet has given people so many benefits they would be unwilling to give it up and the loss of privacy they accept makes them indifferent to proposals which would have had them indignant before. Perhaps what they don't realise is just how high the price is and will be in terms of their loss of privacy ... whether that's to commercial organisations, the state or crazy nutjob stalkers.
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Gordon » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:58 am

What does the Internet have to do with reward cards that plot what you are purchasing?

On things like Google Maps, sure the Internet's made it easier to find aerial views of people's houses (as have other technological advances in the past 20 years) but mostly the Internet has cut out the middle-man of having go to the library. When information that is in the public domain is made easier to find via the Internet. It's hard to put the Internet itself at fault.

Previously if someone in the B N P had wanted to leak the membership, he'd have sent it to Searchlight and other organisations (having photocopied it) and the right people would have got it. Data Protection law has clarified and made more secure people's right to the protection of their personal data, and if security procedures are properly implemented, the existence of the Internet shouldn't matter. But we can hardly expect technology to slow down or go backwards...
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Uncle Ants » Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:13 am

Gordon wrote:What does the Internet have to do with reward cards that plot what you are purchasing?
Well in that case it doesn't specifically other than that it's of a piece with increased data storage abilities and computing power to analyse the data. The Internet does magnify the situation in that it has enabled a lot more internet shopping and we buy a lot more things with cards from a lot more companies who by default can gather a lot more data.
Gordon wrote:On things like Google Maps, sure the Internet's made it easier to find aerial views of people's houses (as have other technological advances in the past 20 years) but mostly the Internet has cut out the middle-man of having go to the library. When information that is in the public domain is made easier to find via the Internet. It's hard to put the Internet itself at fault.
Hmm. Well I wasn't arguing the Internet is a bad thing. I was arguing that using it the way we do has a lot of possible consequences that we simply haven't considered.
Gordon wrote:Previously if someone in the B N P had wanted to leak the membership, he'd have sent it to Searchlight and other organisations (having photocopied it) and the right people would have got it. Data Protection law has clarified and made more secure people's right to the protection of their personal data, and if security procedures are properly implemented, the existence of the Internet shouldn't matter. But we can hardly expect technology to slow down or go backwards...
Previously you wouldn;t have had a situation where the data would have been disseminated so widely that any Tom, Dick or Harry with a beef against a fascist could not only track them down but also find an awful lot of other information about them just by sitting at their keyboard. Sure we can laugh or have no sympathy because of who or what they are, but it cuts both ways.

Data protection laws are only effective of they are policed properly (which they aren't) and security procedures are rarely properly implemented.

No we can't expect it to slow down or go backward. I do think though that we should be more aware of the consequences. What does worry me somewhat is that if the default efffectively becomes non privacy, then one needs to take active measures to secure privacy. In a world where full disclosure (on the basis that you shouldn't have anything to hide) becomes the socially accepted norm, then any attempt to secure privacy might even be viewed as suspicious - after all what have you got to hide?
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Jangloid Mark » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:11 pm

Gordon wrote:Previously if someone in the B N P had wanted to leak the membership, he'd have sent it to Searchlight and other organisations (having photocopied it) and the right people would have got it. Data Protection law has clarified and made more secure people's right to the protection of their personal data, and if security procedures are properly implemented, the existence of the Internet shouldn't matter. But we can hardly expect technology to slow down or go backwards...
Technically, that may be so....but, what this fails to take into account is that you can now do things with impunity. Anyone can walk into an internet cafe, anyone can set up a yahoo/googlemail/facebook etc. account under a false name...

In answer to your previus post, Gordon, it's more a ramble than anything....and wanting to know what others thought...I agree that we can't go backwards, and I certainly don't want constraints on the internet...but, with that being the case, you can't have it both ways....
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by lynsosaurus » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:54 pm

Jangloid Mark wrote:
Gordon wrote:Previously if someone in the B N P had wanted to leak the membership, he'd have sent it to Searchlight and other organisations (having photocopied it) and the right people would have got it. Data Protection law has clarified and made more secure people's right to the protection of their personal data, and if security procedures are properly implemented, the existence of the Internet shouldn't matter. But we can hardly expect technology to slow down or go backwards...
Technically, that may be so....but, what this fails to take into account is that you can now do things with impunity. Anyone can walk into an internet cafe, anyone can set up a yahoo/googlemail/facebook etc. account under a false name...
i don't really understand your logic here, mark. are you trying to say that the internet makes it easier for people to do things anonymously? because i'm pretty sure that's not the case. it would be even easier to send out a load of photocopies without anyone knowing who you are than it would be to email things.

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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Uncle Ants » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:09 pm

lynsosaurus wrote:i don't really understand your logic here, mark. are you trying to say that the internet makes it easier for people to do things anonymously? because i'm pretty sure that's not the case. it would be even easier to send out a load of photocopies without anyone knowing who you are than it would be to email things.
I'd have said sending such a thing anonymously is about the same. You could go to an internet cafe, get yourself an anonymous email acc. and some storage space based on it and send or post something up somewhere without fear of being tracked with ease - you let the nature of the net do the rest - if something goes up and it's of interest it's there forever pretty much as these people are discovering. The most anyone could do is track down what internet cafe was used after the event.

What is really different is what can then be done with it. In the old days if you posted a photocopy of the B N P list to Searchlight, they could do something with it, but if that something were illegal it wouldn't be too hard to work out that Searchlight were responsible - in other words they might have received the info but what they could have done with it would have been limited. Now everyone who has net access anywhere can access this data and do with it what they will. And again with a photcopy and no net if the information were sent illegally, the law could confiscate the data and injunctions could be taken out against using it. With leaks to the net ... they are there pretty much forever and for all to see.

Not only that but again in the old days if you had these people's contact information that is pretty much all you would have unless you had the means for surveillance, now anyone who is vaguely net savvy might well find all sorts of things out about that person.

You might argue given the nature of these people that it's a good thing, but like I said it cut's both ways. What if people had a general loathing of Greenpeace members, or Notts County fanclub members or people who like the Deirdres (I am only one of these things ... I don't live in fear ... yet :) )
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Gordon » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:11 pm

lynsosaurus wrote:
Jangloid Mark wrote:Technically, that may be so....but, what this fails to take into account is that you can now do things with impunity. Anyone can walk into an internet cafe, anyone can set up a yahoo/googlemail/facebook etc. account under a false name...
i don't really understand your logic here, mark. are you trying to say that the internet makes it easier for people to do things anonymously? because i'm pretty sure that's not the case. it would be even easier to send out a load of photocopies without anyone knowing who you are than it would be to email things.
There are some pros and cons... Obviously an internet café would be a dumb place to try and be anonymous from, but with wifi networks it's not too difficult to think of ways around that. These questions are the same as the questions around mp3 piracy. The technology exists, and it's not going to go away, so what are we going to do about it to make things operate fairly?

Also re the default position being that there is no privacy and we have to find ways to assert it... Why do people live in houses made out of brick, not glass? Why do we have to go to the trouble of talking to our bank managers with the doors closed, or cover our PINs as we enter them...? Of course we have to take measures to protect our identity. On websites like facebook, perhaps the defaults should be much stricter (or there should be some sort of privacy wizard, or something), but when the primary purpose of websites is sharing of personal information (ooh, he likes Steely Dan!) then of course the default is going to be anti-privacy... To some extent, and I sound like some sort of crazy apologist here, these things make people think more about privacy concerns. People used to be more lazy about their privacy which fit in perfectly with other people's general laziness in ther snooping. Now everyone knows they should be on their toes.

Re the B N P (again) I suppose it's fair that if people are embarrassed about what political party they support, they should have a right to privacy. Where people are being sacked, it is because they have breached the terms of their contract, and it doesn't really matter how this was found out. The worry with this list, is that some people may have made an inquiry once to the party (or in one case at least, had a B N P friend that was trying to recruit them...) but the fault lies squarely with the officers of the B N P for having such terribly lax procedures. I find it hard to believe that this list was, in fact, encrypted, and if it was, it was clearly allowed to sit around in an unencrypted form... I sort of wonder, how the procedures work within our parties, but I know it's hard enough to get Members data for legitimate use, and we had a whole shitstorm about uses of membership data for canvassing during our (English and Welsh) leadership election...
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Gordon » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:14 pm

Uncle Ants wrote:
lynsosaurus wrote:i don't really understand your logic here, mark. are you trying to say that the internet makes it easier for people to do things anonymously? because i'm pretty sure that's not the case. it would be even easier to send out a load of photocopies without anyone knowing who you are than it would be to email things.
I'd have said sending such a thing anonymously is about the same. You could go to an internet cafe, get yourself an anonymous email acc. and some storage space based on it and send or post something up somewhere without fear of being tracked with ease - you let the nature of the net do the rest - if something goes up and it's of interest it's there forever pretty much as these people are discovering. The most anyone could do is track down what internet cafe was used after the event.
I'm not convinced that the type of person that thinks an internet café would be a good place to carry out illegal activity from would be too difficult to track down, even with only the name of the internet café...
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Uncle Ants » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:27 pm

Gordon wrote:I'm not convinced that the type of person that thinks an internet café would be a good place to carry out illegal activity from would be too difficult to track down, even with only the name of the internet café...
If you kept using the same one yes. If you did it as a one off at a busy one, I don't really see how. You use it, do your thing, leave and don't go back.
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by cuppie » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:32 pm

Uncle Ants wrote:
Gordon wrote:I'm not convinced that the type of person that thinks an internet café would be a good place to carry out illegal activity from would be too difficult to track down, even with only the name of the internet café...
If you kept using the same one yes. If you did it as a one off at a busy one, I don't really see how. You use it, do your thing, leave and don't go back.
Sometimes on Law and Order SVU they catch pedophiles who tried to do something illegal on a public computer with security cameras and whatever the term is for the ability of the internet to time everything you do.

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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Uncle Ants » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:45 pm

cuppie wrote:Sometimes on Law and Order SVU they catch pedophiles who tried to do something illegal on a public computer with security cameras and whatever the term is for the ability of the internet to time everything you do.
Heh :) Law and Order SVU would have a lot fewer viewers if their paedos weren't dumb enough not to look and see if there is a surveillance camera or who haven't heard of wearing a false moustache :) If their Paedos were smarter they wouldn't catch them and it wouldn't be much of a show.

Besides you could just go and buy an iPod Touch or something and piggy back on someone elses open network - people leave them open all the time. I'm sure there are lots of ways you might do it. I don't think you would need to be that smart, just reasonably savvy and not use the same access point more than once if you are REALLy convinced the authorities are after you.
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Re: The internet and privacy

Post by Jangloid Mark » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:48 pm

Uncle Ants wrote:Besides you could just go and buy an iPod Touch or something and piggy back on someone elses open network - people leave them open all the time. I'm sure there are lots of ways you might do it. I don't think you would need to be that smart, just reasonably savvy and not use the same access point more than once if you are REALLy convinced the authorities are after you.
Don't forget hotspots....you can connect to the net from almost anywhere these days....
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