17
   

We Have No Privacy, We Are Always Being Watched.

 
 
firefly
 
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 03:12 pm
Quote:
The Internet is a surveillance state
By Bruce Schneier, Special to CNN
March 16, 2013

Editor's note: Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and author of "Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Survive."

(CNN) -- I'm going to start with three data points.

One: Some of the Chinese military hackers who were implicated in a broad set of attacks against the U.S. government and corporations were identified because they accessed Facebook from the same network infrastructure they used to carry out their attacks.

Two: Hector Monsegur, one of the leaders of the LulzSac hacker movement, was identified and arrested last year by the FBI. Although he practiced good computer security and used an anonymous relay service to protect his identity, he slipped up.

And three: Paula Broadwell,who had an affair with CIA director David Petraeus, similarly took extensive precautions to hide her identity. She never logged in to her anonymous e-mail service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him. The FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels -- and hers was the common name.

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we're being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.

Increasingly, what we do on the Internet is being combined with other data about us. Unmasking Broadwell's identity involved correlating her Internet activity with her hotel stays. Everything we do now involves computers, and computers produce data as a natural by-product. Everything is now being saved and correlated, and many big-data companies make money by building up intimate profiles of our lives from a variety of sources.

Facebook, for example, correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline. And there's more. There's location data from your cell phone, there's a record of your movements from closed-circuit TVs.

This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it's efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.

Sure, we can take measures to prevent this. We can limit what we search on Google from our iPhones, and instead use computer web browsers that allow us to delete cookies. We can use an alias on Facebook. We can turn our cell phones off and spend cash. But increasingly, none of it matters.

There are simply too many ways to be tracked. The Internet, e-mail, cell phones, web browsers, social networking sites, search engines: these have become necessities, and it's fanciful to expect people to simply refuse to use them just because they don't like the spying, especially since the full extent of such spying is deliberately hidden from us and there are few alternatives being marketed by companies that don't spy.

This isn't something the free market can fix. We consumers have no choice in the matter. All the major companies that provide us with Internet services are interested in tracking us. Visit a website and it will almost certainly know who you are; there are lots of ways to be tracked without cookies. Cellphone companies routinely undo the web's privacy protection. One experiment at Carnegie Mellon took real-time videos of students on campus and was able to identify one-third of them by comparing their photos with publicly available tagged Facebook photos.

Maintaining privacy on the Internet is nearly impossible. If you forget even once to enable your protections, or click on the wrong link, or type the wrong thing, and you've permanently attached your name to whatever anonymous service you're using. Monsegur slipped up once, and the FBI got him. If the director of the CIA can't maintain his privacy on the Internet, we've got no hope.

In today's world, governments and corporations are working together to keep things that way. Governments are happy to use the data corporations collect -- occasionally demanding that they collect more and save it longer -- to spy on us. And corporations are happy to buy data from governments. Together the powerful spy on the powerless, and they're not going to give up their positions of power, despite what the people want.

Fixing this requires strong government will, but they're just as punch-drunk on data as the corporations. Slap-on-the-wrist fines notwithstanding, no one is agitating for better privacy laws.

So, we're done. Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites.

And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant.

Welcome to an Internet without privacy, and we've ended up here with hardly a fight.
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/16/opinion/schneier-internet-surveillance/index.html


I am referencing the above article because of recent revelations in the news about covert government surveillance programs involving private corporations, such as Verizon:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/opinion/president-obamas-dragnet.html?hp

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/us/national-security-agency-surveillance.html?hp

http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/whats-the-purpose-of-the-n-s-a-surveillance-program/?ref=opinion

How do you feel about your own privacy these days? What privacy issues personally trouble you?

How should we evaluate the need to give up some personal privacy in order to protect national security interests?

Any other thoughts on this general issue?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 17 • Views: 26,340 • Replies: 796

 
Eva
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 03:37 pm
I have such a boring life. It is beyond me why anyone would care to know anything about it, unless it was to sell me something.

(Good luck with that.)
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 03:58 pm
The time may come when all Americans will be required to have a DNA chip inserted into their backs at birth or even later. This chip will contain the individuals complete genome and will also serve as a GPS device.

Individuals will be tracked from birth to death at all hours of the day and night, during peace and war, during Summer and Winter, during rain and sleet, during love and hate...In airports, the chips will be scanned to determine who may fly.

If an individual undergoes a procedure to remove the DNA chip, they will be arrested, fined and placed in an unfriendly prison. They will be called "the unwanted".
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 04:48 pm
@firefly,
As you know, firefly, I'm very concerned about it -- even though my life is very boring.

I worry about it for lots of reasons but mostly I worry about it for Mo. He's the one it could have a huge impact on if we don't find a way to put on the brakes. Everything a kid does can be twisted to make them seem suspicious. And as we learned from reading about Adam Lanza -- not posting on the internet makes them look suspicious too.

I read an article not long ago (I think I posted it on A2K somewhere) about how shopping malls can now tell not only that you're in the mall but what stores you go into and what displays you look at by somehow pinging your cell phone.

I now leave my cell phone off unless I need to make a call. I'm not trying to hide anything I just don't think it's anyone's business.

For all I know, they can still read info from my phone anyway....

Most troubling to me, as we discussed on the other thread, is the new Microsoft patent for the cameras that can see in total darkness and even monitor your heart rate, motions and "emotions".

There are many variations on a quote attributed to Ben Franklin and I fully believe it:

He who sacrifices liberty for security deserves neither and will lose both.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 04:48 pm
It's being done in the name of protecting and securing the state against terrorism. The administration is being an exemplary Republican one.

It's ironic that many patriots are up in arms about the state's present administration doing this. These self-same hypocrites were willing enough to give up much of these individual rights to the previous administration.
mysteryman
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 05:15 pm
@InfraBlue,
That goes both ways.
The same people that raised hell about Bush don't seem to be very bothered that Obama is doing the same thing.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  4  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 05:17 pm
@firefly,
firefly wrote:
How do you feel about your own privacy these days? What privacy issues personally trouble you?


(1) What privacy? None of us have any.

(2) I am most troubled when the public toilet at Starbuck's flushes itself as soon as I stand up. They know!!!
roger
 
  4  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 05:24 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
But, does it snitch if you leave the seat up?
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 05:59 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:

But, does it snitch if you leave the seat up?


I'm sure that's in the works. Also unnecessarily wasteful use of toilet paper. It'll go on your record.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 07:57 pm
@firefly,
The lesson here is: use cash.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 08:01 pm
@DrewDad,
agreed.

in cash we trust...
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 08:01 pm
@DrewDad,
Good advice. Always use cash. Don't fly anywhere. Don't take public transportation (subways and buses are loaded with inconspicuous closed circuit cameras). Make all important phone calls from public phones only. Don't use e-mails; rely on the good ole P.O. instead.

Lessee, what'd I leave out?

Oh, yeah, where do I get the cash? Can't use ATMs.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jun, 2013 08:33 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
You just wait. Once we accept the idea that email is routinely open to government inspection, someone is going to ask how it is different just because our mail happens to be in an envelope.

Oh, and initially they will only be checking to see who sends and receives from whom. Who could possibly care about that. If you've nothing to hide, it shouldn't make you any difference. If you're some dirtbag crook, you aren't entitled to privacy, anyway.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jun, 2013 09:25 am
Should the Patriot Act be repealed or sharply limited?

Would that seriously jeopardize national security concerns regarding terrorism?

Would that help to restore some of the government infringements on personal privacy, or have things already progressed too far to put the brakes on?

And, apart from government spying....

Why do individuals have such a need to expose their private lives and info to the world through the social media, with Tweets, videos on You Tube, and postings on Facebook-not to mention the use of cell phones to send out personally revealing texts and photos, and to take videos, even of their own illegal activities, that can wind up in the hands of someone other than the intended recipient? Is exhibitionism/voyeurism now more important to people than privacy concerns? Are people just not thinking about possible consequences? Is communicating more important than other concerns? I'm not sure I really understand why people are so willingly, and voluntarily, giving up so much of their personal privacy in these ways.
Brandon9000
 
  2  
Reply Sat 8 Jun, 2013 12:09 pm
It's in the nature of governments to try to take more and more power. The Founders never envisioned the government gathering information about everyones' communications, and the government should be stopped in its endless quest to learn everything about everyone. They shouldn't be allowed to have records of everyone's contacts and have cameras on every street corner even if it would help stop terrorism and other crimes. And don't tell me that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. By that logic, why not let them search everyone's home once a months as a precaution? There are many things that would help the government stop crime which they ought not to be permitted to have.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jun, 2013 02:20 pm
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/06/government-phone-surveillance-for-dummies/276629/

Government phone surveillance for dummies explained.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jun, 2013 09:40 pm
Facebook forensics? What the feds can learn from your digital crumbs
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/facebook-forensics-what-feds-can-learn-your-digital-crumbs-6C10240840
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jun, 2013 10:00 pm
@firefly,
Quote:
Would that seriously jeopardize national security concerns regarding terrorism?


That you even ask such a silly question tells us how far gone y'all are, FF.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jun, 2013 01:11 am
Quote:
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court overwhelmingly approves FISA requests from the NSA, according to Justice Department reports. In 2012, the court received 1,856 applications for electronic surveillance and physical searches. All were approved except for one, which the government withdrew before the court could rule.

http://news.yahoo.com/few-options-companies-defy-u-031536444.html

rubber stamp, not a real court
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  3  
Reply Sun 9 Jun, 2013 08:27 am

http://25.media.tumblr.com/94ee09e67a8554d95af1dd8c9e6b29de/tumblr_mo3kbi6Qgf1r0wqrdo1_500.jpg
 

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