Your thoughts on privacy?

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Quark
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Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby Quark » Jan 04, 2015 2:55

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I wonder how secure our privacy is these days, and what members of the FB forum think about it.

As an example of a response, here is my attempt at comment on this issue. (Note here I call all privacy-breakers 'snoops'):

My general impression is that there has been a loss of trust in all governments regarding privacy issues. The guiding principle seems to be that privacy is a good thing until there is a security problem, then privacy goes out the window.

So, trust is shrinking, vague fear growing, perhaps globally -- this is to the detriment of cooperation, communication, and freedom from anxiety.

Bringing it down to the world of coders, I have two paradoxical impressions:

--I am thinking it would not be hard for a small number of people to devise and use a snoop-proof encryption, but...

--...it is very hard to devise a broad-use anti-snoop encryption system that not only is secure, but KNOWN to be secure. In short, how does one know there is no back-door somewhere, or that some super-snooper-computer has not cracked the encryption?

It is ironical if the attacks of mal-doers caused us to harm ourselves more than they could do.
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dafhi
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby dafhi » Jan 04, 2015 3:11

Let us not forget - the infatuation with security is the problem.

I believe the solution is to stop working for the man. The only currency I value is free time. Only technology + human ingenuity can take us there
BasicCoder2
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby BasicCoder2 » Jan 04, 2015 4:28

Privacy doesn't exist on the internet all you can do is hope the banks will compensate you if their security systems fail and someone steals all your money. As for personal privacy I guess it depends if you have something to hide. A public figure recently had his emails hacked where he was denigrating minority groups. The rule is, assume anything you put on the internet is available for anyone to read and if you have a problem with that don't put it on the internet.
integer
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby integer » Jan 04, 2015 13:43

BasicCoder2 wrote:...The rule is ... anything you put on the internet is available for anyone to read and if you have a problem with that don't put it on the internet.

Publication of personal opinion requires forethought, unfortunately, too many assume it can be rephrased in hindsight to fix or alter the intent.
Be proud of what you do/say; HOWEVER, if your life/lively hood depends on the opinion(s) of others, then it would be better to be diplomatic/respectful.
If you cannot say something nice about a person (object), then be respectful with righteous indignation.
Oh, and by the way, it never hurts to be correct the first time.
If you are going to rant, you will be ranted.
eos
Quark
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby Quark » Jan 06, 2015 6:41

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Thanks to those who have expressed an opinion so far on this very large issue.

I notice in my life that there are topics I hesitate to get involved in due to caution, but I don't like having my actions controlled by some vague threat somewhere. It is one thing when there is a true threat -- a bad thing, but at least explicit -- and another thing when it is in the very air one breathes.

Let us not forget - the infatuation with security is the problem.

I believe the solution is to stop working for the man. The only currency I value is free time. Only technology + human ingenuity can take us there
.

I like this -- seems basically true, yet it is not obvious that individual freedom is the top goal of humanity.

As for personal privacy I guess it depends if you have something to hide.


A common view, but virtually everyone has private information they would like to remain private.

Be proud of what you do/say; HOWEVER, if your life/lively hood depends on the opinion(s) of others, then it would be better to be diplomatic/respectful.
...
Oh, and by the way, it never hurts to be correct the first time.


So be frank, unless it is not a good idea :-) Yet this is seems to be in the context of public discourse where privacy cannot be counted on. Some potential employers have demanded the potential hiree provide Facebook or Twitter passwords. I guess there are forces at work regarding who can say what to whom. Yet this is another topic, not exactly a privacy issue, but related.
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Pritchard
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby Pritchard » Jan 06, 2015 18:12

A network security expert where I live no longer uses a bank. He said none of his co-workers do, either. He of course has inside information, and in his field, maybe it's nice to be able to move around without having a trace of your activities harboured in a potential competitor's or government's database.

But if you live off the record, you're on your own.
Bob Coleman
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby Bob Coleman » Jan 06, 2015 22:12

Quark wrote:Some potential employers have demanded the potential hiree provide Facebook or Twitter passwords.


Here is my response to this in the past:
I need a written detail of what you are looking for and if it is acceptable I will log into my accounts and allow you to look under supervision for those specific things. Otherwise it is time to terminate all consideration of my taking employment with your company.

When asked why:
Only a fool would violate security by giving out passwords. Such careless attitudes towards security speaks poorly for your company. And it also violates the terms of service with the providers in question and I take contracts seriously.
sean_vn
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby sean_vn » Jan 12, 2015 6:33

There are biological parasites, economic parasites and these days information parasites. And so it rolls on.
TESLACOIL
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby TESLACOIL » Jan 14, 2015 10:41

Maslow pyramid, order of human needs. Security is close to the base.


Information = power, so things are going to get a bit tricky for all parties, governments and reclusive individuals.


Ultimately we will need a whole new raft of legislation, ie physical and intellectual safeguards as the 'natural' modus operandi of human beings did not arise in an ecosystem where TIS (total information systems) where dominant.

When you can carry the 'critical' data of an entire planetary civilization in your pocket, or in the case of micro sd, up your left nostril then it would be rue to say that data security and privacy is or will soon become the burning issue of our age

In this eternal global data war we will all be combatants, victims and prisoners to some degree...while there is electricity and computing there is no escape from that reality
Quark
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby Quark » Jan 14, 2015 18:00

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I'm definitely paying attention to this growing set of concerns about privacy.

But if you live off the record, you're on your own.


Good reply -- a note from the present regarding knowledgeable people withdrawing from banks due to privacy concerns (identity theft?). How appealing and scary, this idea of living off the grid!

Only a fool would violate security by giving out passwords. Such careless attitudes towards security speaks poorly for your company. And it also violates the terms of service with the providers in question and I take contracts seriously.


An obvious problem is the size-scale -- the small individual against the mighty corporation/status quo. If a potential employee was part of a large group which had an explicit code of ethics, then it would be a lot more effective.

...biological parasites, economic parasites and these days information parasites...


Information carnivores might be a closer metaphor.

In this eternal global data war we will all be combatants, victims and prisoners to some degree...while there is electricity and computing there is no escape from that reality


The reason that 'the price of liberty is eternal vigilance' is that there is no end to the attempt to dominate, to be sure. If one adds the hunger for security to that dominating will, the result is a very strong motivation against the privacy of the individual. Think how easy it would be to characterize a desire for personal privacy as petty and selfish when dramatically posed against a stark backdrop of terror and war. Yet privacy and liberty are so closely linked...
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sean_vn
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby sean_vn » Jan 16, 2015 23:41

Even some small nations with a population of less than 10 million have 5000 people in state employ hacking away at the Internet. I would guess worldwide then 100,000+ state employed hackers. They could easily create a self-fulfilling prophecy. I personally have noticed a big reduction in stability of the Internet, particularly in the past couple of years. I guess things will deteriorate until an ecological equilibrium occurs. Maybe at quite a low level of Internet usability.
TESLACOIL
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby TESLACOIL » Jan 18, 2015 20:10

I spent about 3 months writing a fairly accurate global simulator

A 1:1 scale earth accurate to 1 meter with 7 billion inhabitants, pseudo dna code etc the works. Every tree, street, building, library card and every can of beans. The simulation also includes a 1000 species. To be clear the data was made up, but it was true to life, i spent countless hours wading through national statistics, bio diversity, species range, cultural leanings etc.

It did make me stop and think! ....if i can do that albeit somewhat crudely on my own imagine what can be done for a few million $ by a crack team of coders who have access to 'real world databases'
BobPaw
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby BobPaw » Feb 13, 2015 2:13

BasicCoder2 wrote:The rule is, assume anything you put on the internet is available for anyone to read and if you have a problem with that don't put it on the internet.


As BasicCoder2 said, anything you put up can be viewed, in one way or another, even if you take it down. And if you put up your phone number, well...with all the things nowadays, someone could call using the FBI's number and you'd never know.If at all possible, just use mail for secure things. Really, though, there are cameras everywhere so-for the moment-only your thoughts (and I guess whispering) is/are secret. FOR THE MOMENT!
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Sorry, not trying to be creepy, but with everything nowadays, it could happen.
sean_vn
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby sean_vn » Feb 14, 2015 0:03

If you have a microphone in your laptop or a modern cell phone even your whisperings are not for you alone. At the moment something is repeatedly writing to the boot sector of my harddrive or the first few tracks of the harddrive of one version of Linux I run. I wouldn't have known about it except the harddrive is going clack, clack, clack, clack. Sometimes the writers of malware forget they are dealing with real physical systems. I guess they have reached a level of abstaction where they don't even understand that.
Yeh, I'm complaining about the quality of the malware on my computer -- such are the days we live in.
caseih
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Re: Your thoughts on privacy?

Postby caseih » Feb 14, 2015 0:15

How do you know the boot sector of your hard drive is being written to over and over again? What do your logs show? What does iotop say?

I have to say I can't think of any reason for malware to continuously write to your boot sector. And any writes to the boot sector are going to be highly surreptitious and won't grab attention.

Root kits and malware are certainly around on Linux, but normally come in through a direct hack attack (say a server open to the web), or through social engineering (run this script as root please). But odds are the disk I/O you are seeing is the Linux kernel adjusting file buffers, swapping memory, running background tasks (cron jobs), writing to the log file, etc. Some hard drives are louder than others, some machines have more ram and less swapping, so you notice it more on certain machines. I would be far, far more suspicious of network traffic than disk i/o. For example, I wonder what my android phone is doing all the time when I'm connected on wifi. seems like there's always some traffic. Would like to know exactly what it is.

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