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Category Archives: Privacy

Yahoo! Spies for Government


Yahoo! spies. [courtesy Google Images]

Yahoo! spies.
[courtesy Google Images]

Constitution.com posted an article entitled, “‘Unconstitutional’: Yahoo secretly scanned all incoming emails for US intelligence”.

According to that article:

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Reuters just reported that the Internet/email company Yahoo Inc. created a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails to comply with a ‘classified government directive.’

“[Yahoo!] complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.”

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A lot of people, myself included, are infuriated by Yahoo!’s betrayal of American privacy.  A lot of former Yahoo! email customers are changing to other email providers that offer “end-to-end encryption” and other technological devices that guarantee government can’t read their emails.

I’m not joining them.  I’ve had the same Yahoo! email account (alfredadask@yahoo.com) for most of 13 years and I don’t plan to change anytime soon.  After all, I really don’t have anything to hide (except the detonators, of course), so I’m not enraged by Yahoo!’s spying–in fact, I like it.

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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Creating evidence, Dissidents, Evidence, Privacy, Spies

 

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One “Big Brother” vs. Millions of “Little Brothers”


Yes, he is.  But "Little Brothers" are also watching him. [courtesy Google Images]

Yes, he is. But “Little Brothers” are also watching him.
[courtesy Google Images]

In A.D. 1949, George Orwell published his novel 1984—a dystopian view of the future. Mr. Orwell’s most frightening prediction was that “Big Brother” would install video/audio monitors in each of our homes and workplaces to constantly spy on all of us, to ensure that we didn’t deviate from the “party line”. We would always be subject to government surveillance and never have a moment of privacy for ourselves.

Orwell’s prediction was about 35 years premature. So far as I know, government has not yet installed its own video or audio recording devices in my home. Still, if you’re like me, you probably have a video camera mounted on top of your computer screen, and you wonder from time to time if the government has secretly turned it on to spy on you.

Maybe our concerns about privacy are evidence of paranoia. Maybe they’re prudent. In either case, it’s nearly undeniable that even if government hasn’t yet used our own video cameras to spy on us, it has spied on our credit card expenses, telephone and cellphone conversations, email, websites, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

There’s no question that, every day, government uses ever-more sophisticated technology to spy on us. Orwell was right. Big Brother is watching all of us.

But Orwell was also wrong in that he did not foresee that the same technology that allowed Big Brother to spy on all of us, would also become so cheap and ubiquitous that virtually all of us—the millions of “little brothers”—could also spy on Big Brother.

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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Internet, Privacy, Spies, Surveillance, Technology

 

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Government Controls Google?


Jus' folks at Google! [courtesy Google Images]

Jus’ the friendly folks at Google!
[courtesy Google Images]

One aspect of the internet–and, especially, Google–that flat-out amazes me is the ability to write virtually any question into the search engine and get an extensive list of articles that answer my question.

I’m not just talking about typing “Kentucky” into the search engine and getting a list of articles on Kentucky.  I’m talking about asking specific questions like “How many members in Congress?” or “How many meters in a mile?” and getting an instant answers (“435” and “1,609.34”)–not just a list of articles that might hold the answer.

I’m even talking about asking “fuzzy” questions like “How many States have legalized marijuana?” and getting an instant list of articles that can be researched in just a few more minutes of my time.

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Beware of Posting Cell Phone and Digital Camera Photos On Line


I don’t usually post video “warnings” on my blog. But this one is an exception.  It’s almost amazing how much information may be included in a digital snapshot taken with a cell phone or digital camera.

In some instances you might want that information. Imagine that you were taking pictures of a criminal act; you’d probably want all of the relevant information captured.

In other instances (like photographing your stash of gold coins or your beautiful 12-year old daughter) you might not want all of the possible relevant information to be captured.

There’s nothing wrong with capturing all of the possible information available with your cell-phone photos, so long as access to those photos is kept private.  But once you post those photos on the internet, all of the information (and it’s not just the photo itself) is available to anyone who sees and analyzes your photo.  For example, a thief who sees you cell-phone photo of your gold on the internet can learn exactly where the photo was taken, and thereby know whichever house holds the gold.  A child molester, seeing a photo on the internet of your stunningly beautiful 12-year old daughter, could discover exactly where she lives.

There are damn few secrets in the digital age.

Here’s a video that explains the dangers of cell-phone and digital camera photos.

video     00:04:32

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Privacy, Technology, Video

 

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Right to Privacy or Presumption of Innocence?


(Courtesy Google Images)

(Courtesy Google Images)

Edward Snowden has achieved international fame as the “whistle-blower” who exposed NSA spying on domestic telephone calls.  He claims that he was motivated to expose this problem in order to protect American’s “right to privacy”.

According to Wikipedia:

 

“The right to privacy is our right to keep a domain around us, which includes all those things that are part of us, such as our body, home, property, thoughts, feelings, secrets and identity. The right to privacy gives us the ability to choose which parts in this domain can be accessed by others, and to control the extent, manner and timing of the use of those parts we choose to disclose.”

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This Guy’s a Real American Hero


Edward Snowden has admitted to being the source of a recent, massive leak of government secrets to the public.

I’m much surprised to hear him speak.  He’s not only brilliant–which, all by itself is very rare–he’s also an extraordinarily-gifted communicator. And most extraordinarily, he has a real sense of ethics and values for which he’s prepared to lay down his life. He has real integrity. Character.  He belongs in Congress or perhaps even the White House rather than in hiding in Hong Kong. He appears to be as fine a man as America has ever produced. And, of course–as such–he is a natural target for arrest, or worse, by government.

video   00:12:35

 

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“Watching the Watchers”


Internet Privacy

Internet Privacy (Photo credit: o5com)

Here’s a video that explores the internet data mining industry.  It explains  that much of your internet browsing can be tracked by scores or hundreds of anonymous internet entities which seek to create a “profile” of you by following and recording every site you visit.

The implication is that there is no privacy on the internet.

That’s no surprise, but seeing evidence of the lack of privacy is disturbing.

My guess is that there will be a privacy backlash in the next two years that’ll seek to cause laws to be passed to prevent private entities from following us on the internet.  Government agencies, of course, will probably still be allowed to (secretly) monitor us.   In fact, even if laws were passed to prevent government monitoring, I doubt that such monitoring could be truly stopped.

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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Internet, Police State, Privacy, Video

 

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