Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

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privacy

Richard Posner is an influential judge in the United States. In a recent conference, he said the NSA should be able to collect whatever information it needed in the name of stopping terrorism.

“I think privacy is actually overvalued,” Judge Richard Posner, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, said during a conference about privacy and cybercrime in Washington on Thursday.

“Much of what passes for the name of privacy is really just trying to conceal the disreputable parts of your conduct,” Posner added. “Privacy is mainly about trying to improve your social and business opportunities by concealing the sorts of bad activities that would cause other people not to want to deal with you.”

Perhaps Posner would be okay with everyone looking at his private information, following him wherever he travels and knowing what he is up to. Wanting privacy doesn’t mean you are concealing anything unsavory. It means your life is not anyone else’s business to be snooping into just because they can.

Congress should limit the NSA’s use of the data it collects — for example, not giving information about minor crimes to law enforcement agencies — but it shouldn’t limit what information the NSA sweeps up and searches, Posner said. “If the NSA wants to vacuum all the trillions of bits of information that are crawling through the electronic worldwide networks, I think that’s fine,” he said.

Let the vacuuming commence with all of Judge Posner’s activities. He’s made it clear he doesn’t have a problem with this sort of behavior.

In the name of national security, U.S. lawmakers should give the NSA “carte blanche,” Posner added. “Privacy interests should really have very little weight when you’re talking about national security,” he said. “The world is in an extremely turbulent state — very dangerous.”

The world has always been in a turbulent state. It has always been dangerous. I think Posner might have wanted to say, “We’ve always been at war with Eurasia.”

Posner criticized mobile OS companies for enabling end-to-end encryption in their newest software. “I’m shocked at the thought that a company would be permitted to manufacture an electronic product that the government would not be able to search,” he said.

Then let Posner be the one to lead by example and start letting the government search his cell phone at will.

Other speakers at Thursday’s event, including Judge Margaret McKeown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, disagreed with Posner, saying legal limits on government surveillance are necessary. With much of U.S. privacy law based on a reasonable expectation of privacy, it’s difficult, however, to define what that means when people are voluntarily sharing all kinds of personal information online, she said.

This is true, but for those who choose not to share personal information online, they shouldn’t be subjected to random vacuuming of information because the NSA wants to go on a fishing expedition. The people who advocate for privacy aren’t the ones dumping their personal information online. When they do, they know it’s public information.

David Cole, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center also disagreed with Posner.

Some recent court cases, including the Supreme Court’s 2014 Riley v. California ruling limiting law enforcement searches of mobile phones, have moved privacy law in the right direction, he said.

Posner questioned why smartphone users need legal protections, saying he doesn’t understand what information on smartphones should be shielded from government searches. “If someone drained my cell phone, they would find a picture of my cat, some phone numbers, some email addresses, some email text,” he said. “What’s the big deal?

“Other people must have really exciting stuff,” Posner added. “Do they narrate their adulteries, or something like that?”

This is the problem with Posner. He doesn’t understand why someone other than himself wouldn’t want their information freely available and automatically believes they must be up to no good. Yet, this judge most likely doesn’t have his home address listed publicly for security reasons. People have reasons why they don’t want their information spread, including safety, security and peace of mind.

Smartphones can contain all kinds of information that people don’t want to share, including medical information, visits to abortion doctors and schedules for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Cole said. “Your original question, ‘what’s the value of privacy unless you’ve got something to hide?’ that’s a very short-sighted way of thinking about the value of privacy,” he said.

They may also contain information about upcoming political protests. If they cannot organize and protest freely, then this is not a free society. If Posner is not willing to step up and allow collection of his personal and private records at any time and for any reason, then he truly is ignorant or is spouting a government line and knows exactly what agenda he is pushing. Considering Posner tried to hide the name of a trust on his 2013 tax return, he likes his privacy just fine.

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In a new report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns that Internet service providers (ISPs) may use data caps to impose higher prices on home users.

ISPs have argued that consumers could benefit from caps or “usage-based pricing,” because consumers who use small amounts of data would pay less than customers who use a lot more, similar to how the cellular market works. But there isn’t enough competition in all cities or towns to prevent ISPs from abusing data caps, the GAO wrote.

“Although few fixed Internet customers are affected by UBP [usage-based pricing] at this time, the number could grow to the extent that fixed Internet providers increase their use of UBP and data use grows,” the GAO wrote. “Providers could implement UBP in a way that benefits consumers—for example, by offering low-data, low-cost plans for customers who do not want to pay for an unlimited data plan they do not need. However, providers—especially those facing limited competition—could use UBP as a means to increase their profits which could result in UBP having negative effects, including increased prices paid by consumers, reductions in content and applications accessed by consumers, and increased threats to network security.”

Comcast is already testing usage caps and plans to roll it out nationwide to consumers.

In this trial, XFINITY Internet Economy Plus customers can choose to enroll in the Flexible-Data Option to receive a $5.00 credit on their monthly bill and reduce their data usage plan from 300 GB to 5 GB. If customers choose this option and use more than 5 GB of data in any given month, they will not receive the $5.00 credit and will be charged an additional $1.00 for each gigabyte of data used over the 5 GB included in the Flexible-Data Option.

For those who are concerned, there is something you can do to tell the FCC this is a problem.

MNTDa90

After learning where your state stands on municipal broadband, you can file a complaint with the FCC.

Some tips in writing your complaint include the fact that the average cord cutter uses 328 GB of data per month just with Netflix and referencing some other statistics from this site.

Download (PDF, 2.51MB)

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Links:

Twitter now tracking users’ installed apps for targeted advertising

UK anti-terrorism bill will force ISPs to link IP addresses to users

UN human rights committee moves to protect privacy

Facebook update claims to protect your privacy – but still tracks your browsing

Source.

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Facebook, just like any other “free” service, does have a cost, just not in dollars. In order to use their service, you allow them to use your private data.

And they’ve made a lot of money selling it: hundreds of millions of dollars each year. It’s only gone up by billions every year since they went public in 2012.

Facebook’s revenue comes from selling highly-targeted advertising directed at its users. They can charge a hefty fee to display ads because the advertisers can narrow down their target audience by age, gender, location, friends, likes and dislikes, and every other detail of your life you’ve told them about.

Try to navigate through the labyrinth of Facebook privacy settings, and you get the impression they don’t want to make it easy for you. Check out the guide below on how you can keep your data safe.

How to Stay Safe on Facebook - Via Who Is Hosting This: The Blog

Source: WhoIsHostingThis.com

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The web, as we know it, is just the tip of the iceberg. Buried below the surface you can find secrets, and some unsavory behavior.

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