It wasn't all that long ago that former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden was making news accusing the US government of accessing the web servers of some of the biggest internet services for the purpose of data mining, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was becoming a cult hero for exposing government secrets.
Right now there are many arguments over net neutrality that stir up privacy issues into the mix, but they are another area in the fight to control the internet.
Recruiters research prospective candidates on social networking sites as part of pre-hire screening. Social media users have not all learned that the delete key is an illusion. The curse of the digital age is once information is accessed on the internet and passed on to others, there is no way to take it back.
Over at the Guru 42 Universe we talk about the great power comes great responsibility of the internet and the brave new online world. In spite of the fact that their use is increasing everyday, there is a growing distrust of social networking sites. Privacy and personal security concerns become hot topics as websites gather personal information for profiling users to enable advertisers to target them more productively. Ethical and legal concerns are raised as websites make money by selling our digital footprints.
Is privacy a thing of the past?
Back in 1999, Scott McNealy CEO and co-founder of Sun Microsystems uttered the famous quote, "You already have zero privacy. Get over it." Do you think things are any better nearly two decades later?
I know from a long career in telecommunications and computer networking, you have zero privacy. I don't post my every move on Facebook, and I don't tweet from every restaurant I visit. But I don't go out of my way to run and hide either. I would rather you hear me pitch my view of who I am, instead of visiting one of the many websites offering to sell you anything you want to know about me. Even a simple search can turn up previous addresses and unlisted phone numbers.
I have been accused of blatant self promotion from time to time on social media. I admit to it. I feed the internet with information about me. I believe that a strong defense is to lead with a strong offense. That's not a football strategy, that's my view of dealing with social media.
I write about technology and politics, things like net neutrality, privacy issues, and attempts to regulate the internet. There are no easy answers to the issues. Many issues will involve understanding common ground and compromise.
Do you know who is watching you?
Are you using an email provider like Gmail? Did you know email stored on a third party's servers for over 180 days is considered to be abandoned, and law enforcement agencies only need to provide a written statement certifying that the information is relevant to an investigation in order to obtain the content of such emails. - See more at: Will the Email Privacy Act Become Law?
There are those who will tell you how you can hide your identity on the internet. I must really be cynical, because I wouldn't trust my life on that assumption, as explained in this Washington Post article: The NSA is trying to crack Tor. The State Department is helping pay for it.
Is privacy just wishful thinking?
The technology generally exists to allow network managers to monitor all aspects of their computer system, including, monitoring sites visited by employees on the Internet, monitoring chat groups and news groups, reviewing material downloaded or uploaded by employees, and reviewing e-mail sent and received by employees.
Most Americans agree that the government should not infringe the individual’s right to privacy, property, and right to speak. But they also agree that law enforcement and national security are important governmental functions. Interestingly enough, the word “privacy” does not appear in the Constitution.
Some follow up thoughts:
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Protecting your assets balancing better security versus big brother
And a few more articles to get you thinking...
If You Think You're Anonymous Online, Think Again
Most people don’t realize they are leaving behind digital footprints