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FTC Worries About Consumers, Cloud Data, and Privacy

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-worries-the-worriers dept.

Security 175

pcause writes "Ars Techina has a nice article about the FTC's concern that consumers don't understand the implications of storing their data in the cloud. From the article: 'Data is now sitting on servers outside of your control, where it can be accessed far more easily by Google itself, hackers, and law enforcement than it ever could if kept within the device. Once data passes over the network, it gets much easier to access in realtime; once it is stored on a remote server, it gets much easier to access at any time. And those are just the phone settings. Google also has access to search history data, anything stored in Google Docs or Spreadsheets, complete schedules stored in Google Calendar, and recent Maps searches. Combine them all, and companies like Google become one-stop shops for authorities looking for personal information.' Do you think the average consumer even has a clue about this issue?"

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Niggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30677722)

Mod me down faggots. Yeah I said niggers.

Cloud data already used against me... (4, Informative)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678160)

...in an alimony suit with a woman that I'd never met. The case was quickly dismissed, but the attorney did some dirty subpoenas and essentially tore my dignity to shreds in front of several people. It's reaaaalllly funny to people who look at your search history, your emails, and your CC purchases with no context and absolutely no justification.

I USE ANONOMYZING PROXIES NOW.

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678470)

Who modded this down?

They can know about you, do you know about them? (3, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677726)

A hard drive in your house is just as accessible as data in the cloud, they just need a warrant. However, they have a hard time hiding the fact they took your computer, it's somewhat questionable whether you can detect they got a wiretap, and outright impossible to tell what they copied out of a cloud... so the net change is that you'll have a harder time telling you've been snooped on, but that won't make it any easier to do the snooping. If you have info, they can make you turn it over whether you want to or not. What's at stake here is whether you know.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677736)

Won't make it easier? When companies can just roll over and hand over data without a warrant?

Yeah. Great.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677764)

And so can turn over anybody who has physical access to your house. No safety in that.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677940)

A lot less people have (legal) access to my house than Google's servers. Maybe you live in a commune, but I don't!

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678282)

No parents? No kids? No significant other? Oh yeah, I understand, You're on Slashdot.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678474)

If I have 10 kids and an SO, that's 11 people. Still fewer than the number of Google employees running around their data centers.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (5, Funny)

hallux.sinister (1633067) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678500)

Ouch!

Actually, even if they have access to the terminal, they may not have access to the data if you have separate logins... of course, I tried something like this with my ex, once; it didn't work out real well. Separate computers turned out to be easier.

Of course, this only works if you're running a real OS. If you use Misro$oft Win/DOS, well, best of luck.

Even if your SO insists on having access to your user account and password, unless she's *NIX savvy you can always bury stuff in /usr/local/bin/whatever_arcane_sounding_subdirectory, make root the owner, and set permissions to rwx------.

If you're really worried, put the data on a separate partition, and use /etc/fstab to keep it from mounting, make an alias from the mount command to a shellscript that quietly wipes that partition, and overwrites it with garbage, unless you mount it with the correct alternate command...

Yeah, guess I'm a little paranoid.

~Hal

If you're worried about your privacy, don't forget to rm -rf /home/[username]/.macromedia everytime you logout.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (2, Insightful)

minderaser (28934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678304)

That is exactly right.

I'm astonished how many people just don't realize this.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (4, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677768)

Especially when they don't have to worry about any backlash from their customers as the government will just give them immunity from any suits after the fact.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677778)

Its much easier for them to fabricate evidence on a hard drive from your home. At least the cloud keeps them honest about the contents.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678238)

Data on a hard drive in your house can be as accessible over the Internet as data in the cloud, assuming that the hard drive is hooked up to a computer that's connected to the Internet. The only difference is, "'Data is now sitting on servers outside of your control". That has nothing to do with "the cloud". Any hosted service has the same weakness.

Yes, sure, if you store all your data on a single company's server, then that means people only need to get access to that company's servers in order to get all of your data. Maybe people don't understand that, but it shouldn't be news to anyone here.

Finally, yes, Google is in a scary position right now. Not only might they have access to your search results, but if you use Gmail then they have your email and if you use Google Docs then they have your documents. Right now, Google has a lot of access to a lot of data, which is exactly why people think their "don't be evil" mantra is so important. If Google chooses to abuse their position, they could cause a lot of problems.

So ultimately, this isn't an issue of "the cloud". It's an issue of how companies (or particular companies) are allowed to use personal data, and whether they're providing sufficient privacy protection to their customers. Warning people is fine, but I kind of have to wonder what the law says. Is the law protecting us as well as it should? If not, if citizens aren't protected well enough, then maybe we should be looking into that instead of just warning people.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

minderaser (28934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678364)

Do people here really use Gmail? Really?

I kind of thought I was old school, maybe I need to edumicate some of you youngsters.

After, of course, you get off my lawn.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678780)

Yeah, people use it. It's a web email service from the biggest, baddest web provider out there. Why wouldn't they?

I don't have a gmail account, for the same reason as you. But not everyone is meta-thinking this.

You know Myspace is owned by Rupert Murdoch, right? (FOXNews) Has this stopped anyone from telling you to "go to my Myspace?"

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

minderaser (28934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679090)

As a matter of fact, people have told me to go to MySpace. And they also tell me to get in touch with them on Facebook.

I decline.

But, I have to say that it's interesting and informative that Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox(Faux?)News also owns MySpace. Really, when does one get rich ENOUGH? Seriously, it just boggles my mind that some people can not ever fulfill their greed.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678982)

Sure. My home Internet stinks so I can't easily run my own mail server. Once I'm using a hosted solution, Gmail is about as good a solution as any. What's the problem?

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678390)

Simple: Don't keep anything important anywhere you can't control 100%.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (1)

number11 (129686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678630)

Finally, yes, Google is in a scary position right now. Not only might they have access to your search results, but if you use Gmail then they have your email and if you use Google Docs then they have your documents. Right now, Google has a lot of access to a lot of data, which is exactly why people think their "don't be evil" mantra is so important. If Google chooses to abuse their position, they could cause a lot of problems.

Which is why running programs like TrackMeNot and SquiggleSR (Firefox extensions) is good. They won't help with your mail or docs, but they'll muddy your search history pretty thoroughly. I figure my LAN does a couple hundred thousand more-or-less random searches per year. Somewhere in that haystack are my few hundred real searches. Well, assuming I don't use a proxy or another search engine for those.

Re:They can know about you, do you know about them (3, Informative)

neorush (1103917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678356)

Only a subpoena is needed to get a company to hand over data its called "subpoena duces tecum" basically it orders a person give physical evidence to the ordering court or face punishment. Subpoena's are not the same as warrants, and because they are akin to a testimony they are very easy to have issued, and you do not need to be notified because they are often related to the authorities building a case against you, as opposed to something like a warrant, where YOUR physical property is searched. Read the TOS, a company is within its rights to hand this over to the authorities.

One impotant difference (1)

hallux.sinister (1633067) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678362)

rm -rf /home/user/Important\ Data\ I\ Don\'t\ Want\ Anyone\ Else\ To\ Have

is easier to execute on localhost.localdomain than on Googe's machines.

Before you mention forensic data recovery, consider the less-oft used option to the rm command: --sledgehammer. This can be run on your home-box, whereas it is much harder to do to Google's servers strategically placed in EMP-Hardened underground bomb-shelters.

Power is nothing without control.

~Hal

We'll be right back after this from the cloud. (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677746)

Most cloud services these days are funded by companies who have ad interests too. Google has the web's largest ad network, Amazon loves to sell things, Microsoft has an ad platform too. Will what you post on MySpace suddenly influence which ad you see when you're watching Fox? Should it?

Re:We'll be right back after this from the cloud. (2, Funny)

CyDharttha (939997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678012)

It would be great if I saw ads on TV pertaining to my interests, instead of constant drug commercials pertaining to urinating problems or lose weight fast schemes.

Re:We'll be right back after this from the cloud. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678048)

Yeah, but they've got to sell those weight loss schemes somehow. Would you please link your Google Health weight statistic to your TV ad interest form?

Re:We'll be right back after this from the cloud. (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678400)

Whoa, I had never heard of Google Health.

Thanks!

No. (5, Informative)

Rossman (593924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677748)

"Do you think the average consumer even has a clue about this issue?" No. And they don't care, and can't be made to care.

Re:No. (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679110)

"Do you think the average consumer even has a clue about this issue?" No. And they don't care, and can't be made to care.

... until something happens to them, personally. They just don't believe in prevention, that's all.

I am not a consumer! (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679268)

This is really the biggest problem with the whole system right now. An active citizenry is required to make any democratic or pseudo-democratic system function properly, and a consumer is the precise opposite of an active citizen.

I was just thinking about this today (3, Insightful)

t0qer (230538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677766)

My friend that works as google gave me a droid G3 phone for christmas. I guess they all got the nexus this year so he was giving me last years present. It doesn't have a SIM card in it, and I don't have it activated on a cell network. I don't really have any intentions on doing so either.

I let my 4 year old daughter play with it. There's a coloring book application called Zebra Paint. Today though I hear the phone talking.

"Hello? Heloo? Emergency 911"

I guess even without a phone plan, you can still use these things for 911?

I politely told the 911 operator what happened. He told me to be careful letting my girl play with it and that was that.

Scary thing though, this thing has GPS. If someone really wanted to track me down they could. Even without a cell phone plan or sim card in the device.

Re:I was just thinking about this today (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677792)

Yep. Anything that connects to any phone network must allow dialing of 911 even when no service is being paid for. In fact, most modern cell phones make it easier to dial 911 when there's no paid service.

Re:I was just thinking about this today (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30677954)

Oh please, quit the scaremongering. This thing has GPS - so what? If someone really wanted to track you down, they could? Really? how the hell would they? The device has a GPS receiver, big deal. There's still no way to access the GPS data received by the device. No way to tell you have such a device. No way to tell, which device is yours.

Re:I was just thinking about this today (-1, Troll)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677964)

If you are really worried about it, don't accept phones from strangers.

If you can't manage that, take out the batteries.

If you continue to worry, smash the device to destroy the secret battery.

Re:I was just thinking about this today (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678134)

If you continue to worry, smash the device to destroy the secret battery.

You are mistaken. Only after melting the device in the fiery lava flows of Mount Doom will it truly be safe.

Re:I was just thinking about this today (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678788)

And then you must go on a cleansing ritual. Order this special water from me I'll give it to you for half off because you are a slashdotter, just email me your name, address, credit card numbers, social security number and 5th grade locker combonation and I'll send it to you.

Re:I was just thinking about this today (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678152)

How could they find that particular device? If you don't have it associated with a cell provider account then it's not associated with your name in any way. It's just a MAC address connected to a wifi network behind a NAT.

You're right to worry about 911 though. When you're connected to E911, all security bets are off. Manufacturers of phones for the US are required by law to make sure that a connected E911 operator has access to the cell phone's location, either by some weird cell triangulation or by GPS. I wouldn't be surprised if this part is buried deep into the hard-coded closed-source part of Android.

Re:I was just thinking about this today (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678292)

Yes, FCC mandates it actually.

Re:I was just thinking about this today (3, Informative)

Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678430)

No, they cannot. GPS is one way, receiving timestamps via radio transmitted via multiple transmitters, then it does some fun maths involving the speed of light, and relativity. It requires the cellular link to transmit it's location to 911 via E911 services, but with the default firmware of your phone they can't remotely turn this on directly as it's not part of the E911 functionality. In order for them to turn it on remotely, they need to push a firmware patch to the handset which disables any GPS icon indications, and enables the vendor-specific command set. On top of that they have to figure out which handset is yours, which is going to be hard without an associated account with a valid GSM provider in your area. However, if they had previous knowledge of your IMEI/ESN, they could use that to locate you as IMEI/ESNs are globally unique to each GSM handset.

Also, the GPS is overkill since they can passively monitor your location via triangulation of your cellular link. This is the most likely method of monitoring, as it won't kill your battery life(tipping you off), it's passive requiring no interaction with the handset, it doesn't require the GPS chip to initialize and possibly download the GPS ephemeris if it's a cold start(which will take 40s minimum due to the 50bits/s).

Also, they could theoretically do it without a warrant if they used their _own_ equipment and knew your CDMA code - anyone can listen in to any radio transmission in the US, though decrypting a GSM/CDMA signal may be illegal. No decryption is necessary though, as long as they know your timeslot(GSM's tdm)/code(cdma).

Re:I was just thinking about this today (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678818)

More likely won't kill your battery life, allowing you to stay on the line longer, and increasing your chances of survival.

If you are really being hunted you throw the cell away. If someone is hunting you and you don't know about it well it is much easier to nab someone going about their normal routine and that doesn't require cellphone tracking just some observations.

Re:I was just thinking about this today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678524)

Scary thing though, this thing has GPS. If someone really wanted to track me down they could. Even without a cell phone plan or sim card in the device.

They can track you down due your cell transmitting its position (thats why 911 is possible). But, GPS is just a data receiver. Nobody can track you if all you had was a GPS device (sans mobile).

Re:I was just thinking about this today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678564)

Can it still make phone calls in Airplane Mode? How about if its antenna is torn out? I'm confident you could defeat the GPS if you can find its GPS ant and tear that out... or, just don't use it outside.

Woah (2, Funny)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677780)

I'm just shocked the FTC is seemingly saying that easy access for law enforcement is a good thing.

Sanity in a government agency?! Cats and dogs living together? Mass hysteria?

Re:Woah (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677818)

Grr, I meant:

I'm just shocked the FTC is seemingly saying that easy access for law enforcement is a bad thing.

Re:Woah (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677872)

FTC is just doing its job... government access isn't a bad thing to them, but people afraid of government snooping is bad for business.

Re:Woah (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677896)

The only reference to law enforcement in the letter concerns the FTC's own actions against businesses that violate privacy laws. Have they taken a position somewhere else regarding law enforcement agency access to data in the cloud?

Would somebody think of the future of our data? (3, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677806)

All hard drives will fail eventually. Flash memory drives are starting to outlast them, but those will fail someday too. CD/DVDs age poorly. Nothing is safe in your house anyway.

So, a cloud with a big RAID where dead drives are replaced with no loss in a nice safe datacenter sounds like a nice option. The problem with that is that clouds are run by companies, and no company lasts forever either. Look at what happened to drive.com.... they were bought by AOL, and then thrown out. Users were given a couple of months to retrieve their data, after which everything was deleted.

Is there any way to write data and then 10 years later get that same data back?

Re:Would somebody think of the future of our data? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678084)

Is there any way to write data and then 10 years later get that same data back?

Yup, it's called putting it on optical discs, then putting them in a safe, dry location. I use many cd's that are over 10 years old and I've never had a problem.

Re:Would somebody think of the future of our data? (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678172)

Is there any way to write data and then 10 years later get that same data back?

/me glances over at the bookshelf.

Yep, still there.

Re:Would somebody think of the future of our data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678422)

So you print all your personal data and photos?

Re:Would somebody think of the future of our data? (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678722)

The problem with that is that clouds are run by companies, and no company lasts forever either.

That is not even remotely the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that clouds are run by corporations, and corporations last forever. Someone else can actually win the right of stewardship over your data as part of a bankruptcy settlement.

Is there any way to write data and then 10 years later get that same data back?

Sure, it's called DVDs from Verbatim, stored in a cool dark place. If you mean "on the internet" then the answer is to get web hosting, and move data from host to host as necessary (e.g. when they go out of business.) But of course, you've got to have some excellent encryption. Luckily that will cost you $0.

Re:Would somebody think of the future of our data? (2, Interesting)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678772)

I have CDs almost 20 years old that still run just fine, and these weren't exactly sealed in a moisture controlled vault; more like a cardboard box in a closet. With proper upkeep and some redundancy, MOST mediums will probably last much longer than 10 years.

use encryption (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677846)

strong encryption means they can't access it no matter where the data is. why are we even talking about this?

Re:use encryption (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677856)

Because they can force you to give up your crypto key or go to jail infinitely, which is a worse punishment than anything short of death.

Re:use encryption (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677952)

They really can't ya know.. just remember these three words: "I don't recall". End of story.

Re:use encryption (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678076)

They really can't ya know.. just remember these three words: "I don't recall". End of story.

Not in the UK [theregister.co.uk] .

Re:use encryption (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678558)

Unless the UK has invented/discovered telepathy, they still cannot FORCE you to divulge the key against your will.

Although in the real world, I would agree prison time and violence work pretty well most of the time .

Re:use encryption (1)

enoz (1181117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678622)

Surprisingly you appear to be quite Safe in OZ [news.com.au]

Re:use encryption (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678726)

Dunno about that [74.125.95.132] .

* While being interrogated, a detainee has to
                    o Answer all questions
                    o Provide all information or material requested of them
                    o Prove that they do not have the material requested—if they are unable to do so and do not provide the material they can be imprisoned for up to 5 years

Re:use encryption (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679200)

At the local Fareham police station he was served with the section 49 notice. Signed by CTC's Superintendent Bell, it said: "I hereby require you to disclose a key or any supporting evidence to make the information intelligible."

JFL maintained his silence throughout the one hour time limit imposed by the notice. He was charged with ten offences under section 53 of RIPA Part III, reflecting the multiple passphrases needed to decrypt his various implementations of PGP Whole Disk Encryption and PGP containers.

Reading comprehension, you failed it.

Just say the words "I don't recall" and there is nothing they can do. Refusing to give them the keys is exactly what the law requires to incarcerate you, so don't do that!

Re:use encryption (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679234)

The cop said I hereby require you to disclose a key or any supporting evidence to make the information intelligible.

From that standpoint silence and "I don't recall" are exactly the same. Do you have more information about "section 53 of RIPA Part III" than me?

Re:use encryption (1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679270)

Mike, why are you being a dick?

Silence and "I don't recall" are not the same.. not even slightly.. not only that, the guy had refused to answer other questions already.

If the police come to you and want to ask some questions, ask for your lawyer.. if they suggest you hand over some encryption keys, immediately ask "to what?" and when they point out your encrypted drive/files immediately say "oh, I have no idea, that was a long time ago". If they seek a warrant to force you to produce the keys you simply have to stick to your story. They can't prove otherwise, so you'll be fine.

Re:use encryption (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677966)

Because the vast majority of data that is in the cloud isn't encrypted at all. The concern here isn't what the paranoid crypto geeks like you or me are doing (and even then there's always the truth about that http://xkcd.com/538/ [xkcd.com] ). The concern from the FTC is that people don't realize that their unencrypted data is easily accessible to large companies. The FTC's job isn't to be worried about the nerds but to be worried about what the general population knows about. Whether a tiny fraction of the population is using encryption doesn't impact the FTC's concerns at all.

Re:use encryption (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678056)

If I own a hard disk the contents might appear random. This random data might be encrypted content or the disk may have come like that. If I upload a file to a cloud service every byte in that file is assumed to mean something, so otherwise why did I upload it?

There is less plausible deniability with cloud storage.

Re:use encryption (1)

Jenming (37265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678220)

If you need to deny not only the contents of the encrypted file, but the actual existence of the encrypted file then just upload a bunch of actually random files. It may look a little suspicious, but no more so than having Truecrypt installed on your computer.

Re:use encryption (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678284)

You will need to explain why you uploaded files containing only random data. That is going to look very suspect.

Re:use encryption (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678642)

Just explain that you are a very bad typist.

Re:use encryption (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678334)

A better method is to use something like the Truecrypt hidden partition and then store something mildly sensitive in the alternate part. Makes it hard for them to demonstrate that you've not disclosed the password they're looking for.

Re:use encryption (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679312)

If I own a hard disk the contents might appear random. This random data might be encrypted content or the disk may have come like that. If I upload a file to a cloud service every byte in that file is assumed to mean something, so otherwise why did I upload it?

There is less plausible deniability with cloud storage.

So therefore having a swap file makes your encrypted data more secure?

All Muslims, read this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30677902)

FUCK MUHAMMAD!!! FUCK ALLAH!!! FUCK ISLAM!!!!

your so-called brothers in afganistan are fucking 13 year old boys in the ass. how does allah feel about that shit?

Re:All Muslims, read this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678248)

Dear sir,

All infidels must be killed because Islam is the religion of peace.

Now, if you will excuse me for one moment...

!!! ALLAHU AKBAR !!! *pushes detonator*

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678456)

+1 : willing to tell the uncomfortable truth.

A public well is easily poisoned (4, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677916)

so the net change is that you'll have a harder time telling you've been snooped on

It's also easier to hide things you don't want to be seen. GMail can turn over your emails, but if they're encrypted, even with something simple [fourmilab.ch] , it will be harder to make it useful. How many secret messages I have hidden in the pictures I email around or post online? Who has the resources to check every one?

Searches can be masked using TOR and private browsing. Again, not bullet proof, but it doesn't have to be. Just enough to poison the data and make it unreliable. Go buy a pre-paid phone with cash and take the battery out of your regular cell phone at random intervals. You're not trying to create a smoke screen, just sow doubt.

That's if you're worried about it.

Law enforcement may think search data and social media information is some kind of lucky charm, but it's pretty easy to spoil that data, leave false trails and really easy to hide things. If they gain confidence catching stupid people, all the better for those with a little clue.

Re:A public well is easily poisoned (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678002)

Go buy a pre-paid phone with cash and take the battery out of your regular cell phone at random intervals.

How quickly we forget... If you pay for a phone with cash, you've consented to a wiretap. They want to know who you are. If you fail to identify yourself by recharging with a credit card, they keep wondering. If too many minutes are bought by cash, they start raising the price for everybody in the region. Okay, so the investigation on this was done by an organization that also employs Ryan Seacrest. Still, it's true.

Re:A public well is easily poisoned (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678490)

WHAT? Do you mean I legally consent to wiretap if I pay cash for a cell phone? Or do you mean you get your name on the grey list (of people to be monitored) if you ever do it. Either way, do you seriously believe it is happening?

PS: more and more I read your posts, I am beginning to doubt your motives for posting in almost every story on slashdot. Frankly do you get paid to do this? By any chance, do you own frustrationtrivia.com or are employed by it to do this?

Re:A public well is easily poisoned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679198)

Mod Parent UP!

What about private companies? (4, Insightful)

bezenek (958723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30677962)

Side note: The article should have mentioned gmail.

Companies change. Look at Sun Microsystems. Suppose Google ends up needing money. What is going to stop them from allowing me / your mother in law / the king of Sweden from paying to dig through all of the data they have related to you? This might not be done directly through Google, but through a "nice, responsible company" which has paid for access to Google's data. If Google makes the data available to other companies, who knows what those entities might do with it?

We need legislation and a way to verify compliance!

Of course, it would be good if the legislation also protected our data from the Department of Homeland Security, but I do not expect lawmakers to be able to do the right thing there anytime soon.

-Todd

Re:What about private companies? (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679060)

Of course, it would be good if the legislation also protected our data from the Department of Homeland Security

Of course, the real question with the government is, what happens when they don't follow the law? If all they have to do is say, "... but we're protecting you from terrorists," and people accept that as an excuse for the government breaking its own laws, then now law can protect us.

I'm starting to feel old. (5, Interesting)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678016)

With our lives stored on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. does today's younger generation even appreciate/want privacy?

Everyone knows who your friends are, what movies you like, that your cereal this morning looked like a smiley-face until your dog knocked it over.

Is our view of privacy outdated?

Re:I'm starting to feel old. (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678360)

Not really, just because a large number of people are idiots, doesn't mean that privacy is outdated. What it means is that many people lack judgment and are willing to expose themselves to people that may or may not be psychopathic killers in order to fulfill some sort of narcissistic tendency. Really, the solution is either education or making it legal to kill people that have such serious lack of judgment.

Re:I'm starting to feel old. (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678718)

"Not really, just because a large number of people are idiots, doesn't mean that privacy is outdated. "

I think privacy as we knew it is outdated due to our technology. We are essentially living in a small town where everybody knows all about everybody else. Except that most people think they are anonymous to those outside of their circle.

Re:I'm starting to feel old. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678634)

I'm old too.

Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End [wikipedia.org] is the only case I've ever seen made for the "new" notion of privacy. Sounds like a pretty cool world in which to live, but I'm not convinced the real post-privacy world will end up anywhere near as cool.

Re:I'm starting to feel old. (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678654)

"Is our view of privacy outdated?"

Probably.

We had the luxury of having that privacy because it was difficult to have that level of knowledge about most people. That level of knowledge or lack of privacy tended to be limited to people living in small towns or people who came to the attention of large organizations/governments. Thanks to the wonders of technology it has come to the masses.

Re:I'm starting to feel old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678832)

No.

As a kinkster in a large metropolitan area, I can say that remaining safe, knowing people, and getting as much good information as possible is much easier with the rise of the internet.
Should law enforcement wonder why I bought knives, fire-making implements, rope, hangers, chains, heaven knows what, couldn't they surmise I'm doing something devious and come after me without my knowing, all under the guise of "security"?
If they get ahold of emails it could out dozens, maybe hundreds of people in the community, many with prominent jobs of great trust and responsibility.

Privacy is not outdated. The more information we have available to us, the more critical it is that we understand that those access it need privacy for many reasons.

What I do in my spare time is MY OWN BUSINESS. As long as it ultimately hurts no one, then "the law" should keep their mitts off!

Re:I'm starting to feel old. (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678932)

>Is our view of privacy outdated?

Not exactly. Privacy is as important as it ever was.

Without privacy, you cannot "pull off" anything vs anyone else. You cannot be the first to market a product, because the competitors know what you're going to do.

The lack of privacy is an assault on your being. You have a right to your own thoughts. You have a right to control the information that flows out from your body.

Take a simple example. My grandmother hated being photographed. I have no photographs of her. That was her choice.

Privacy is nothing less than an extension of property ownership since we conquered the Indians. If you take for granted that nobody can steal your CD player, then privacy is just the same.

Kids these days are living in a loosely privatized online world for the sake of convenience. It helps them make friends. The idea that their privacy is important is not diminished by the ease with which we take it from them.

Re:I'm starting to feel old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679314)

With our lives stored on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. does today's younger generation even appreciate/want privacy?

Everyone knows who your friends are, what movies you like, that your cereal this morning looked like a smiley-face until your dog knocked it over.

Is our view of privacy outdated?

Hell no. Just because a lot of people are idiots doesn't mean I have to be one too.

In fact, I don't really care if the vast majority of people openly share their private lives, because that just means that the people who WANT to find out about private lives don't have to TRY HARD to get what they want. Which means:

*I* don't have to try hard to HIDE my private life from those same people.

Think about it, all you have to do is make it unprofitable (literally or figuratively) to pry into your private data RELATIVE to the majority. Then you'll be left alone, because why bother going after the guy in the back when you have millions lining up on your front door waiting to give you every detail about themselves?

I'm not sure if this is sad or laughable (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678018)

"Once data passes over the network, it gets much easier to access in realtime; once it is stored on a remote server, it gets much easier to access at any time."

It sounds like the FCC needs to get educated about security. Do they really think it is easier to crack an SSL session in realtime or hack Google than it is to hack into a (typical mismanaged / malware ridden) Windows box?

Your data is already in systems all over the world, including financial institutions and government agencies. While the banks aren't easily hackable, many a local and federal system have been shown to be woefully mismanaged and easily hacked. Why is Google so different? OK, I admit it is different. Google probably keeps your data much more safe from hackers than the FCC and other government agencies.

Is it an added risk? Yes. Is it something that people should be up in arms about? Of course not. I won't advance a theory on where this bull comes from, lest I be modded down by those who don't like it, but use your imagination ;-)

Google's domination makes this much worse. (3, Insightful)

doug20r (1436837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678066)

Google reserves their right to suspend services for any reason in most of their terms and they do exercise this right by suspending people for life from the use of their services. Becoming dependant on Google's services, or being dependant on a market they dominate, leads to a large penalty and damage when services are suspended. Google will suspend services based on their suspicion alone, and clearly use data collected to make decisions. Their investigations are held in secret, based on secret information, giving the victim no chance to defend it, and this is not fair treatment. It has become so bad that employers are asking job applicants if they have ever been suspended from Google services to avoid the risk that Google will suspend the employers services. Clearly something needs to be done, but what can they really do?

Re:Google's domination makes this much worse. (3, Interesting)

Wovel (964431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678240)

I would loved to see some documented sources on this. What google service were you suspended from? The only two services I am aware of them ever suspending anyone from are Adsense and Adwords and they usually have pretty good reasons. I suppose if you were using their mail servers to pump out spam they might shutdown your gmail account.

Re:Google's domination makes this much worse. (1)

doug20r (1436837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678714)

Check the Adwords forum to see numerous complaints: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/AdWords/ [google.com] People have also reported being suspended from Google Checkout. Your assumption that they 'usually have good reasons' is wrong. They will suspend people based on their suspicions alone, and they will investigate in secret and you are highly unlikely to be contacted to defend yourself. The bottom line is that they reserve the right to suspend for any reason, which is not fair given their dominance, and not an acceptable standard in the free world.

No. (4, Insightful)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678098)

The average consumer cares about nothing more than having their immediate wants gratified. Notice I didn't say *needs*. And they are not willing to put in the effort to understand the consequences of their actions, either due to unintentional or willful ignorance.

This is not every consumer, but the average one.

There is no other possible way that I can explain American Idol. ;)

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679026)

Man, give this guy hit the nail on the head. I know people who think cable is more important than rent. I am often confounded how stupid the average american is these days.

Without Your Permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678102)

This article reminds me of a Blog Post from last year where the Pretty-Well-Regarded Hosting Company rimuhosting.com, gained root access (broke in) to a customers Virtual Machine [aaronsw.com] when the customer explicitly stated that he would not give them root access.

A long discussion ensued [ycombinator.com] where people said such silly comments suggesting that you should not expect privacy for a $20 server. If you get no privacy for $20, what kind of privacy should you expect from Google's Free Cloud...?

Don't you want target ads? (1)

GunpowderTreason (1576845) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678162)

So I guess my question on the ad portion of this topic is do you guys really care? I would rather see ads for products I'm interested in than things I'm not. On Hulu if it would let me choose between Best Buy and Tampax ads I'm gonna choose Best Buy every time. So I don't really mind that. The thing is that there is obviously a line somewhere along the way. For me that point was when I had emails about church meetings (I'm a Mormon and not ashamed of it) and the ads were for sites attacking my religion. For me that personally crossed a line but I really don't mind seeing ads for sports or tech instead of makeup and pads. Thoughts?

Maybe off topic, but I've just got to say... (1)

hallux.sinister (1633067) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678672)

I can't help but wonder why everyone lately is attacking Mormonism. My suspicion is that people are jealous about the whole "multiple wives" thing. I don't blame them. I've walked the streets of Salt Lake City, (just passing through, absolutely true-story, by the way) and stayed at the Best Western, the 10 or 11 story one down-town? While there, I walked to a Chinese restaurant on a Saturday night, about 8 or 10 blocks to the south.

Along the way, I started to count the drop-dead-gorgeous, movie-star caliber girls I passed on the sidewalk, and lost count somewhere around 25. At the restaurant, I saw a woman who was dining with some of her friends, she looked like a cross between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Neve Campbell. I caught myself thinking "screw California, I wish they all could be Salt Lake City... girls!"

I think the attacks on Mormonism (if that's the term) are mainly by guys, and rooted in jealousy, and I can't say I'm surprised. Even toyed with the idea of converting myself. If I'd known that by converting, I'd be allowed not one, but several of these stunning cuties, I would have done it on the spot!

:-)

Re:Maybe off topic, but I've just got to say... (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678946)

Because they forbid sex before marriage, which means a lot of 17-year-old couples (e.g. high school) get married just to have sex.

Also, they have been known to railroad 14-year-old girls into marrying Elders of the Church. That's nothing short of child abuse.

Yeah, the women are hot, but it's the decadence that matters.

Two rules (4, Interesting)

Jenming (37265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678194)

Backup your important data.
Encrypt your sensitive data.

These two steps are as important and effective with the cloud as they are with any other form of storage.

Actually, worse is the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30678256)

Where people who have no important, much less critical data, don't know much about computers, but are constantly told about the dangers of this and that.

They are afraid to store their data (you know their recipie book spreadsheet, etc.) in "the cloud" because of course Google employees will read it on their lunch break. The same people are afraid to use their credit card online, even with Amazon or other big SSL encrypted sites. They hear stories of danger, but they don't have online common sense to know what's safe, and what's not, so they abstain entirely. Too much "The sky is falling" isn't helpful to those kinds of people.

We all know that Google and other companies are not going to typically rifle through your documents because:
a. You aren't that important - why you?
b. You are one person among billions of accounts - why you?
c. None of the sites trying to sell cloud services will risk their reputation over something so petty. Google is selling gmail and google docs to thousands of large enterprise customers already. Do you think they are going to risk revenue so easily? No, of course not. That's nothing to do with "being evil" or not, it's simple economics - they need people to trust them, which means they need to be trustworth in general.

Google are abstracting info-currency (1)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678310)

Its soooo damn easy, to google,gmail, voice, maps, phone, etc... who cares? Until you have to pay for access to your own info-sets, you won't know how much you value your privacy.

We are so screwed Google surpassed 1984 in a blink of an eye. Only google's data can protect us from ourselves!

I doubt it (3, Interesting)

Rehnberg (1618505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30678592)

Really, most people don't realize how much information is IN the cloud. For example, my mom was very surprised to discover that her email redownloaded after she deleted it from her computer.

My metric is WSJ's Walt Mossberg (2, Interesting)

Flexagon (740643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679290)

He has reviewed cloud backup and other services, yet never mentioned the legal differences between cloud based service storage and storage on your own in-house machine. That indicates that it's not interesting to his audience, which is telling. NPR recently did an article [publicradio.org] on how the domain holder of your email service is noticed by your potential job interviewer. Their comparison was between Yahoo! and of course AOL on one side (you're a LUser), and GMail on the other. Guess whose privacy actually suffers the most. This is definitely not understood.

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