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Who Cares If Privacy Is Slipping Away?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the going-going dept.

393

IAmTheDave writes, "This morning MSNBC's home page is topped by the opening story in a series, Privacy Under Attack, But Does Anybody Care? Privacy rights have been debated to death here on Slashdot, but this article attempts to understand people's ambivalence towards the decline of privacy. The article discusses how over 60 percent of Americans — while somewhat unable to quantify what exactly privacy is and what's being lost — feel a pessimism about privacy rights and their erosion. However, a meager 6-7% polled have actually taken any steps to help preserve their privacy. The article's call to action: '...everyone has secrets they don't want everyone else to know, and it's never too late to begin a discussion about how Americans' right to privacy can be protected.'"

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Moo (4, Funny)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454775)

I, for one, love having no privacy. After all, what do i have to hide? I can only say how much i love our new state.

It's not like i am bold enough to print secret messages.

Re:Moo (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455245)

I saw your secret message. Why do you hate freedom so much? I think you need to be reeducated to know why 'freedom' is good and 'tyranny' is bad.

Re:Moo (1)

ypmits (903463) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455275)

Very funny indeed :)

+1 funny (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455279)

I wish I had a mod point for you.

Re:Moo (1)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455529)

It's not like i am bold enough
There's just something about this part of the message that seems like it's trying to tell me something. I just don't really know what.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16454779)

Who cares if your first post is slipping away?

"Real life" (5, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454815)

No body has time to care any more, we're worked so hard we don't even have time for our children. Why would privacy matter to you when you're already tied to a mobile phone and work 15 hours a day?

Privacy issues won't arise for the general public untill it's them directly affected. They see no reason to care untill they see what happens when they don't care.

Re:"Real life" (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454987)

Privacy issues won't arise for the general public untill it's them directly affected. They see no reason to care untill they see what happens when they don't care.

Oh Americans are directly affected right now. They are under constant video surveillance, their government is "legally" spying on them and their friends, and their bank records are closely watched for "terrorism". We aren't allowed to protest publically if the President is affected, we aren't allowed to voice our opinions silently "in there" without a hassle and threats of police action, and we aren't allowed to protest publically w/o the threat of being added to a FBI watchlist for "Homeland Terrorism".

So, while Americans are conditioned to believe that they are not having their privacy and freedoms infringed on, it is.

Re:"Real life" (4, Insightful)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455181)

You are mistaking "abused" for "directly affected" The examples you just stated in no way shape or form get in the way of a person's daily business or leisure activities. If you aren't protesting something then how do you even KNOW you can't protest it anymore?

Re:"Real life" (4, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455339)

Yes they are effected but how directly? Has most of the US populous been pegged as a terrorist because of something they did and been interrogated/had their world turned upside-down in a home search? Have any of them had a secret of theirs become public and suffered embarrassment or legal recourse because of it? Have any of them had their rights change so dramatically that it interrupts their daily routines beyond slower entry through security checkpoints.

Yes the things in motion do effect the citizens of the US (and others as well) but not yet to the point where it pops their little bubble of a happy world. Basically unless these violations of privacy come up and slap these people across the face HARD and knock them out of their daily grind onto their ass they're going to continue to be apathetic about it and ignore it.

Re:"Real life" (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455515)

"Has most of the US populous been pegged as a terrorist "

Total unwarranted domestic surveillance justified as "Foreign Terrorist Surveillance", so yea, the Feds consider us all Foreign Terrorists...

Re:"Real life" (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455571)

Has most of the US populous been pegged as a terrorist because of something they did and been interrogated/had their world turned upside-down in a home search?

Thanks for proving that Americans are conditioned to believe that they aren't being directly affected and that as long as the government is creepily looking "from a distance" that it doesn't matter.

Re:"Real life" (5, Interesting)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455689)

>Has most of the US populous been pegged as a terrorist because of something they did and been interrogated

Try being a photographer in Fortress America these days - particularly one with an interest in transportation and industrial settings. Trust me, it sucks. Most of us are pretty much resigned to the inevitable visit from a three-letter agency.

Re:"Real life" (0, Troll)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455535)

You sir have been hitting the Kool-Aid rather heavily havent you.

Re:"Real life" (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455103)

Privacy issues won't arise for the general public untill it's them directly affected. They see no reason to care untill they see what happens when they don't care.

And as people in Germany found, sometimes when it's a matter of pain, you can't do anything anyway, because the gestapo will haul your ass off somewhere for the SS Totenkopfverband to kick the shit out of you and then hang you up in public as an example of what happens to traitors. Then your country will be bombed or whatever until there's only half the population left. Well, is that all it takes to get rid of a despot? Let me know when the revolution starts, I'll be busy with figuring out how to play mp3's in my car.

Re:"Real life" (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455223)

Let me know when the revolution starts, I'll be busy with figuring out how to play mp3's in my car.

Dude, this is America. You don't "figure it out", you go out and buy a new car stereo -- or more preferrably a new car -- that has an iPod dock built in. You then go out and buy a Genuine Apple iPod(tm) to plug in. Oh, and while we're at it, they aren't "mp3s" they are "tunez", also soon to be a TM of Apple. Make sure to spend several hundred $$ on Apple's iTunes (TM) for over-processed, teeny bopper, psuedo-music.

Get it thru your head, you are NOT a citizen, you are a CONSUMER. Go consume something! Help our economy! If you don't the terrorists will win!

Re:"Real life" (2, Insightful)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455179)

Speak for yourself!

I have been working for close to 25 years and have never accepted a position that requires more than 40hrs/week. Any company requiring you to work more, is badly managed and should be avoided at all cost.

Re:"Real life" (2, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455247)

Even if privacy rights were severely eroded, most people are just too lazy to do anything about it. Heck, there could be a line on this year's ballot asking 'Do you want to give up all your rights and have the United States become a fascist dictatorship led by a computer simulation of Hitler?', and everyone would be complaining to no end ... but we'd still probably only have a 35% voter turnout.

Re:"Real life" (5, Insightful)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455281)

The thing about privacy these days, is that enough Americans are afraid of their neighbours, that the government can exploit their fear to take away privacy from everyone. Americans see what happens to people who speak out against the administration: Colin Powell, and V. Plame are prime examples of people who have had their careers destroyed because of the current administration. No one in power is fighting for the average American. Instead the government and its media mouthpieces tell Americans what they should be afraid of: veggies, terrorists, Canadian beef, and analogue TV, so their friends in industry can continue to get away with indirect murder while they rape the earths resources for their own benefit. It's a nice little racket for them.

People tend not to take on things much bigger than them. When the leading front runner for a president to replace the one we have now, is the wife of the previous president, people should smell something is rotten in Denmark. But even if they did realize that it's fishy only two or four families have a shot at governing the country of 300,000,000 people, what's one person going to do about it if they have to work 9 hours a day just to live and eat where they are?

If I may put it in context. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455587)

Paraphrased and updated:

First they came for the communist terrorists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist terrorist;
Then they came for the socialist terrorists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist terrorist;
Then they came for the trade unionist terrorists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist terrorist;
Then they came for the Jew terrorists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew terrorist;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

You lose your Rights piece by piece. And each loss is "justified" because, after all, you don't want to support the "enemy", do you? You don't want to be a "traitor", do you?

Fascism begins when the efficiency of the government becomes more important than the Rights of the People.

Re:"Real life" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455721)

Well, I am angry. I don't want strangers to know that I have a stash of Playboy and access the pr0n sites regularly for masturbatory practices. I don't want people to even think that I do that sort of thing, so ... what? ... I said what to whom?

Oh shit! ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H

I don't care about privacy 'cuz I've got nuthin' to hide.

Hardly surprising (4, Insightful)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454851)

Many people cannot see beyond their own lives and own backyards to see the big picture. Unless privacy violations are going to directly affect their lives and those they know/care about, it won't make any waves with the general population. Surveillance these days is transparent enough to make this feasible. Those that oppose these policies are made out to be shrill wackos that will dogmatically adhere to a quaint old document that is out of touch with the "post 9/11" world.

Re:Hardly surprising (2, Interesting)

Daniel832US (530981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454993)

W stated that terrorists don't like the freedoms that the US enjoys... Is the government policy to rid us of those freedoms so that the terrorists won't have a reaon to attack? Maybe this is how we're winning the war on terrorism. :(

Re:Hardly surprising (2, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455377)

Re:Hardly surprising (2, Interesting)

lordmetroid (708723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455379)

There seems to be a few people that do care. I just stumbled upon The Free State Project [freestateproject.org] which at least gives me hope. Maybe I even join them and emmigrates to New Hampshire.

Attention people from Former Soviet Russia: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455681)

On this one, Slashdotters will listen to YOU.*

*Since you doubtlessly have the experience in this one that most /'ers don't.

Interestingly, many people just give privacy away (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454863)

This has been going on for quite a long time now. Have you ever had the cable company ask for your SSN to see if they can give you service at your new home? I asked a guy in a phone boutique in the mall about a new handset; he wanted my phone service account login information to look it up for me! I see people give away this information every day to people that they should not trust, but do trust for some reason. Awareness of loss of privacy is the problem, or rather lack of it. Many people naively expect people to be trustworthy, especially when it comes to things they are not aware of, or informed about. Sadly, I think it will be a hard fight to make people aware of the precarious position that their private data is in.

Re:Interestingly, many people just give privacy aw (4, Insightful)

n7022c (918189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455143)

It's interesting to see the look of shock on a sales clerk's face when they ask "Can I have your phone number please?" as they begin to ring up my purchase, and I say "No." It's particularly fun when they clerk is a nice-looking woman and instead of saying "No." I'll ask, leeringly, "Can I have YOURS?". Point: A good first step is to stop giving out seemingly inoccuous information whenever asked. JUST SAY NO.

Re:Interestingly, many people just give privacy aw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455263)

My wife got mad at me for giving the clerks shit when they asked for my number, she said it was rude. Instead I just make up a phone number. My grocery cards are made up numbers too that are shared by a few hundred people.

Re:Interestingly, many people just give privacy aw (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455159)

Awareness of loss of privacy is the problem, or rather lack of it. Many people naively expect people to be trustworthy, especially when it comes to things they are not aware of, or informed about. Sadly, I think it will be a hard fight to make people aware of the precarious position that their private data is in.

I think this entire trend is a problem, partly because of a trend towards less and less personal responsibility and partly out of a feeling of defeat in improving our government. People give out info because they assume the government protects them from abuse of this data (as they do in many other countries). Others, feel their information is already "out there" and while they know the government does not protect them, these are the same somewhat pessimistic people who have no faith in our government or in the ability to change it. I've heard comments like, "do they even count our votes anymore?" spoken in all seriousness. And honestly, I'm not sure that they do.

The lack of concern or privacy does not surprise me because those who trust the government, assume they are protected or don't know about the privacy problems. Those that don't trust the government are the same ones who don't trust companies with their data, and they've given up on the government.

Re:Interestingly, many people just give privacy aw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455875)

Have you ever had the cable company ask for your SSN to see if they can give you service at your new home?
That's very true. They asked for my SSN. I declined. Then they asked for my Driver license #. I declined again saying that they do not need it to provide the service.

The result is that they indeed installed the service without my SSN or Driver License #.

I'm sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16454873)

I'm sorry, but for reasons of national security this may not be discussed in any way.

Dissent is Treason. Truth is Irrelevant. Ignorance is Strength.

What's good for the goose (5, Interesting)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454885)

They want to know everything but everything about me? OK, fine.

As long as I get to know everything but everything about George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condy Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and Pat Robertson. Specifically, I'd like to know their exact whereabouts at all times, what their bank account and social security #'s are. I'd also really like to know where their kids go to school and what their medical histories are.

Oh, wait. You're not ready to share that information with the rest of us? Then you can butt the hell out of my information. Anything less will be settled with guns.

Re:What's good for the goose (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455113)

Then you can butt the hell out of my information. Anything less will be settled with guns.

They already know where your guns are.

No so ironically, many of the same independent-minded correct-thinking Slashbots who claim to be in favor of privacy are all for selling out law-abiding gun owners.

Because when it was their guy in power, they don't care.

Re:What's good for the goose (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455355)

You're not ready to share that information with the rest of us? Then you can butt the hell out of my information.

You're on the right track, but the tit-for-tat principle won't solve anything. I don't care if the president wears a web-cam-helmet 24/7 -- that still doesn't grant government the slightest moral right to spy on me. (Spying is a form of harrassment as it goes against the victim's will, i.e. an initiation of force. Does your neighbor have the right to spy on your private affairs? Why not? How is government different?)

Anything less will be settled with guns.

It already has been: everything government does and could possibly do is backed by the threat of force (yes, Virginia, that means guns). Force is the essence of government. (Government is defined as the organization holding the unique "right" to initiate force or threat thereof -- i.e. employ coercion -- as its means within a given territory; anyone else who does so is a criminal. That is the only objective, unambiguous definition of government that applies to all governments past, present, and future.)

I'm just as pissed off as you are, my friend, but it was inevitable that government would eventually reach the size (measured in both revenue and power over the people) where spying on peaceful citizens is par for the course. The Bush administration certainly wasn't the first to try to spy on peaceful citizens, but they are the latest, and being the latest means holding the reigns to the most powerful government (and world empire) that has ever existed. How could it possibly have turned out any different, given the sheer size of this government? They've got to keep spending your money in order to get even more, and this is one great way to do it.

Ding Ding - We have a winner!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455475)

As I began to read through this post I was wondering how long it would take for some idiot to blame even part of this on Bill Gates. I was not surprised to read this only a few posts into the list. Phoenix666 you are todays "Moron of the Day", congratualtions and don't forget to pick up your consulation prizes on the way out.

Dipshit, read his post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455767)

It doesn't blame anybody. It says that if the gov't gets to know everything about me, we should get to know everything about them. No celebrities get special treatment, etc.

PS: You're a dipshit.

Help Youself (5, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454891)

You can't help people who don't want to be helped. As long as their basic wants are sated, most of them are too apathetic to give a shit about anything.

For those of you that do care, an easy and practical guide can be found at this website [howtobeinvisible.com] . The book is also available thru Amazon, and isn't very expensive. Used ones are usually in the $5 range. VERY useful and has been updated for post-9/11.

  Charles

Re:Help Youself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455139)

The book is also available thru Amazon, and isn't very expensive

...unless you consider giving up your credit card number, address, and email to be "expensive".

Re:Help Youself (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455259)

Get a PrivaCash card or a reloadable debit card like a Green Dot one. Use a fake name, put $20 on it and have the book shipped to a friend, relative or neighbot.

The author also sells them directly, and you can pay with cash. His reputation is worth more than your $20, so don't fear paying in cash.

Re:Help Youself (1)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455271)

There's nothing to be seen here. Please move along now.

Millions of Dead Soldiers (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454897)

Well, for United States citizens, I'd imagine that millions of soldiers who fought and most who died did so knowing that they were providing a future for their children in which the Bill of Rights would be upheld. The Revolutionary war was, in part, to protect ou privacy from English soldiers entering our homes and taking what they wanted.

World War II saw the deaths of millions of Americans to protect our rights and privacy from the Third Reich.

I think there have been millions of people who have died with the intent of their final efforts providing us a future were we are ensured a right to privacy.

I think the descendants, relatives & comrades of those people do, in fact, care about our ebbing privacy. But perhaps I just haven't been properly upgraded with the most recent version of our brainwashing firmware. "All power to the centralized government!" just ain't my thing.

Re:Millions of Dead Soldiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16454961)

Not to nit-pick, but only about 250-300,000 americans died in WW2.

Re:Millions of Dead Soldiers (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454977)

> The Revolutionary war was, in part, to protect ou privacy from English soldiers entering our homes and taking what they wanted.

On the upside, the Third Amendment has yet to fall. On the downside, we're rapidly running out of amendments. The Third is arguably the only one still intact.

Re:Millions of Dead Soldiers (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455695)

Arguably. Once we're at peace, we'll be able to find out.

Re:Millions of Dead Soldiers (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455309)

World War II saw the deaths of millions of Americans to protect our rights and privacy from the Third Reich.

Wrong. The WW-2 was because Japs attached Pearl Harbor, and NOT because we liked to go gung-ho against Hitler. Hitler was very conscious NOT to attack USA.

Privacy and Freedom had nothing to do with WW-2 or the present Iraq War.

Re:Millions of Dead Soldiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455361)

Actually, WW-2 was because of Hitler rampaging across Europe AND Pearl Harbor. Dec 7th provided the final reason for America to join the fighting. We had been "secretly" supporting the Allies since the beginning of hostilities, but the public did not want to deal with the bloodshed. Hitler didn't want us in the war until he had Europe and Russia neutralized.

Re:Millions of Dead Soldiers (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455541)

If WW2 was only because "the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor", then why did we even bother with the European theatre at all?

Re:Millions of Dead Soldiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455507)

Man, you must really hate freedom. You're strengthening the enemy.

Remember, dissent is unpatriotic.

just like urine-drug testing (4, Interesting)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454899)

I'm all for lack of privacy, as long as it applies equally to everyone, starting with our political leaders, judges, and police officers and so on.

Re:just like urine-drug testing (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455497)

I'm all for lack of privacy, as long as it applies equally to everyone, starting with our political leaders, judges, and police officers and so on.

I don't think you really are... although I share the idea of your message, which is a taste of their own medicine may be quite vile indeed.

Pfft (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454905)

They don't care, because they don't understand, sometimes willfully so. All this heavy-handed wringing and minutiae about habeas corpus...oh look! Dirty old republican!

Additionally (and not trying to be flamebait), we are talking about Americans and the American media here. I'd like to see how privacy concerns stack up in other countries, the UK being a very good dexample.

Re:Pfft (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455589)

"I'd like to see how privacy concerns stack up in other countries, the UK being a very good example."

Aren't they all subjects of The Queen, as opposed to Free People?

Seeing the number of replies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16454909)

...to this article, not many. Even slashdotters grow immune to the privacy issues.

We got nothing to hide, so why do we care ?
1984 is long gone, and we're not doing bad.
I can even go into a disco now without paying, I only have to wear some RFID-tag under my skin !
Airports have never been safer, I mean a few years back I was too afraid to fly, now see what beautiful world this has become.
My computer controls which music and videos I am allowed to see, who cares - this way I am sure that what I am doing is legal.


Really, this is so much better.

two angles on this question (3, Interesting)

perlchild (582235) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454919)

1) It's hard to quantify what's lost, and since it's being traded "for" something usually, it's rather hard to evaluate how good a deal it is, so most people don't do the exercise, since what's lost... usually isn't lost at time of purchase, but much later.

2) What's lost can have almost infinite value, one's loss of privacy could end with becoming a victim of identity theft and until it's established one's a victim, one could be accused of pretty nasty things. But that doesn't happen right away, is hard to prove, and doesn't happen to everyone.

That means that the protection seems large, unwieldy, like expensive insurance, and at some point, risky, like suing a large corporation over a five dollar item. People don't see the value of what they lose, only the value of what they lose by trying to protect some abstract value.

Until some court cases start making noise over protection of private data, I don't see that changing.

Everybody has Secrets? (4, Insightful)

muonzoo (106581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16454969)

I'm not convinced that everybody has "secrets" that they would want to hide. Some people do not. However, that said, it is critical to protect the right to privacy. People today likely don't care because they don't understand a very important thing: when things are off-line, manual and require manual investment of time and energy, they become less accessible and therefore, appear to be somewhat private. This is not true when searches and corelation can be automated.
In a society that codified and archives data and facts online, protection of information can only be assured via unassailable proofs, cryptographic methods and legislation to support this right. I think this is where the media has done all of us a disservice. We should / could all benefit from this issue being presented as a serious concern, otherwise we will soon find ourselves not only without any privacy, but without any means to defend it.

Not me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16454975)

If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear. Just what are you hiding anyway?

Re:Not me (1)

AVonGauss (1001486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455317)

I hope that was meant as sarcasm...

Re:Not me (1)

Zephyros (966835) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455401)

Why post as AC if you have nothing to hide?

Hint: define "secret" (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455003)

If I tell you something about me, it isn't a secret. If I make you promise not to tell anyone, it is still out there. If you put that secret in a database and then you sell your business, what can I do? Sue you?

There's no point to secrecy/privacy laws -- the only way to protect yourself would be to sue, and how would you afford to sue? Maybe you can get together with a few thousand people who were hurt by the same party, and class-action sue? How again does that help you?

I don't have secrets -- there's no point. I was talking to a friend about how MySpace is reducing the amount of cheating that goes on in the lives of sexually-active young adults. He didn't believe me, until he realized that its nearly impossible to burn the candles at both ends secretly -- people will find out now that information travels faster than a Sidekick 3 text message.

What do you want to keep secret? Your SSN? Too late. Your debt to income ratio? Everyone knows you don't own the house and car, friends. Privacy is not the concern -- the thing people fear is others stealing their identities. Privacy laws won't help, all it takes is on $8/hour employee seeing your information and counting the future dollar signs. If you want protection, protect yourself by not RELYING on your secrets. There are numerous ways to do this -- forget about credit, own what you want, and if you can't own it from the start, save until you can. Diversify your income by taking on new talents and trades. Focus on building REAL relationships with people around you -- don't do the rock-to-rock skipping around that is so commonplace in life (think: relationships, jobs, etc).

I don't need privacy, in fact, the more people know about me, the easier it is to sell myself to future prospective clients AND future friends. What do I have to hide?

Re:Hint: define "secret" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455173)

I don't have secrets -- there's no point.
I don't need privacy, in fact, the more people know about me, the easier it is to sell myself to future prospective clients AND future friends. What do I have to hide?

How long is it?

Re:Hint: define "secret" (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455441)

*Everybody* has something to hide.

Not because what they have to hide is wrong or questionable, but simply because it is private.

For example, who else but you and your partner should be aware of exactly where and how often you have sex?

Re:Hint: define "secret" (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455495)

*Everybody* has something to hide.

Hiding something means not divulging it.

Not because what they have to hide is wrong or questionable, but simply because it is private.

But if you need to share it, it isn't private.

For example, who else but you and your partner should be aware of exactly where and how often you have sex?

My doctor, for one (prostate history in my family). I divulge it to him, and I know he probably writes it down. Therefore, I don't make the assumption that it is truly private -- while he knows I'd appreciate it to be kept private, I also am not really embarrassed by the frequency or the number. We have a healthy sex life, why would I worry what others knew or didn't know about it?

There really aren't any "facts" about me that I'd be afraid or ashamed of getting out in the open. Even my sex life.

Re:Hint: define "secret" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455451)

Of course you don't need/want privacy, until you are the latest douche with an 11 minute "video resume" making a total asshat out of yourself and then crying foul, sending cease and desist letters, and what not, because you are the latest viral video victim....Oh can I trademark "TripleV"?

Re:Hint: define "secret" (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455465)

>There's no point to secrecy/privacy laws -- the only way to protect yourself would be to sue

Or to appeal to your government's privacy commission. At a security conference in Canada I heard a phone company executive say that they are careful to respond to the privacy commissioner and take the office seriously.

Yeah, Who cares... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455019)

I'm just getting into the habit of lying whenever someone asks me a question. Then when they can't figure out who I am or where I live, they'll probably think I'm some sort of terrorist. This is really what they want anyway, all the people locked up. Reminds me of those last lyrics of Lawyers In Love.

The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them,
As Russians do
Now we've got all this room
We've even got the Moon
And the USSR will be open soon
As vacation-land for
Lawyers In Love

Re:Yeah, Who cares... (2, Funny)

Honest Olaf (1011253) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455537)

I do the same thing. The most fun is at short order restaurants who take your name, then yell it out when your order is ready. I give a different name every time I go in, so I often get odd looks from the cashier when I say "Stephen" and they are expecting "Terry". Sometimes I give the same name as the person in front of me which can lead to either striking up a conversation, or delicious confusion when I reach for their order when "my" name is called.

People do care about losing privacy... (3, Insightful)

Starker_Kull (896770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455023)

...but if you think you have no chance to stop losing your privacy, you resign yourself to it and give up. Everyone has a limited, increasingly limited, amount of spare time in their lives to worry about things other than work. The problem with "protecting your privacy" is that it is an increasingly complex, time-consuming, byzantine, and inconvienent task. You as an individual have to keep track of all the myriad ways that your privacy is being ignored or taking advantage of and spend your spare time tracking down, learning about and trying to change this. There is no "Department of Privacy", no mechanism in the government, other than individuals who have discovered that their privacy was violated bringing up individual cases in court, to stop its erosion in fact. And the most recent suggested constitutional amendments have had nothing to do with enhancing and/or extending or simply MODERNIZING the privacy rights individuals have....

Re:People do care about losing privacy... (1)

korbin_dallas (783372) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455169)

Whoa, whoa slow down there bud.

If our government gets wind of this idea of yours, they'll be hiring hundreds of thousands of new federal employees tasked with keeping your private stuff private. And in the end, the governement will gain hundreds of thousands of new votes for themselves.

Re:People do care about losing privacy... (1)

Starker_Kull (896770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455849)

If our government gets wind of this idea of yours, they'll be hiring hundreds of thousands of new federal employees tasked with keeping your private stuff private. And in the end, the governement will gain hundreds of thousands of new votes for themselves.

Well, that's why I put "Department of Privacy" in quotes. It was the suggestion of a gereral idea, not a call to create another Department of Homeland Security. But a standard tool of larger organizations is to appoint an omnibudsman with substantial power of investigation to look for systemic problems in that organization, independent of any particular department. Privacy rights are enforced by the right of judges to throw out evidence obtained illegally, such evidence typically obtained by violating privacy rights in the process. It's NOT impossible - but it is complex, and has to be thought out as to how to set up a system that encourages people, companies, organizations and the government to respect privacy rights as a default, at their peril if they don't.

It's more convenient without privacy. (3, Insightful)

singingjim (957822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455025)

We are a consumer society. Ease of commerce requires giving up a large percentage of our personal privacy. The instant you use your debit card at the grocery store you've just supplied a great many people with volumes of information about yourself. Nevermind buying stuff on the net.

Well I like my privacy as much as the next guy but (3, Funny)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455037)

If I use my affinity card, then I get 2% cash back on my porn and sex toy purchases *and* 10 cents per gallon off gasoline for that month!

I mean, that alone is enough to let the world know about my private quirks for me!

Re:Well I like my privacy as much as the next guy (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455325)

If I use my affinity card, then I get 2% cash back on my porn and sex toy purchases *and* 10 cents per gallon off gasoline for that month!

Who said that your affinity card has to have valid information? I have discount cards at three different grocery chains, and all three have different information (at least one has no information at all -- they gave me an activated card and a piece of paper to fill out "later". The paper went in the trash and the card still works years later). It's not foolish to use affinity cards to get discounts. It's foolish to give them real information.

Re:Well I like my privacy as much as the next guy (3, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455399)

I know what you mean. Kroger knows me as Mr. Harry Peters. Randalls knows me as Mike Hunt. I forget the street addresses but they were witty.

However, have you *ever* used a valid credit card with your affinity card?

If so... your false information can be tied to your real identity.

The Kroger affinity card that gives the best discounts (15 cents per gallon on gass) is a real credit card.

The point of my humorous post was this...
We will fight to the death for our privacy, yet sell it away to get gas for 1.98 a gallon instead of 2.00 a gallon or milk at 3.00 a gallon instead of 5.29 a gallon. So basically, our privacy is worth between 2% and 10% of our annual expenditures.

Re:Well I like my privacy as much as the next guy (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455597)

However, have you *ever* used a valid credit card with your affinity card?

You should've just said that in the first place. Of course, you can shorten it to, "Have you ever used a valid credit card?" Because if you have (and yes, I use credit cards), any privacy you think you may have had is completely gone.

Cash rules the day for the privacy-conscious, but as with everything else, it's just not as convenient as using a credit card. All that counting and folding and making change! I just *swipe* and I'm out the door!

You what? (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455049)

and it's never too late to begin a discussion about how Americans' right to privacy can be protected.

Its probably a better time to start a debate about how we here in Europe can stop the Americans from erroding our existing privacy laws to suit themselves.

Re:You what? (2, Interesting)

kamochan (883582) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455411)

Its probably a better time to start a debate about how we here in Europe can stop the Americans from erroding our existing privacy laws to suit themselves.

The discussion has already been going on for a while. Consider, for example, the recent airline information leak issue [bbc.co.uk] . The very basic improvement of going from a "pull" model to a "push" model [europa.eu] was a step in the right direction.

To note, I e-mailed my EU parliament rep about this issue while the talks were ongoing. She responded back the next day with a very thoughtful reply, and somehow a few days later my "at least" scenario came to be. It gave at least a nice illusion of working democracy.

A quote that has been rattling around in my head.. (2, Insightful)

egarff (242535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455111)

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.

- Benjamin Franklin

Re:A quote that has been rattling around in my hea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455231)

Gee, that's a new one.

Don't think I've heard that on Slashdot at all.

In Soviet Russia (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455243)

Dead horse beats you. Ha! Wondering when someone would roll out that quote again.

I am aware of the irony of criticizing your unoriginal post with one of my own.

Re:A quote that has been rattling around in my hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455303)

"ohhhhhh fuck! god damn that hurt, son-of-a-bitch!!" - Benjamin Franklin during his lightning + key test

My Wife (5, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455117)

Is a perfect example.

She's always afraid to ask me about this stuff because I tell her the truth.

1. You have no privacy. As a result, the average individual is one step away from character assasination whether they know it or not. It's been this way for decades now.

2. Whatever privileges you had before are being taken away. When I explained to her that a Tivo doesn't allow her to "keep" stuff like a VHS tape among a host of other limitations and intrusions. (It's hers to enjoy in her home right? Today. Probably. But tomorrow?) Not to mention the more frequent, "TIVO's great but I wish I could give you a copy to watch. It was great." we get from TIVO owners.

These days, "new" things are cheaper not because they are innovative, but because they are taking features and privileges away from you. It's okay though, because it's the "Free Market" in action. It's the Will Of The People.

My question back is how is that innovative? Is the politicians promise of lower cost and greater service/features being kept? Am I any safer? Is my kid any safer?

conflate them, why don't you (1)

furiosity (850082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455165)

But woe to the organization that loses a laptop computer containing personal information. Yeah, because clearly there is no difference between apathetic individuals and companies whose privacy policies vow to protect their customers' personal information.

Re:conflate them, why don't you (1)

Alchemar (720449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455773)

Woe to the organizartion that loses a laptop computer containing unsecured personal information

http://www.truecrypt.org/ [truecrypt.org]

The point is... (2, Informative)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455203)

Its more than just about privacy.

Its about the ongoing erosion of personal identity and freedom, of which privacy is just one cornerstone.

The US Government and (even worse) large US corporations are being allowed to using the 'might is right' approach combined with a large amount of paranoid fear-mongering to arbitrarily remove rights that have until recently had been considered a basic requirement for any civilised country, and as such were included in the constitution.

America, defend your own constitutional rights.

The media is always trying to rewrite reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455261)

The Media thinks that if it says something, it's true.
Such arrogance.

Of course people care about their privacy!

Check out M$'s wrongdoing at http://malfy.org/ [malfy.org]

Part of the problem (3, Insightful)

spungebob (239871) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455283)

everyone has secrets...

But good citizens don't have secrets! As long as the discussion keeps getting entangled with this whole issue of "keeping secrets", our right to privacy will continue to be eroded.

Personally, I'm sick of hearing people say "It doesn't bother me because I have nothing to hide"... and believe me I've heard it a lot since you-know-when. That's not the point!

Privacy isn't about keeping secrets - it's about being safe from intrusion and unwarranted observation. There's nothing secret about the places I go or the things I do, but that doesn't mean I'm OK with having my activities showing up in a database or on a video monitor somewhere.

start the ball rolling... (1)

Sir_Isaac_Brock (625647) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455291)

Websites should do more about this. At least post an encryption key on their contact page for those of us who know what to do with it--maybe even go so far as to advise it's use. I bought something on thinkgeek recently and I was pleased to see them doing this. Also, writers of communications s/w (IM etc.) should have privacy built in.. I know they do already, but it should be more transparent and have a better configuration interface (drag and drop keys etc)

As for public apathy, this will change. I just got a letter from the alumni assoc. of my university telling me their system was hacked and my information got jacked. Eventually, this will happen to everyone and they'll be wondering what to do.

As I'm sure we all know, public awareness of technology always starts with nerds doing it first.

SIB

Privacy is a pressuring medium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455313)

The threat of losing privacy can put you under real pressure, make you sick, and the goverment knows that. The privacy discussion fits perfect in the fearmongering sheme of certain goverments and connected infotainment outlets to keep the civilians small and fearful.

Gay people feel much better after they "lost their privacy" and outed themselves as being gay. Their cage of privacy can't pressure them anymore.

Don't be afraid of "losing" the kind of privacy that no cop cares about. Spam the goverment with your privacy and they will start to fear you like infotainment fears bloggers.

MSNBC has a conservative (rape/pillage) agenda (3, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455331)

If one simply traipses over to MediaMatters.Org, or any of a number of media-watching sites, it takes no rocket science to understand that less privacy=more profits. And as profits are above all, including morality, they must reign, or so we are told.

And as all of the minimum wage serfs sneer at you when they as you for your phone number when you in for a hair trim, it becomes increasingly impossible to remain anonymous, private in one's own affairs, and free from the scrutiny of the self-righteous. Somehow, I must live their concept of the path to Heaven, and deviation is, well, deviant.

So: kick the cameras when you find them. Put a little hood on them and beat them with a hammer. Cut coax. Re-address IP cams to porn feeds. Put chewing gum in appropriate places. Part of freedom is freedom from scrutiny. Burn the man; hack the system . One this is clear: live free or die isn't just for New Hampshire license plates-- you have to live it or surrender it.

Real Life Examples (4, Insightful)

Massacrifice (249974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455335)

I think most people still equate protecting your privacy with being somewhat paranoid. This attitude needs to be changed to being simply prudent about what information you are willing to divulge about yourself. There are some very simple real-life examples of times you need to choose not to let other people know what you are doing and saying, not because you are a criminal, but because somebody else could be and you dont want to expose yourself needlessly.

I once asked my accountant about what he was going to do with the hard-drives contained in the old computers he was about to throw away. It hadn't occured to him that somebody could be digging up valuable info from what he considered scrap. It didn't take him long to realise what the risks were.

People will in time develop sensitivity and common-sense about privacy, but they first need to be thaught about the value of information. Most ./ers already know about this because information is what we live by and for.

Foucault's Panoptic (1)

edusmoreira (978831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455353)

I really don't see that as an issue. Societies of control, as Michel Foucault treated them, have been part of our daily space for a long time, with is embodied nowadays by increasingly omnipresent speed radars; RFID devices; surveillance cameras in commercial, residential and industrial establishments; phone tappings and e-mail screening by corporations, just to name a few.

The question is whether we engage in collective madness - begin to treat that as Big Brother - or we choose to understand that all this paraphernalia was self-imposed, to guarantee that we'll be biologically alive tomorrow.

Ironically, in those times of uneasiness with control, we promote insurrections, insisting that the reason for life, the universe and everything is freedom, whatever the implied cost. And one day it ceases to produce the expected results. And so on and so forth. Historical perpetuum mobile.

How much? (1)

Aqws (932918) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455359)

Do we even know how much they are spying on us?

Marijuana (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455413)

Marijuana

Times change (1)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455531)

I'm a very private person, but I know that "privacy" is a flexible and changeable concept---two hundred years ago, men urinated in public in taverns and coffee-shops (into vases-de-nuit, and usually not in front of everyone else)---it was _cold_ out there, and easy to lose heat from the room as it was. People not intending on having sex with each other frequently shared beds (cold!), and whole families did so even if the mum and dad intended to have it off (albeit quietly, which was easier in the days when a popular male saying was, "The clitor-WHUT?,").

On the other hand, no-one told these guys and dolls what chemicals they could eat, and most of them never had to spend more than a couple of (terrifying) minutes with their boss, who didn't pretend to be their friend. Alarm clocks were limited to roosters, and if they crowed too early you could eat them.

"What people care about" changes; those of us who feel in a way at odds with the majority will have to secede (space? Sealand? The Free Communist State Project?) or adapt.

right to privacy? (1)

icebones (707368) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455549)

Please explain where in the US Constituion/bill of rights etc. it states a right to privacy.

We have the right to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure, but privacy is never mentioned. We have just come to asume that it's there.

Who cares? (1)

fithmo (854772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455629)

I think the real question is "Who cares about who cares if privacy is slipping away?"

I think the answer is The Man! I'm sure The Man cares about who cares about privacy, and I'm sure "he" is watching them very closely.

Do something about it (1)

GriffinDodd (988260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455753)

My company also got so mad by this that we launched http://www.safepeak.com/ [safepeak.com] www.SafePeak.com specifically to try and reach out to the average consumer with a service that offers encrypted connections and IP masking so even your ISP cannot record what you are doing.

The fact of the matter is big corporate is eating away at your privacy for profit and no-one in government is going to stand up for your rights - they are all on the pay roll.

It seems our society is happily absorbing the attitude that only people with things to hide need privacy and if we think any other way then we're un-patriotic, anti-American or a terrorist.

I'm sorry if this is a blatant plug, we feel that you shouldn't be called guilty just because you want your privacy protected.

Bitch Bitch Bitch But where are the answers. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16455811)

In todays technology we are trying to find out who is doing what. Most of the time it is for perfectly good reasons. Who is buying what, where to ship it to, who do bill and is the person who you going to bill the corect person to bill. Back in the old days People in the community knew who you were and would offer their services to you and if you were known as a good customer you often got a little better. Now today with technology we try to hide ourselves or at least we tend to be more difficult to identify. With ID Theft, and the like. Concept that our founding fathers wouldn't even grasp. It is not that people want to loose their privacy but hiding their privacy is often more of a burden then not. In a world where we dont know who are neighbors are. How else is society going to function without some privacy loss.
I would love to keep my privacy to an extent but it shouldn't be a full time job, keeping anonymous.

problem with abolishing privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16455861)

the fall of privacy is not about whether or not you have something to hide.. its about those in power having the ability to eavesdrop on you for whatever reason they feel necessary. its even compounded further by an idea that this power goes to every FUTURE leader of our country going forward. can YOU vouch for the intentions of every future leader?
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