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Did we lose the privacy war?

eihab (823648) writes | more than 4 years ago

Privacy 3

eihab (823648) writes "I have been fanatic about my online privacy for the last few years. I've been using no-script and blocking Google Analytics, disabling third-party cookies, encrypting IM and doing everything in my power to keep data-miners at bay.

Recently, I've been feeling like I'm just doing too much and losing! No matter what I do I know that there's a weak link somewhere, be it my ISP, flash cookies, etc.

I've recently got AT&T U-Verse who, according to their privacy statement, will be monitoring my TV watching habits for advertisement purposes. I'm extremely annoyed by that, but yet I love the service so much and I don't think I can cancel it.

I just can't take this anymore. I have nothing to hide, but I do not want to be profiled and become member #5534289 in a database somewhere with everything I do recorded. I know I'm not that interesting to anyone, but just the idea of someone being able to pull up everything about me with a simple SQL SELECT statement and a couple of JOINS makes me cringe.

One of the reasons I hate data mining is that data security is not understood and almost non-existent at a lot of places. Case in point, I changed my life insurance two years ago, and the medical firm that conducted my health screening was broken into and computers with non-encrypted hard drives and patients data were stolen. I received a complimentary 1 year identity theft protection and an apology letter stating that they are "not sure" if my data was stolen, but, "here's a complementary 1 year protection... enjoy".

That medical firm didn't really need my SSN, but then again neither did AT&T when I signed up for U-Verse. However, it's becoming more and more difficult to conduct business without giving up your SSN or other sensitive data.

Am I just too paranoid? Is privacy dead? Should I just give up and accept the fact that privacy is not the norm anymore (like Facebook's founder recently said) or should I keep fighting the good fight for my privacy?"

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Privacy is alive and well... (1)

quintessent (197518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31152816)

...but the tides of money and business are pushing against it. Zuckerberg is suffering from a throbbing case of Twitter-envy, which has blinded him to the fact that most of us really do care about the right to choose our level of exposure to both public and private data stores.

You are not mistaken (1)

bleakgadfly (1730742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153650)

Never stop fighting. I am totally with you on this. I am currently checking out privacy-enhanced alternatives to the different services I use. DuckDuckGo.com (awesome name) instead of Google.com, I havent found a decent replacement for Gmail yet. Encrypting IM and tunnel all traffic through an SSH tunnel on a VPS I rent. I also use the different addons you listed (no-script, etc.) to protect my privacy (have you thought about the complications with JavaScript and Flash Player?). I also boycott Facebook because of their privacy policy is a joke. There is no doubt that fighting for privacy is a loosing cause since all the services we seem to love track our every move, and we don't seem to be able to find decent alternatives.

Staying below the radar... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154906)

A lot of online privacy concerns stem from a false expectation of security. For instance, Facebook users whine about security holes in their social networking forum, while in fact they are taking risks every time they post any information about themselves or their friends. However careful you are about what you say, your friends may be less so, and their acquaintances may have interests entirely inimical to yours. And the data-miners behind Facebook are perfectly capable of developing (if they haven't already) algorithms associating groups of contacts for purposes of their own.

The only solution is to make NO information about yourself available online. That means (as a starting point) not handing out your SSN, address or phone number to anybody who has no legitimate reason to require it. If a corporation demands it, they can do without your business, which might be tough love if you happen to like the look of what they're offering, but it's a decision only you have the right to make.

A good alternative is to salt their data with as much misinformation as you can. If enough people did this, the data-mining industry would quickly become more trouble than it is worth.
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