I always feel like GOOGLE is watching meeee

If Google was woman I would make sweet passionate love to her. And she’d be a psycho-stalker.

I love Google, but it conflicts with my finely honed skill of not trusting. I use Google for just about everything knowing they have a dangerous amount of information about me and everything else readily available in a search friendly little package.

Google showed up as the most conspicuous tracker on third-party sites. Google Analytics, a free product that allows online publishers to gather statistics about visitors to their sites, was used on 81 of the top 100 sites. Cookies from the advertising company DoubleClick, which is owned by Google, were present on 70 of those sites. When combining trackers from those two services, Google had a presence on 92 of the top 100 sites. Others weren’t far behind. Cookies from Atlas, Microsoft’s DoubleClick rival, appeared on 60 sites, and trackers from two other analytics companies, Quantcast and Omniture, showed up on 54 sites.

Ny time

I still love Google and I still believe, perhaps foolishly, that they are not evil. Even so, one day I think Google will turn evil, not unlike any empire that has become too powerful. The culture of the company will change in a generation and a new dynasty will reign using personal information as a weapon rather than a useful tool for making better searching. I hope I am very, very wrong.

Justice Antonin Scalia on “his own” privacy

This may sound ridiculous to a blogger/technophiliac/contractor who has his entire life well documented in easily accessible public and government databases, but privacy is important. I believe we should have a say so in how private we want our lives to be. Of course, certain sensitive data should definitely be automatically classified and encrypted. For example, I don’t believe that the government should pry into what books we’ve checked out at the Library. Or what we’ve bought at the store.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s has been pretty lax with other people privacy. Since he determines our nation’s laws his comments and intensions on such matters are very important. The silly thing about all this is that he doesn’t agree with HIS privacy being exploited.

Professor Reindenberg of Fordham University challenged his students to find all public information on Scalia. Than this appearently pissed him off.


New surveillance program will turn military satellites on US

An appropriations bill signed by President Bush last week allows the controversial National Applications Office to begin operating a stringently limited version of a program that would turn military spy satellites on the US, sharing imagery with other federal, state, and local government agencies.

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Is Privacy Dead?

Privacy is dead and getting deader. So who killed it? We did. We killed it with our nature. We like our tools & technology. We can’t go without our GPS, SIM card loaded cell phones. We don’t really think about how cell Phones can be easily tracked and tell so many intimated details about where you are and who you’re talking to.

We love convenience so how can we go without our Google, Yahoo, MSN searches and our access to the Internet. Never mind the fact that all of these entities track or even record (and send to the government) every thing we do online.

Our nature places privacy last on the list, and convenience and comfort in the top five. I’m not looking down my nose at you. I’m guilty of all of the above privacy sins. I’m not judging your search engine usage or saying you should switch to anonymizers and clusty.com or go phone using an untraceable credit card.. I’ve got my tin foil hat in storage next to my year supply of MRE’s and shot guns.

I’m just pointing out the facts. We give our privacy away, to companies, the government and other organizations.

What is a bit bothersome to me are laws that allow the abuse of what we are willing to give in trust. The protection of the data we entrust to companies, federal, state and local government should not be allowed to be misused neither by

Violations of the 4th Amendment (use of your online history without probable cause) nor by criminal hackers and/or companies selling your information to the highest bidder.

Fair laws that are in favor of the buyer adherence to the 4th Amendment. I don’t think this is a reasonable request. I think the CIO’s who implement opt-out letters sent to clients expect some amount of respect for the information they put out.

Would be pissed if his financial information was stolen.

Dangers on the Internet

Dangers on the Internet
This is a follow up to my post Why is Internet Safety Important

Dangers of the Internet are relative to the perspective of those accessing it. That is to say, on the Internet “dangers” are completely dependent on who is accessing what data from where and what their intentions are for accessing it. For example, researching a list of poisons could be a considered “dangers to the Internet” if a seriously disturbed person intends to kill his or her spouse. On the other hand, if a parent is just wondering what house hold products are poisonous with the intention of protecting her children, can that be considered a danger?

So protection from dangers on the Internet should be proactive and involve human judgment at some level. Policies must be written, planned and implemented in advanced or ad hoc to suit the environment and the users accessing the Internet. Children at a school with access from the classroom will more than likely be different from employees at a skating rink.

Even the items commonly considered dangers on the Internet relate directly to how much access individuals and organizations allow to and from the web. Common “dangers” may include (but should not be limited to) the following:

Accessibility to personal – applies to educating users on the dangers of putting personal information on the Internet and protecting organizational data bases

Sensitive data – For a school sensitive data is likely linked to the grades and personal information of staff and student, but for a business sensitive information could include proprietary information that would hurt the bottom line if it were leaked to competition.

Financial fraud & criminal hackers/scammers- This applies to educating users about criminal hacker techniques such as malware, social engineering, email and website phishing

The access of impressionable and/or psychologically disturbed individuals to potentially harmful and destructive information – This is rather subjective however it should be a concern to schools from elementary – colleges, rehabilitation facilities and mental institutions. There are ways to block certain obvious material with web-blocker type applications, but no one can stop them all. Monitoring is a must if this danger is to be handled seriously.

The risks and damage of these dangers are dependent on the environment & the users involved. It is up to the system owners to ensure that the policies are properly planned, implemented and maintained as exposure to any Internet danger can disrupt the safety, mission and/or values of an organization or individual.

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 01, with Steve Rambam

round of applause to Immanuel of 2600 Magazine

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 01, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 02, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 03, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 04, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 05, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 06, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 07, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 08, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 10, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 11, with Steve Rambam

All ‘PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT with Steve Rambam’ Lectures

Invasion of Privacy Laws

Privacy laws are supposed to protect the rights of individual citizens. The advent of the information age has made privacy a bit of a challenge. Invasion of privacy is now much more common place as personal information on individuals is readily available and many organizations that collect certain bits of information on customers, employees, servants and officers don’t do enough to protect privacy.

Invasion of privacy laws are imperative because the loss of privacy can mean not only a small inconvenience but major loss of assets and/or opportunity. Loss of privacy can mean (among other things) identity theft, financial fraud or and inability to get a job.

Many first world and emerging technological countries must deal with this challenge. There are many invastion of privacy laws designed to protect common citizens:

United States, Privacy Act of 1974, designed to hold those that handle private information accountable for its protection.

* Health Information Privacy Accountability Act — Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
* Financial Services Modernization Act (GLB), 15 U.S. Code §§ 6801-6810
* Final Rule on Privacy of Consumer Financial Information, 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 313
* Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S. Code §§ 1681-1681u

Australia, Privacy Act of 1988, sets out principles in relation to the collection, use, disclosure, security and access to personal information.

Canada Privacy Law

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in connection with commercial activities and personal information about employees of federal works, undertakings and businesses. Wiki

The rise of “intelligent” CCTV

I think its great that we have better technology in security. What is disconcerting are laws like the Patriot Act and FISA bill which take right from citizens for the sake of more security. With this increased technological power in security, there needs to be more balance, but it seems the rights of citizens (particularly privacy and civil liberties) are taking a back seat to all manor of political will. All this powered by the fear of terrorism after 9/11.

I’m not saying we should not be more cautious or more aware. I’m not saying that more security is not necessary. What I am saying is that Taking away liberties is not necessary. And even if you feel it is necessary to spy on all citizens indefinitely to “catch terrorist” shouldn’t there be checks and balances on the watchers. Who will watch the watchers? How will we ensure that their powers are not abused.

New Technologies:
Smart CCTV – There are now smart security cameras with pattern recognition that allow them to alarm when some one does something suspicious such as climb a fence, or put down a bag and walk away. That technology has been developed by companies like ObjectVideo Inc. Defense Advanced Research Products Agency (DARPA) hopes to take it a step further by creating systems that can learn everyday patterns and send alarm when things are outside of their known pattern, also known as anomaly detection.


read more | digg story

What Privacy Policy?

Company security and marketing executives differ on how to handle customer data.

Companies are in the business of selling your personal information. You that little Privacy Statement that your credit card company send to you. If you read the fine print, they are usually telling you that they are about to send your personal information to their “partners” an/or third party organizations unless you send them a written document to opt out.

I got one from Dexonline once. The law seems to favor these corporations, because it can be difficult to get off of all these lists. Its like a Anti-Privacy Virus. Once one company has your data, they send you information to there third party partners (with your silence as permission) then the third party vendors attempt to sell you an item and do the same thing (with your sheep like compliance) and so on. Pretty soon your personal information is on 10 or 20 revolving marketing lists.

I’m not opposed to some solicitations, but US law is pretty flimsy on the privacy of individuals. The CAN-SPAM act is just no enough anymore. Consumer should have to sign-up not just opt-out in written form via mail. But what happens is that companies like Comcast, AT&T, Visa, Master Card and many, many others put their right to give out your information right in the USER Agreement (which nobody reads). Since there are few alternatives that protect your privacy, they don’t feel any pressure to side with your privacy. By law, they have to provide a method of opt-out prior to selling your information, but like I said, I don’t think its enough.

Local government privacy is even worse, I’ve been reluctant to write about it because I fear that I will make it easier to for more bad guys to do bad things just because they can.

read more | digg story

ECHELON of human underachievement

Knowledge is power. In the information age this is more and more true every minute of every day. I believe it is inevitable that we would have the super secret parts of government would begin to collude to monitor all telephone, data and fax communications. It seems equally inevitable that very powerful individuals will challenge that same system.

Human nature being what it is, such a system is guaranteed to be abused for the power and positioning a dominate minority. My panic and indignation on such things is slowly supplemented by an acceptance and humor of human behavior that is self centered, greedy and in constant state of fear, loathing and self gratification. The funny part is that the behavior continues even though it proves to implode over time. Again and again Rome rises only to crash on the shores of reality. Caesar conquers, assimilates and raises taxes then fades out.

It frustrated me because I know that humanity has the capacity to do better. Better for the planet, better for itself and better for every species. We are capable of doing great, great things but we choose to live in a state of fear, self gratification an loathing.



Main article: ECHELON

NSA/CSS, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United Kingdom (Government Communications Headquarters), Canada (Communications Security Establishment), Australia (Defence Signals Directorate), and New Zealand (Government Communications Security Bureau), otherwise known as the UKUSA group[16], is widely reported to be in command of the operation of the so-called ECHELON system. Its capabilities are suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world’s transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic, according to a December 16, 2005 article in the New York Times.[17]

Technically, almost all modern telephone, internet, fax and satellite communications are exploitable due to recent advances in technology and the ‘open air’ nature of much of the radio communications around the world. The NSA’s presumed collection operations have generated much criticism, possibly stemming from the assumption that the NSA/CSS represents an infringement of Americans’ privacy. However, the NSA’s United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibits the interception or collection of information about “…US persons, entities, corporations or organizations…” without explicit written legal permission from the Attorney General of the United States [18] The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that intelligence agencies cannot conduct surveillance against American citizens. There are a few extreme circumstances where collecting on a U.S. entity is allowed without a USSID 18 waiver, such as with civilian distress signals, or sudden emergencies such as the September 11, 2001 attacks; however, the USA PATRIOT Act has significantly changed privacy legality.

There have been alleged violations of USSID 18 that occurred in violation of the NSA’s strict charter prohibiting such acts.[citation needed] In addition, ECHELON is considered with indignation by citizens of countries outside the UKUSA alliance, with numerous allegations that the United States government uses it for motives other than its national security, including political and industrial espionage.[19][20] Examples include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[21][22] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie. An article in the Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the NSA reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.[23][24] The chartered purpose of the NSA/CSS is solely to acquire significant foreign intelligence information pertaining to National Security or ongoing military intelligence operations.

In his book Firewall, Andy McNab speculates that the UKUSA agreement is designed to enable the NSA, GCHQ, and other equivalent organizations to gather intelligence on each other’s citizens. For example, the NSA cannot legally conduct surveillance on American citizens, but GCHQ might do it for them.


Document 13: NAVSECGRU Instruction C5450.48A, Subj: Mission, Functions and Tasks of Naval Security Group Activity (NAVSECGRUACT) Sugar Grove, West Virginia, September 3, 1991

While NSA directs and manages U.S. SIGINT activities, almost all collection activity is actually carried out by the military service SIGINT units—including the Naval Security Group Command. The role of the unit at Sugar Grove in intercepting the international leased carrier (ILC) communications passing through INTELSAT satellites was first revealed in James Bamford’s The Puzzle Palace. (Note 12)

The regulation reveals that Sugar Grove is associated with what has become a highly controversial program in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The program, codenamed ECHELON, has been described as a global surveillance network that intercepts and processes the world’s communications and distributes it among the primary partners in the decades-old UKUSA alliance—the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. (Note 13)

In reality, ECHELON is a more limited program, allowing the UKUSA allies to specify intelligence requirements and automatically receive relevant intercepts obtained by the UKUSA facilities which intercept satellite communications (but not the U.S. facilities that receive data from SIGINT satellites). It is also limited by both technological barriers (the inability to develop word-spotting software so as to allow for the automatic processing of intercepted conversations) and the limitations imposed on collection activities by the UKUSA allies—at least as regards the citizens of those countries. (Note 14) Thus, the NAVSECGRU instruction also specifies that one of the responsibilities of the commander of the Sugar Grove site is to “ensure the privacy of U.S. citizens are properly safeguarded pursuant to the provisions of USSID 18.”


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