The campaign to convince people that the lack of personal privacy is of little concern to the average person, persists. Some pundits continue to enhance their careers by assuring us (at least those of us who will listen), that privacy, particularly Internet privacy, is dead and, we don’t care.
Consider these quotes from speakers at the Supernova conference, held this week in Philadelphia:
Jeff Jarvis, a blogger and media-industry pundit -
“I think we talk so much about privacy, privacy, privacy that we risk getting to the benefits of publicness (sic), that the Internet makes possible.”
Microsoft researcher, Danah Boyd -
“We have no definition of privacy.”
The only comment I’ll make regarding these two statements is – great sound bites, but BS nevertheless.
The most ludicrous statement I’ve heard regarding Internet privacy, comes from Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt -
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
This, from a person who’s company’s very existence is predicated on the virtually raping of the public’s privacy, for commercial gain. I’m not a conspiracy theorist in any sense, but I do believe that the very structure of Google constitutes an attack on a basic human right – the right to be “left alone”.
Schmidt may be a “whiz bang” when it comes to search engines, but I suggest that he’s a dud when it comes to the psychology of human beings. The truth is, the realities of the world we now live in continue to emphasize; despite the fact you have may have done nothing wrong – you have everything to worry about.
Noted security guru Bruce Schneier, put it in relevant context when he said:
“Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance. If we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness.
We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable”.
The majority of my friends are extremely concerned with the inroads that governments, social websites, commercial enterprises, and most particularly Google, have made into their private lives. They’re obviously not unusual if one considers this:
Disk wipe utilities, disk cleaning utilities, and file shredding utilities, are among the most popular free downloads on the Internet.
Most web Browsers offer a private browsing mode.
Encryption software is often advertised as a way to protect private, personal, or sensitive files.
Anonymizer applications, such as Hotspot Shield, are advertised as a way to protect a user’s online identity.
While there are multiple uses for the software applications, or application options, described above, a primary use of such software is to ensure a certain level of privacy. Of course, if you’ve done nothing wrong you don’t need to use these applications, right?
Rather than using an anonymizer application, which in some cases can impact performance, there is another alternative, if you use Firefox as your Internet Browser – GoogleSharing.
GoogleSharing is a Firefox add-on developed by noted security expert Moxie Marlinspike, with one purpose in mind – preventing Google from tracking and retaining, user information.
The following graphics illustrate how this works.
Outbound search request:
Inbound search results:
GoogleSharing is a custom proxy service.
Does not affect your non-Google traffic which it leaves completely untouched, un-redirected.
Combines search requests from many different users together, such that Google is not capable of telling what is coming from whom.
Each search request is assigned a unique identity.
Prevents Google from collecting information about you from services which don’t require a login.
Stops Google from tracking the user by IP address, Cookie, or any other identifying HTTP headers.
The system is completely transparent to the user. No special websites, no change to your work flow.
If you have any issues with Google retaining your user information, you should consider this add-on. Please be aware, I have not tested this add-on, and this post is for information purposes only.
For more information, visit: GoogleSharing
Download the add-on at: Mozilla
Additional resources related to privacy:
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