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Oh no the government saw what I read, shut up, you don't care

  1. Mar 8, 2006 #1


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    There's something really odd going on with America I think.... This rant is oddly enough, brought to you from a short snippet from a commercial for Bill Maher's show. He basically said 'Why are we all so concerned about privacy and the government, people are practically detailing their entire lives blabing on their cell phones on the subway'.

    So I got to thinking... and i was actually kinda baffled at what there really is out there in the realm of "privacy". If we ever found out the NSA was given a listing of all our phone numbers and addresses, people would go bananas. The thing is... all the information is pretty much public records. You can just go to google to find numberous websites that will just give you some of this information for free and for a small fee, they'll give you more information then you might even have remembered.

    Then of course you have the internet and "agreements". If anyone actually sits down and reads a lot of these terms and agreement statements adn privacy policies... the more rational people probably wouldn't agree with it, let alone the privacy extremists. Too bad people don't actually read this stuff. If someone walked up to you and asked if they could log and then sell every single thing you did on your computer... you'd laugh at them right? Well I assume not since people seem to agree to it on a daily basis thanks to their impatience. Corporation wants to log your entire life online... meh. Government wants to know what annonymous search queries were made during 1 week, world blows up.

    Now of course, we should discuss the greatest virus to ever perpetuate the human race; livejournal/myspace/blogs. I mean what can I say to make this more obvious? People of ALL ages are putting their entire lives and day to day activities on the web for 6 billion people to see. Privacy? What's that? It's actually making me wonder what we actually mean when we don't want "invasion of privacy". Does it mean we don't want people to know what we do in our lives? Or does it mean we want to know when such information is given away? I can see huge contradictions in both thought processes as it pertains to the common man so i'm not sure yet. On another note, Google has even been toying around with the idea that they can serve as the main C: drive for everyone! That's right, instead of your hard drive, you just do a network logon into Google's network and you can use your computer anywhere. Wow, what a convenience, let's just put our entire computer on some server in California accessable to anyone anywhere. Insane.

    I was also surprised to hear about a little trend that's growing that i actually figured would happen a year ago. People are logging onto unprotected wireless internets. I believe the article i read quoted tomshardware.com's experiment where they logged over 2000 networks open over this one city with 80% being completely unsecure. Now, that isn't exactly the problem here because ignorance isn't really something that you can be angry at someone over. The problem I saw from that article is that theres a large number of people who say it is OK to hop onto peoples unsecure networks to use their internet. They use the same logic as mp3 downloaders use; "It's there, they want to share, why shouldn't I?". That's why our network is secured tight, 128bit WAP TKA pre-shared keys, MAC filters, blah blah blah etc etc. I don't care about some government van pointing a audio/video/whatever device at me, i care about that little 20 year old computer science major that if i do plug my computer into a router, i'm giving permission for him to just roam wild into my computer. Yes, I did add that hacking bit because my experiences on computer forums is that people, possibly from some mass dilusion, believe that if a person's computer can be hacked into, it deserves to be. No i'm not joking. I have heard that rationale multiple times.

    I'm not trying to change anyones ideas or make any really serious criticisms towards anyones beliefs.... i'm just amazed at how much trust people put in other people and how critically we react when the government does anything. This isn't a defense of the government, it's a criticism of the trust we seem to give to society and corporations (especailly in a society full of such anti-corporate feelings). I find it odd that someone could destroy your life over the internet and other modern day networks and then very well hide from prosecution due to the restrictions the government has put on itself in the name of privacy.

    I dunno, stop broadcasting your life, turn off your cell phone, log off of myspace, secure your network, exterminate the criminals, do something!
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2006 #2
    I think the difference is that people suppose if someone breaks into their house they can have them arrested and prosecuted whereas if if the government seizes their house it's much, much harder to fight. We're more suspicious of the greater power.
  4. Mar 8, 2006 #3


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    The thing is, as far as these types of situations are concerned, it's much much much harder to fight people then to fight the government. When the government asks for soem data, hell you have.... well what has been going on lately. If some criminal takes your data, you probably won't catch him adn there is probably laws protecting the criminal so that he can't be caught. When the government does something, well you can sue left and right, get the media to follow you around, bring down congressmen, senators, etc etc. Criminals don't face any such dangers. There was a fairly large technology based law passed in like 99 that basically said records can't be taken from ISP's to arrest people for hacking or committing any sorta internet fraud. Oh well, as long as the criminals are protected, what more can you want from a society.
  5. Mar 8, 2006 #4
    It's not a matter of the reality but the perception. People suppose individual criminals are easier to fight than the government so they end up much more suspicious of what the government's up to.
  6. Mar 8, 2006 #5
    It does amaze me how the internet has changed in such a short time. Growing up, I was told not to post personal information online. Nowadays, there's a huge network (MySpace) dedicated to just that!

    As for the issue of privacy itself, my paranoia goes toward any body with significant power. Currently Google is rocketting up my (metaphoric) list. I mean really, not letting me tell no one to save Google IM logs?
  7. Mar 8, 2006 #6
    Something I found funny about Google's Gmail is that they give the fact that you never have to delete any of your e-mails as an check to make sure you know this when ever you want to delete something. Hell no I don't want a cache of e-mails sitting around being stock piled.
  8. Mar 8, 2006 #7


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    Yah it is like people are just throwing out the rules and acting as if they LIVE on the internet. I think out of all the people i know, im the most addicted to the internet and i use it the most yet almost no information about me exists on the internet. These other people i know however, you could basically stalk 90% of them no matter how little you knew about them otherwise with the information readily available on the internet that they have posted.

    A lot of people are very... emotionally invested on the internet as well. If some random person says something mean, they literally become depressed. Add that to the people who try to find "love" solely online and the people who go around acting like prostitutes and the internet has become like a disease.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2006
  9. Mar 8, 2006 #8
    A friend of mine once had an issue with some guy on the road and was thinking about messing with him if he could figure out who he was. He had gotten the plate number of the vehicle and I found a nifty little site where you can get a persons personal info from their plate number for a small fee and they even give free trial memberships. :biggrin:
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