Throwing Away Privacy In The Blink Of An Eye

from the all-that-work-for-nothing dept

While we’re on the topic of folks in Congress being inconsistent in their views, Declan McCullough has written up a piece questioning Representative Joe Barton on privacy issues. He’s repeatedly fought hard for privacy rights and making sure that individuals’ data are secure, but as soon as the election season “for the children” pandering started, he was one of the first in line. His proposal is to require ISPs to retain data for the sake of tracking down child pornographers and child predators. That’s a noble goal, obviously, but it raises a lot of questions about why ISPs need to be burdened and (more importantly) why everyone else’s privacy must be weakened. As McCullough notes, once that data is out there, it will be used for a lot more than just tracking down child predators. Whether or not the law allows for it, the rights to protect that data will continually erode. At the same time, just having that data available means that those who have access to it (or figure out how to have access to it) will misuse it or lose it. That’s practically guaranteed. So, for someone so interested in protecting our privacy, it seems that Rep. Barton is working hard to wipe out an awful lot of privacy in one simple move.

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Comments on “Throwing Away Privacy In The Blink Of An Eye”

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Anonymous Coward says:

WTF is wrong with people?!? The average Joe is letting this slip right on by because he just doesn’t understand the impact this will have. The only way public awareness will rise is when some ISP employee loses a laptop and Google search data on private users is revealed. But by then, the laws will already have been passed and it will be too late to do anything except exchange lawsuits.

I would go on about telling your friends but whenever I attempt to educate a non-nerd I get a blank stare. It’s amazing how little of a shit people give about anything until it personally and negatively affects them.

Ryan says:


but anybody against this measure is obviously PRO child porn and child molestors.

won’t you please think of the children..

If you’re not willing to give up all your rights to protect us from (terrorists/communists/nazis/predators/child porn/drug lords) then you must support (terrorists/communists/nazis/predators/child porn/drug lords)

It’s the new America.

ForkBoySpam says:

So What's the Solution?

It’s funny really. I sit there and think how I hate the thought of my information getting out and into the wrong hands, but then I start to look at the other side. Collecting information to help put away criminals and allow for greater protection for us and our children is not a bad thing. So then I start to wonder, where does the line get drawn? Should no data at all be collected, allowing for complete and utter anonymity in cyberspace, there by allowing online line stalkers/thieves/predators the freedom they want to pursue their deviant agendas? I mean honestly – everyone criticizes the erosion of privacy, yet no better solutions have been presented. I for one don’t think sitting around arguing and accomplishing nothing gets us anywhere. Every article I have read has been able to tell me what’s wrong. So what is the solution? Who is going to tell me that? And if there is a solution, how come no one is talking about it?

Davetheimperfect says:

Re: So What's the Solution?

There is no “solution”. The world is not a perfect place. you are concerned about perverts online, then instead of eroding my privacy, protect youreself. get armed with the knowledge of how to comabt this problem FOR YOURSELF. If Home invasions are a problem in my neighborhood, instead of asking the government to keep track of everyone who enters or leaves my area, im going to get a gun and PROTECT MYSELF. Quit giving away my privacy for your protection.

Michelle says:

Re: So What's the Solution?

The solution, my dear, is for all human beings to follow the principles laid out in the answer given 2,000 years ago to the question of what is the greatest commandment. The reply given stated the two greatest: [The First was: Love God above all else, and the Second was] Love your neighbor as yourself (basically, the “Golden Rule”). If EVERYONE cared about ‘the other’ as much as they cared about themself, and if EVERYONE adhered to a set of principles based on doing no harm, but instead active good to all, we wouldn’t have criminals in the first place. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Well, it IS IMPOSSIBLE for humans to achieve this, so until The Creator steps in and cleans up the entire earth**, we’re stuck with stop-gap semi-solutions.

My advice? Use all due caution on the web, and hope that the majority of humans you deal with have a shred of decency and intellegence.

**check out Daniel 2:44 and Revelation 11:18 if you’re curious

Ryan says:

the solution is personal responsibility.

teach your 12 year old to NOT meet that guy she met on myspace. if she’s not smart enough to not give him her phone number, take the computer away. She’s not ready for it yet.

Restrain yourself from NOT gambling online. if you lose your money, it’s your fault.

Don’t buy or make child porn. Don’t let your kids get into it.

That’s the solution. Take responsibility for your own actions instead of wanting the govt to do it.

BillDivX says:

sounds about right...

I like the neighborhood analogy. The world kind of sucks. It’s dangerous out there, and it’s up to you to learn to deal. Everyone needs to stop trying to make the world into a padded room for themselves and their family. It’s not going to ever work, and besides, we all know what kind of people belong in padded rooms….

WhyNot says:

I’ve always wondered why people think that they have a right to privacy on the internet. In the US the net is subsidized by the government in large part. Wouldn’t that mean that the “Information Super Highway” very much like all other Public Highways and just that….. Public. License Plates on cars are there so you can be identified by the government if need be and I don’t really see much difference between that and someone logging your IP address when you happen to be in the “Lets be honest” very public n

David says:

Re: WhyNot on Jul 5th, 2006 @ 2:10pm

Where do you get the idea that the internet is subsidized by the government? Maybe 20 yrs. ago, I don’t think so today(maybe I’m wrong?) And I suppose you have never been pulled over (on our”public highways”) by the police when you have not been doing anything at all incorrectly, just so they can go on a fishing expedition? Please people, “Wake up”.

BillDivX says:

A little off...

Yes…that’s true, we do have IP addys, just like we have License plates, and they are there as much to ID us as they are to allow us to perfom our daily business (how does the lien holder ID your car as the one that is associated with your payment, or lack thereof? it has valid business transaction purpose, just as IP is needed for routing data to the proper computer).

BUT that is not the same thing as logging everything that you *do* with that IP. This is like requiring Taco Bell to keep a record of every Plate they see parked in their parking lot. Which is great when somebody starts selling weed out of the Taco Bell drive thru and the police show up with warrants for anyone that’s ever eaten a bean burrito.

BillDivX says:

Bible Thumping...

Works great for those that read and believe the bible….but since I do not particularly BELIEVE in god or satan, I have no reason to fear them, therefore I fear no reprisal for failing to follow their rules….What Christians and Muslims in particular seem to forget – You’re argument only convinces those who are already half way convinced.

I also believe that lack of religion is not a barrier to good humanitarian life. I think religion has become as much, or more of a hinderance to a better society, as it is any help. I see so many people who go to church and act like good christians EVERY sunday, yet walk out of church and become chain-smoking, road-raging assholes, and think that making a silly cross over their chest will “save” them from all their vices of this life.

I don’t WANT to know what happens when I die. I prefer to focus on being a good person now, and not get distracted by who or what is my motivation. My motivation is my caring and compassion for all living things. If you’re lacking that, all the cross waving and bible thumping ain’t going to save you anyway. In addition, I tend to disbelieve the bible and ten commandments, because I think of life as some kind of grand “experiment” by our creator, to see if he/she/it could “grow” intelligent life.

Thinking of this world as a science experiment, it’s easy to see how coming down with some proclamation in stone of “here i am, here’s the rules!” amounts to nothing more than tainting the experiment. Why would someone work so hard to create all this, and to not be involved in it, only to magically appear one day and say “ok, ok, here’s a hint” Nobody as smart as your so called “god” would put so much work into a creation, and then “cheat” in such a obviously flawed way.

If there is a god, he’s probably laughing his fool head off at your vain attempt to pretend that you “know” anything about him, or what behavior he desires from us.

Lastly, I would think that after all the millenia, centuries, and even the most recent events of our own time, people would begin to realize what I said. Bring Religion into an argument over what is right for the world gets us no where. As I said, using religion as your basis for argument only convinces people who already believe, and that gets nobody anywhere. If what you say is wrong, really is wrong, then you should be able to come up with at least one good reason why, other than “god said so.”

For example: Murder is wrong. It cuts short the lives of those who may have had potential for doing much good in the world (read about the case of the mathematician, who probably would have beaten Einstien to the Theory of relativity, if he had not been killed in the opening salvos of WWI. I forget his name, but you should be able to find something on it). It also causes pain and suffering for family members, and in many cases, leaves a child lacking at least one parent, thereby contributing to improperly raised children, who grow up to be immature or otherwise useless adults, who screw up their own kids, perpetuating the grand mess.

See? I wrote up a whole good story on why Murder is bad, and not once had to fall back on god etching into some mysterious peice of rock.

Search Engines WB (user link) says:

ISPs are being burdened

ISPs may be tempted to pass the cost of the increased storage and management off to the customers

ISPs should actually petition the Government to subsidize the costs, or to get significant tax breaks if this does in fact go through…

Possibly what may happen would be the development new hi-technology on the client side that would prevent the ISPs from getting access to the surfers links

claire rand says:

idiocy inside...

anonymous redirection service outside the US (or europe for that matter) anyone?

well that and the um. ‘naughty’ sites using some sort of encyrption avalible only to members. mind you that ‘protects the children’ quite well actually.

i personally don’t care about my online activity being tracked, you kind of get used to surveilance living in the uk, what with all the cameras we have here.

frankly if i get more spam thunderbird will handle it. as for ‘government oppression’ since when has actual evidence been required anyway?

as for the costs, actually i’m all for making it down to the ISP (they no more than the government anyway and that way people without the net arn’t paying for it).

people wise up.. the customer pays anyway, i’d rarther it be a direct charge from my ISP, than ‘funded by government’ i.e. through a tax i’ll pay anyway, but that you can bet will be higher than it needs to be, and lining a few more pockets.

frankly i see a nice market in an encryption supporting browser and some servers, all via good old xml or some such to make filtering it out at the server harder. yeah you can store it, the anonymous proxy i got it from, but where it (the data) was sourced and what it is.. well it will keep you busy.

oh and good luck picking it out from all the legit traffic.

pointless exercise, but if they insist, well it will happen, just don’t expect actual results outside the ad agencies loving it.

BillDivX says:

oh yeah...

‘people wise up.. the customer pays anyway, i’d rarther it be a direct charge from my ISP, than ‘funded by government’ i.e. through a tax i’ll pay anyway, but that you can bet will be higher than it needs to be, and lining a few more pockets.’

Sure…because businesses never fix prices, or line pockets…

Actually, I agree with you here. People without internet shouldn’t have to pay for such a thing, if it gets done, and businesses probably have less room for pocket lining than your friendly nieghborhood senator, but above that I’m just plain against this type of thing. Not just because of being “spied on” or because I’d have to pay for it, but also because it’s an astronomical amount of data, and that’s wasteful, not just to pocketbooks, but the environment. Huge banks of servers to store all that stuff, and hardware for those servers, will come from natural resources, some of which are not renewable. Also, the electricity to run those data centers…and the heat generated by them. sure…we have an energy crisis on this planet, and global warming too. Why not contribute a little more, just so we can store a bunch of data on peoples internet activities, when 99.9% of that data will be useless to anybody, anywhere, ever. Not to mention, it gives internet servers another (complex) database to maintain and search. Isn’t that going to slow down server response times? I don’t really feel like waiting an extra 10 seconds per search so that somebody can keep a record of my pointless, and mostly legal, internet activities.

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