When Everything You've Ever Said Can & Will Be Used Against You By Anyone... Forever

from the anonymity-suddenly-seems-a-little-more-interesting dept

Leave it to Rick Falkvinge to add a bit of perspective on the various debates going on in the world today concerning both data retention and anonymity, by telling people to think about how you might act knowing that anything and everything not only can, but will be used against you, by pretty much anyone at some point in the future. I'm sure some people will insist that they have no problem with this. But think about how many little things you do that could be taken out of context or used against you in some manner or another.

It’s the equivalent of a police arrest in the United States, where you are told — very seriously – that “Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law“. What happens? Well, most people take the hint and shut up completely.

Now, imagine if it wasn’t just a court of law as in the arrest scenario, but that anybody that could see anything you had ever said. Future employers, dates, law enforcement… not just in your own country, but also every country you’ll ever visit in the future. Also, imagine that this holds true for the rest of your life, with the laws undergoing change in the next 60 years or whatever number of years you have left, and imagine what you say today is going to be repainted in the light of 60 years from now. (There was nothing said in 1941 which was common knowledge and social glue then, but which would be terribly embarrassing and a complete block-out if found today, was there?)

It would become practically impossible to say… anything remotely challenging. At least if you wanted a future. You may still talk about the weather.

Many people are willing to share a lot of their life online. But I think almost everyone likes to keep at least some aspects of their lives private. Efforts to wipe out anonymity and to record data for as long as possible put the things you'd rather be kept secret at risk.

Filed Under: data retention, permanent record, privacy

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  1. icon
    Peter S. Chamberlain (profile), 10 Aug 2011 @ 11:57pm

    Re: What's in a word?

    I'm a retired lawyer, and have been involved as a party in some litigation. You're just flat out dead wrong. Anything you say, or don't say for that matter, can and will be twisted around and used against you.
    One error in story: the average criminal is not as bright as he thinks he is and getting him to keep his mouth shut and not write foolish letters, too, is a challenge for defense counsel. My favorite example: letter to judge:
    I didn't do it. I wasn't there. I saw the girl (victim)." Another client said, in court, "I didn't steal the car, the dealer left the keys in it." Civil case defendant: Do you have a current official Volkswagen manual? No. But I paid Joe Doaks to sneak one out for me and the dirty thief didn't steal one for me like he promised." I wasn't going over 60 [then, minutes later) 70, then, later, 80."
    Expressions of sympathy for the other guy hurt in a wreck, "You people . . . ," "I thought . . . ," not reporting a rape instantly, or "I think I need to talk to a lawyer" can prejudice nad have prejudiced cases.

    This "anything you ever said on line can and will be used against you forever" problem is very real, as you will learn if you ever find yourself caught up in a lawsuit, or on TV news, and get asked about it all, Everybody can be made out to look like a liar if somebody wants to do that. I had a judge insist I had said something in an oral argument, while talking about another point, that would have been contrary to something I had said fourteen times in writing in the case record. I never cold find out what he was talking about. And that's just the things I have said and posted publicly.

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