Posts Tagged ‘current affairs’

Do We Have Any Privacy?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

All this talk of spying and surveillance is getting to me, I feel llike I’ve been up to no good – even though I haven’t.  If you look at the online news, you’ll see loads of articles and reports of extensive spying networks – there’s even an article on the UK setting up a bugged cyber cafe at the last G8 conference  – wow how cool is that!  But the problem is that although you’ll probably learn lots of useful and interesting stuff from eavesdropping on presidents, despots and prime ministers – you’ll not learn much from me.

Well you’ll learn a lot about me, but to be honest I don’t think a lot of my web searching habits are really anything to do with MI5 or the FSA. Sure they’ll learn I spend a lot of time looking for bargains on Ebay, that I perhaps drink a little too much and that my obsession with Kylie Minogue is perhaps not that healthy for a man of my age.  It’s not really the work for spymasters and anti-terrorist organisations, well is it ?

The problem is that most of our applications and our online activity is just so easy to spy on. Take email for example, I’ve just read an excellent article entitled – How Secure is Email.  To discover that every email I’ve ever sent has been completely readable by anyone who had a mind to, is rather disconcerting.  An email is always sent and received in clear text unless you take the care to encrypt it, which of course most of us don’t.  The internet as a transport mechanism doesn’t help either, your data is transported via a series of servers, routers and bridges owned by a huge variety of people , organisations and governments.  Which of course means that any of these people can just have a quick peek at your data whenever they feel like it.  Or more worryingly, like PRISM can just store everything then run a computer program to have millions of quick peeks whenever they like.

So is it just unreasonable to expect privacy in the modern world?  Should we just expect that everyone and their dog will be able to see whatever you do online?  Personally I say no, I don’t agree that catching one stupid terrorist every ten years is a big enough pay off for spying on 60 million people 24/7 for a decade.