Saturday

Nothing Is Really Secret, Is It?

One can't help but notice that our personal data has become a pretty hot commodity these days. One one hand, the desire to profile users for advertising and other purposes has made collectible knowledge of our like, dislikes, habits and quirks a valuable commodity to many companies. On the other, the stated desire or need to keep us safer from terrorists and other kinds of danger has seemingly swept aside assumed Forth Amendment protections for the moment - or at least made it a bit of a cat-and-mouse game for the various government agencies. 


It seems the mode of operation is to go ahead and grab whatever you need and just obfuscate and bs your way through any later repercussions; that's my sense of it anyway.

A couple of recent headlines may bring this into focus.


(Reuters) - Personal data including text messages, contact lists and photos can be extracted from iPhones through previously unpublicized techniques by Apple Inc employees, the company acknowledged this week.

The same techniques to circumvent backup encryption could be used by law enforcement or others with access to the "trusted" computers to which the devices have been connected, according to the security expert who prompted Apple's admission.
US government says online storage isn't protected by the Fourth Amendment
(Engadget) - A couple months ago, a New York judge ruled that US search warrants applied to digital information even if they were stored overseas. The decision came about as part of an effort to dig up a Microsoft user's account information stored on a server in Dublin, Ireland. Microsoft responded to the ruling and challenged it, stating that the government's longstanding views of digital content on foreign servers are wrong, and that the protections applied to physical materials should be extended to digital content. In briefs filed last week, however, the US government countered. It states that according to the Stored Communications Act (SCA), content stored online simply do not have the same Fourth Amendment protections as physical data
If you think your personal data is not worth anything, or could not be used against you (because you know you have no "done" anything wrong), just be aware of the criminal elements driving so much of today's malware - much of it geared toward stealing identities or other personal data.

And think of the famous quote attributed to Cardinal Richelieu:
Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him.
Ouch! 

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