All posts in Privacy

Social over-sharing

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In some parts of the world over-sharing or just sharing information about you, your life-style and family can be really dangerous. There are many types of information one can over-share on the Internet, typically on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Foursquare :

  • Personal information, for example: name, maiden name, birthday, schools we attended, who are our friends and family, pictures.
  • Geo-location or location information: this information tells people where you are and where to find you. Keep Reading →

Smart phone / mobile phone tracking and privacy

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The first hand-held mobile phone was demonstrated by Motorola in 1973 and since 90s, mobile phones have become one of the technologies that have the biggest impact on the way we live. Cell phones or mobile phones have reached an impressive 96.2% of the world population and have penetrations rates of over 100% in developed nations. This information technology has spread faster that any other, including TV, Radio and the Internet. Can you remember how we lived before cellphones?

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US Access to SWIFT data

Im not a Terrorist

This is a topic that caught my eye a while ago and just found out it’s still an open issue.

According to their website:

SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a member-owned cooperative through which the financial world conducts its business operations with speed, certainty and confidence. Over 8,300 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in more than 208 countries trust us every day to exchange millions of standardised financial messages.

So basically it’s the organization that manages the API’s and systems that make international banking work smoothly.

This Belgium based organization had it’s major databases in the US until an article in the NY Times aired that the CIA under the Bush administration had been data mining the database to find links to terrorism, after Europe protested the database was move to Holland.  So the issue now is that the US intelligence agencies want to keep having unlimited access to spy on EU Citizens using the usual terrorism joker card.

I think this is a big issue and should be handled a such.  There are some open questions I have to this deal:
What does a US or in fact any intelligence agency have to do with our financial records without a warrant?
Is every person in the world considered a potential terrorist?
Were are rights, are privacy?
While we’re at it:  How long is this data retained?  How is it guarded? Who makes sure it’s correctly discarded?

Benjamin Franklin summed this up better than I can ever try to:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety

Changes to the data collection law in Germany

I’ve been living in Germany for a little more than a year now, and since then lots of things have really impressed me in the way privacy, digital rights, data collection, infomation security are managed in politics.

There have been some major attempts to create a state of surveillance protect the people and the institutions from hackers, terrorists in exchange for freedom and civil liberties.  Let’s take for example the Skype Trojan they intented to create and use out in the wild without warrants, the prohibition of “hacker tools” or the data collection law.

After giving a big fight, last week the court in Karlsruhe ruled that:

Data can only be collected when the stability or security of Germany or another country need to be defended and “life, limb, and freedom of German citizens” need to be protected (The Register)

I think this is a mayor advance, and I really hope this will be followed by action in the other controversial laws.