The utopian privacy

Pierluigi Paganini December 07, 2011

Are you able to imagine a world in which everybody is free to communicate without being intercepted, spied on, tracked? Have you ever dreamt, reading sad and bad news pages on the censure of many governments, a world where the concept of freedom of thought has been materialized?

In recent decades we have witnessed radical change communication and the emergence of powerful new channels for sharing information. We think of social networks, the various Facebook, Twitter or Google + … millions, billions of people eager to communicate, share without fear, away from prying eyes.

What to say about the explosion of mobile and the impact on daily life. We are in constant contact with our friends, with colleagues, sharing photographs, documents, and geographic location.Too bad too many people ignore that these tablet that we carry with us, like the smartphone, are equivalent to our computers and as such should be protected.

And which are the main mode to communicate on working places. Simple to reply! We prefer even emails to invite our fellow desk to go get some coffee. Then came Skype with video with this powerful tool we can communicate, share files, chat in the absolute belief of many that it can not be intercepted.

Wake up. “They” control us, “They” control our children, “They” listen to our communications and read our mail, “They” know our movements.The statements may appear strong, paranoid, but “Their” interference goes beyond the imagination. But who do I mean by “they”? “They” are our own Governments that drive the adoption of technological means of which require control. Check the network, censor content, intercept the threats.They continuous try to impose any kind of control using laws and formal Act, inviting ISP to trace our data and Telecom Operator to register our communications.

But what are the real causes of such interference?

There are two main reasons,

  1. National security
  2. The spying with the intent to acquire information that directly or indirectly can bring profit to a small group of people.

This second intent is the most dangerous, and even those two reasons are overlapped. Too often in the name of national security is abused to exercise control, unfortunately for private purposes. It ‘happened to us in Italy, it is common practice in many industrialized countries.

CarrierIQ scandal, a company that would have deployed on an unspecified number of mobile phones of different brands and models, a silent app able to spy on customers. After reporting of the researcher Trevor Eckhart we have observer tepid denials from CarrierIQ, and the emergence of an uncomfortable truth. The citizens are being spied on. I would like to believe that the producers were unaware of what the device does, but I am skeptical. Who is behind this, and in situations like these how they mediate the exposure? Government simply denied any reference, any involvement of the majors firms, to impute guilt to a small company to be dismantled and provide a remedy to eliminate the spy agent. But what actually install on the devices when they initiate the removal of the app? who knows. The same app works at a very low level, a sort of backdoor and it is developed to be multi-platform. But how much will cost? It has been argued that the costs are certainly not insignificant, and above the primary business of the same company, so why spy the citiziens?

Questions to which no response can be provides.

Another case was related to Skype flaws that can be used to track the final user, localizing its position in a simple way. The news came after that some months ago the “The Chaos Computer Club” hacker group have discovered that the German Government  is in possibly to intercept Skype call for investigations.

We Could Go on for hours quoting Chinese censorship technology through the implementation of the “Golden Shield” project, introducing such events as the daily Tender Called by the Russian government to build a network monitoring system.

Finally we discuss the social network platforms used to control people and relationships, and, unfortunately, to try and direct the sentiment of generations on issues of social interest, that I think the more subtle form of interference, and I call “psychological interference.”

The situation is complex, impossible to manage, because of the enormous interests at stake. We discuss the control of information, access to information in a privileged way primary, before it can be manipulated.
Frankly, I have no hope, “They” will push more and more to have total control over the individual, hacking their minds, and this perhaps simply implanting a chip while we vaccinate against another pandemic created in the laboratory .
We are children of the era in the concept of privacy has been alienated. No one is safe from prying eyes.

What shall we do?

  • We have to manage our exposure to media, becoming aware of our digital identity and digital reputation.
  • We must to be informed on the main risks we face and we must avoid risk behavior such publishing of personal information everywhere.
  • We must use mobile devices with the understanding that they are like our PC and must be maganed in the same way from a security point of you.
  • We must protect our data.
  • Be confident that our communications, whether email or phone, are secure.
… to be continued
Pierluigi Paganini


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