Subject: [IP] more on Google search and seizure, etc. vs. technologists
Begin forwarded message:
From: Bob Frankston <Bob2email@example.com> Date: December 4, 2005 12:48:19 PM EST To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Cc: "'Lauren Weinstein'" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: [IP] Google search and seizure, etc. vs. technologists
After writing my comments below I was going to close by noting that there
is far more to worry about with fingerprints than Google since there is
still a belief that finger prints are authoritative even if there is only a
small portion recovered and the matching is subjective.
In the same way we can try to avoid leaving any tracks and live a very
circumscribed life. Or we can hope that our trails are noisy and that a
visit to whitehouse.com (vs whitehouse.gov) will not mark us for life. Who
knows if the visit was intended, unintended, prurient or just curious?
This isn't really about technology in isolation or Google per se.
We should do what we can to make people aware of these issues -- as with
Sony DRM ultimately it's people's perception. If Google is seen as spying
on us then they will lose too much business. Ultimately it's that rather
than users setting complex option that limits threats.
It's about transparency -- we need to pry into Google's closets before they
pry into ours.
The average user didn't understand the Internet until it was packaged in a
browser and today the internet is the web and people still don't understand
it beyond the simple examples they have. But even if they think that people
are watching them they don't know what it means. Even the so-called experts
implement link level security instead of end to end.
As to Google keeping track of your searches ... what about the trail you
leave in that old world of physical objects when you use your credit cards.
A few key words on Google are mild compared with you are stop at the 7-11
and the cell call you made or the email messages. The threat of Google
keeping track of your keywords is very abstract. The reason this story made
the news is that it is very unusual.
Those who say users will never be able to use computers for word processing
for have LANs at home were right.
And completely wrong.
There is a middle ground -- it doesn't just happen by accident. Someone has
to create a bridge. If the other "side" is visible then more people would
try. There is a book, "Crossing the Chasm", about getting people to make
the leap. More often we have to build the bridges before people know there
is even an other side.
And very often there really isn't or we pick the wrong one. Handwriting
recognition was a big deal but a failure until Graffiti. Today oddly enough
Palm is emphasizing little keyboards and Microsoft is trying to push full
handwriting recognition. So much for presuming a simple linear path.
Home networking (LANs) is personal for me since I had to make sure the Windows had the enabling mechanisms and I was trying to move in the direction of encrypted IPv6 with legacy ports locked down.
Unfortunately we still haven't learned the lessons of Multics and Project
MAC (http://www.frankston.com/?name=Symbiosis as in Man/Machine Symbiosis)
in giving users a way to understand and express their intent. Of course
it's far more difficult today. At least in Multics you had to take a step
to make your files visible while Unix defaulted to starting with the door
We do have a way to say "no cookies" but you can't really do much that way.
Same problem with the Java VM in the browser -- there is an all or nothing
Worrying about Google tracking you is in the same vein. If you use their
single login it's like being tracked by American Express or by your
library. Of course we know librarians won't track you -- but they will
track which books are popular and a really good library may try to make
better predictions so they can better serve you even if the chortle at some
of the findings.
If you don't use a single login then it's really hard to avail yourself of
their set of services. Same for Yahoo, AOL, MSN etc. As much as I have
problems with passport there seems to be some separation between your
"identity" and its use.
The reason I keep coming back to phishing is that it goes to the heart of
some of our perceptions. Is "Google" a nice warm friendly site or a site
that promises to be worth more than a few billion dollars?
I once looked up "Sodomy in Georgia" on Yahoo which was the title of a
David Bunnell editorial in the 1980's. The ads that popped up showed what
they thought of my search (a good reason for not having animated GIFs in
ads) and, by extension, me. BTW, just tried the search on Google in an
attempt to pollute my legacy and the law was eventually repealed.
Should I shy away from searching? Should I not give to political candidates
(the disclosure laws are indeed a violation of the first amendment)? Should
I worry too much about police finding a latent pencil line on a pad of
paper in my house having the words "dead meat" on it (a reminder to buy
Begin forwarded message:
From: Lauren Weinstein <email@example.com> Date: December 3, 2005 8:53:22 PM EST To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: [IP] Google search and seizure, etc. vs. technologists
In the 1980s, the "average user" would never need a local area network in his home. In the early 1990s, the "average user" would never understand or need the Internet. And so on.
That situation is gradually starting to improve, but only because the setting up of *some* level of security has become part of the standard installation scripts for many products. But until this became the *default*, even when it was easy to use, most people didn't bother. Why? Most of the time, simply because they didn't believe that any associated risks applied to them -- and that view is easy to understand. The computer industry is great at promoting the vast benefits of their products, but do their best to keep the downsides to the fine print, buried in click-through license mumbo-jumbo that even many lawyers would have trouble understanding, along with lilliputian quick-start guides that are the only instructions many people read.
The same thing goes for Internet services. It is utterly reasonable to expect that the *defaults* provided will respect people's privacy, security, and other rights. We are a society of laws and those laws are there (at least in theory) to help protect those rights. It is unfair in the extreme to suggest that anyone who doesn't jump through hoops to protect themselves from information abuse is somehow negligent, while asserting that legislative efforts should not be made to rein in the way that the services behave -- so that those services meet a reasonable standard that society agrees is appropriate.
Yes, imposing society's will on such firms can be tough to do, especially when dealing with powerful and well-heeled interests. But not to do so -- to not even try -- is just surrendering to what most of us know in our hearts is just plain wrong.
--Lauren-- Lauren Weinstein firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 http://www.pfir.org/lauren Co-Founder, PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org Co-Founder, EEPI - Electronic Entertainment Policy Initiative - http://www.eepi.org Moderator, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com DayThink: http://daythink.vortex.com
- - -
------------------------------------- You are subscribed as BobIP@Bobf.Frankston.com To manage your subscription, go to http://v2.listbox.com/member/?listname=ip
Archives at: http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting- people/
Archives at: http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/
Powered by eList eXpress LLC