Friday, March 09, 2007

If you aren't paranoid, you haven't been paying attention.

One needs to get used to the fact that, unless civilization is crippled, there are going to be huge archives of data collected about everyone. The government is already starting to make it illegal to erase these archives. Growing computational power will make it increasingly simple to search, collate, and analyze these archives. Some examples:

Your cellular telephone company is going to track the location of your phone at all times. This "service" will be sold to the public as useful for 911 calls. It might already be implemented; I haven't kept track of the issue.

Your phone company keeps track of all the numbers being dialed from your phone and calling to your phone.

Your cellular telephone can be used as a bugging device.

Your friends, acquaintances, coworkers, rivals, etc. are going to take your picture and make videos of you with and without your knowledge. These photographs and videos are going to get posted to the Web. As computational resources get better and cheaper, it is going to become increasingly easy to identify you, even if you currently aren't identified. The coeds who get a little crazy during spring break this year might have to answer some tough questions ten years from now when they are trying to make partner at the law firm. (Or not, the mores might change as everyone's skeletons get pulled from the closet.)

If you get mentioned in the local paper or written about in the company newsletter, it is going to available forever. It might not be posted to the Web, but it will be there to be searched if someone subpoenas it. The same will all of your business emails. Remember it is becoming increasingly illegal for businesses to delete anything.

Businesses right now make certain privacy guarantees, but all of them will roll over for the government, and their guarantees aren't necessarily honored if the company is acquired. Sure, Real Doll guaranteed your privacy, but when Sony (or Hustler) buys them out, they made no such promises to you.

Everything you buy with a credit card is part of your permanent record.

Everything you buy while using a store loyalty card is part of your permanent record.

Your ISP will bend over for the government.

If you fly somewhere, it is part of your permanent record.

If you cross the border, it is part of your permanent record.

I repeat, searching, collating, and analyzing your permanent record is getting steadily easier.

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