Bad Idea

blown-bitsI’m currently reading this book and, in the process, am rethinking the whole ‘blogging’ thing.  Why are we so willing and ready to give up our privacy and anonymity for convenience or a few bucks or perhaps something else?  I was surprised to discover that digital photos contain identifying information.  Apparently it’s possible to determine which camera (by serial number) took the picture, and by implication, if you mailed in your owner registration card, the camera’s owner.  And in order to thwart counterfeiting of money, every page printed on a color printer contains an embedded ‘fingerprint’ that can be traced back to that printer.  Keep this in mind if you thought you could print something (perhaps a nasty letter about your employer) and send it anonymously.

And did you know the government is able to remotely turn on the microphone in your cell phone even when it is turned off?  They can do the same thing to your OnStar navigation system in your car if they want to listen in on conversations taking place in your car.  I’ve also learned that 87% of the population in the United States can be uniquely identified if you have the following  pieces of info:  gender, zip code, and date of birth.  And gender can often be inferred. 

Don’t think this doesn’t affect you if you believe you have nothing to hide.  Why?  Because think about what needed to take place during the American Revolution in order to win independence from England.  Had England been able to control all the communications taking place, it would have been impossible to organize and plan the revolution.  Dissidents and opposing opinions are vital to a thriving democracy and we shouldn’t be willing to give away our privacy so thoughtlessly.

I’ve only read the first 50 pages of this book but it already has me viewing life differently.  I’m not sure how I would have felt about an article I read in today’s paper prior to reading this book.  Is it a good idea to have individuals taking pictures of every single person encountered and then uploading those pictures to a web site in the unlikely event that person commits a crime against you?  The entrepreneur behind Face File wants you to believe this will keep you safe. 

I think it’s a way for Wilcox to make money.


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