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Losing my Battle for Privacy

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by melbo, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I think I'm going to just give up; maybe I'll even change my screenname here to my real first and last name.

    As many of you know, I've tried to play cat and mouse with the ever watchful eyes of those who want to exploit our privacy. I've been vigilant against giving out unnecessary information and warned my friends and family to do the same. I've countered the argument that "Only those with something to hide are concerned about that" so many times that I've lost track of how many people think I'm crazier than the lady next door with 12 cats. Oops, that lady was my wife, (she's fully recovered now and only has 2 cats).

    Anyone who has to live and operate within our system must occasionally give up personal information on one level or another: SSN, DOB, address, employer, phone number etc. I was able to casually brush most of this aside for the better part of the last 10 years. I'm finally ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat.

    Every email I send or receive from my office computer is stored, tagged and archived by my company forever as well as every website I visit on my lunch break.

    My IP address at home pinpoints to within a mile of the actual location where I close my eyes for 7 hours each night.

    My smartphone tracks my whereabouts with GPS, cell tower triangulation and also records my emails and browsing habits via AT&T. I bet Steve Jobs can also pull up a list of every song I happen to have uploaded from my CD rip collection to this phone... yeah, I have an iPhone. We used to get up in arms over crazy talk of implantable RFID chips but Apple solved the problem by giving us fun stuff (and necessary business stuff) so we voluntarily carry our tracking chips in our pockets.

    NSA hears, records, tracks and saves everything we do via cell phone, land-line phone, Skype, internet and email via computer systems that then sift through the data for interesting keyword combinations to spit out to a live person for further investigation.

    Setting up new bank accounts requires the voluntary giving up up of enough information to find you if you fell into a haystack while wearing a needle costume. Heck, even setting up cable TV or phone service requires SSN, address and DOB.

    The grocery store gives you a card that saves you money each time you check out. They are buying your shopping habits for later marketing or other uses. Yeah, I filled my application in with false info but the last time I bought some beer at $6 off the non-shopper-card price, I forgot that I didn't have any cash and dropped my debit card for the total. Guess I just blew my cover there!! I wonder if my health care premiums will go up?

    I know that some of these examples can still be gotten around but the problem is that I've fallen for the 'hey little boy, want some candy" trick. I like the technology that delivers me instant information at my fingertips. IT guys will also tell me that one can opt out of website tracking by disabling cookies, disabling javascript and flash, etc. Go ahead. Try it via your browsers advanced options and then spend 15 minutes visiting all your normal spots on the internet and tell me how rich that experience is...

    I used to use TOR for IP cloaking. 1/2 the speed of dial up gets really old really quick in the days of ultra rich graphical content on anything but a 1980's BBS. It's just not practical anymore.

    Plus, every time we log into our computers for some websurfing, we visit the same 4-5 sites in precisely the same order every time. Even if you were wearing a bag over your head, you're still following the same patterns.

    It gets worse.

    A few weeks ago I was in a small 3rd world country that was 21 hours different than my current timezone- far away. I brought US Dollars with me as I didn't want to use a CC while traveling to avoid unnecessary tracks. I walked into a local bank with $500 USD to exchange for the local multi-color paper: 15 minutes later after a Passport scan and background check on hardware that looked oddly familiar from my recent walk through airports in the US, I was on my way. Busted.

    Re-entering the US, I had to walk through customs with all my "vere are your papers?!" in hand. They had digital fingerprint readers and face scan or retina scan cameras at each station and I was relieved when they waved me on after a quick passport scan. I later realized that the computer monitor must have come back with "we already have his fingerprints and picture/retina" from the 3 CCWs I hold. Yeah, the NFA stuff and the multi states drivers licenses probably help them complete the picture too.

    The very worst was just yesterday when I had to provide information for a background check required by my new prospective employer. I felt absolutely nude as I chronicled every address, work location, phone number etc after providing the big 5 I normally try to avoid.

    I could refuse right? I bet I would find my job offer retracted in about 10 minutes.

    I don't use Facebook but my wife does. She knows not to give out personal info and to keep her profile rather generic. You know who doesn't follow those rules? My dingbat sister in law who not only uses all of her information, she tags pictures of ME with my first and last name. Then you have iPhoto and Google Picasa users who store their pictures on the cloud servers after spending hours tagging faces. My face included.

    It was hard enough keeping my SSN and DOB away from others. I can't keep people I don't know or barely know from freely giving up my data to the data miners. I can't fight the ever increasing intrusiveness by Big Brother, my employer or my bank.

    Thank God I got into Gold and Silver for privacy, not. I was asked for my drivers license the last time I made a sale to a local walk in dealer 'for anti terrorism purposes'.

    The only way to evade this is to exit the world as we know it and live like Grizzly Adams. But are you or I ready to give up phones, PCs, Internet and income?

    "It's all over - for the Unknown Soldier."
    - The Doors

    I have a drug test tomorrow and I have to see if my ADP, direct deposit, paycheck hit my account yet. :D
  2. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Welcome to my world Melbo.... lol. I am retired military. They have to know where I am at to pay me. It's like being on a leash. Do you have any idea how far they go and how invasive they are when you are being checked out for a top secret clearance because you are going to school to be a nuke weapons system operator? That happened 6 years before I retired. Hello Big Brother...lol
  3. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Yep, I'm in energy and have NERC and FERC duties of 24/7 response via DHS requirements.

    You should have seen me stutter when the NPR reporter (with tape rolling) asked me to clearly state my first and last name. Same thing happened with a local Public Radio journalist. I cringe that now my full name and my voice are 3 clicks on Google away for the world to see and hear.
  4. CraftyMofo

    CraftyMofo Monkey+++

    And how interesting those comments were...amazing what can be found...
  5. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    just used the special facebook button and posted your blog to facebook! Great note. Privacy is possible, but you have to unplug everything. I fear the battle is lost ntil we go back to snail mail.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Realistically, I don't object to giving up some information as long as I trust the ones I give it to. There are not many of those, believe it. That said, nothing is going to prevent intrusions completely, nor are those intrusions completely secured against anyone that wants you badly enough. In my case, it is a bit tougher because I don"t have a cell phone, so they are going to have to wait until I get home to round me up.

    Up here on the hill and far away from stores, I have chosen to do business on line rather than waste gas on a 40 mile (each way) jaunt for whatever the local general and grocery stores don't have. UPS knows me well. So does the sheriff since he granted my CCW. So does the State Police since I ran the stop sign. (We don't have local cops, town is too small.)

    And of course, the IRS, feds and state. And the SS admin, too. Probably the BATFE since I post here and there, and not all post are friendly to dot gov or especially the pols. (I must be a terrorist.) My passport has stamps from all over the planet. It wouldn't take long for the Navy to find me, either, should they want me back in uniform (fat chance, couldn't pass a physical these days.)

    Let's not forget the hospital that recently did some cutting. The pharmacy can't find me, I didn't fill the prescriptions, but they may be the ONLY ones, and if they wanted to, I think they can tap into medicare databases.

    I don't do social or business networking, so I'm well enough hidden there, I guess. But there are some folks on those sites that can find me readily, it would take just a few clicks.

    I'm on line, and there is no problem finding my IP and tracing it from MA to PA, and pin me down within spitting distance. And cookies are traceable that way, too. (Otherwise, MSN would not put popups on screen from a local area source.)

    My ex knows where I am, too, and she is less than security conscious.

    It is far too late to dive into a cave and go solo, no matter the appeal, someone will find you. It isn't like the mountain man days of the fur trade when there wasn't a body within 50 miles, and even those guys came out at greenup for trading days at rendezvous.

    As I said, I don't mind coughing up info, if only I could be sure it wouldn't be misused. It will be, 'tis but a matter of time until it happens.

    Sympathies, melbo, (and for all of us) but we are all in the same hull, and the engines and course are under someone else's control.
  7. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I used to refuse to fill out the privacy and consent forms at the doctors office back when I paid cash. I just went to a new dentist this week and read in the privacy form that they will be unable to submit fees to my insurance company should I refuse to sign. I signed.
  8. boisepatriot

    boisepatriot Monkey+

    Privacy? What's that? I guarantee you that, as you are sitting at your computer right now, there is someone or some computer monitoring your keystrokes, site choices and communications. If it is not a thief trying to steal your money, it is a private company gathering "market data" on you, or the Government trying to steal your money, and the rest of what's left of your freedom, all thanks in part to the "Patriot Act" and its predecessors. Do you use a cell phone? By now, under the Patiot Act, any time any law enforcement agency wants to know your whereabouts, all they have to do is check the GPS built into all newer cell phones, and you cannot turn off this feature. Think I'm just paranoid? You bet I am, because this stuff IS happening in the name of "freedom" and "counterterrorism." Governmental leaders rarely just wake up one morning and say to themselves, "I think I will tyranize my people today." Tyranny usually starts by officials trying to solve a genuine problem while failing to perceive, or care enough about, the freedoms they are taking away in the process. If you want privacy, go try to find it at the bottom of the ocean. I think that's the only place left to find it, for now. The road to tyranny is paved with good intentions, usually. Sometimes they are just bad people, or politicians, who are not people at all, just walking bribery machines, and I don't mean just the demos, or the republicans. If you still think there is a difference, I feel sorry for you. We should fire them all, hang those who won't go without a fight, have a good old fashioned REVOLUTION, and start over. I made sure they could see it easily.
  9. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Privacy? There is no privacy anymore. Our grand parents had it. Maybe our parents had some. Me, I've none.

    Well maybe we can hope that a nation state will take out our infrastructure with a stuxnet-like worm and it will get the big corporation databases too.
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