Is Privacy an Illusion?

PRISM/Rainbow tables

What do you see?

In the last few week, we have seen how Governments are interested in watching, some call it spying on it’s netizens. There has also been a number of privacy advocates that have sounded the klaxon at the perceived level of spying by governments. These were governments that were supposed to have safeguarded the liberty of it’s citizens and allies. However, several leaks showed that the citizens are being relentlessly spied upon in several ways.

Ask politely, and citizens worldwide will share their personal data with everyone through social media, describing all aspects of their life and even play online games that highlight their psychological profile. Smart data analytics can reveal lot more about potential political dissidents than a standard survey. Yes, many of us have no concern what can be done with the data, but I seriously think that we have to consider the risk element of what we write on Social Media and how we write it.

Free email systems are not ‘free’ the words and text that you write are analysed, mined and further dissected only to be sold to the highest bidder. How else could large datacentres afford to give your ‘free’ email. Same goes for file-sharing services. If you wanted to be anonymous your could use an anonymous client, but how do you know which clients are run by governments and which are not? Large companies have had to include back-doors to be allowed to conduct business in the country.

Certain supermarkets now perform heat-map analysis on which aisle you use based on your WIFI signal pattern, and yet some others are rumoured to ‘follow’ your RFID tag as you wander around the store, thereby providing information to analysts to predict your next move and decide how to position your next big buy. Remember the story of the teenage girl who was pregnant but the local supermarket knew about it much before her own father did? So in short; we are all tracked, mobile phones signals, wifi, login times, uploads, geo-tagging and so on. Will we have any privacy? I seriously doubt it? Can unscrupulous data admins, government officials blackmail you with your own personal data, of calls that you made to your girlfriend that your wife doesn’t know about? or about places that you were not meant to be at or others did not know about.
Person of Interest anyone?