Anonymity in the Internet age

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Modbert, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. Modbert
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    Modbert Daydream Believer Supporting Member

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    Si Modo and I got to talking about the subject of the anonymity on the internet in another thread. I figured it would be a good idea to make a whole new thread about that. So I moved the posts so far in the discussion to here. What are your thoughts USMB about the topic? Do you believe anonymity in general is the thing of the past or do you believe that it will stay in some new form in the future?

    Anonymity on the internet is already quickly going the way of the Dodo bird. I wouldn't be surprised if it's completely gone within ten years or so.
     
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  2. Si modo
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    Si modo Diamond Member

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    I think you are right. This is a rather unique time we all have at the moment, I suppose.
     
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  3. Modbert
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    Modbert Daydream Believer Supporting Member

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    I think anonymity in general will be gone. It is due in large part to the much larger role that the internet plays everyone's life.

    I mean for me, it is already pretty much my only source of news. I don't watch any of the network cable television channels or listen to the radio for news. Though I do listen to NPR online if that counts. I can shop for anything I want online at Amazon. There are sites you can buy books where it's far cheaper than buying from Borders or B&N. Movies and TV? Netflix.

    There's such a vast amount of information out there that I think the problem that we're dealing with now and in the future is similar to what happens in a Brave New World by Huxley. I don't want to say there's too much information but rather an overwhelming amount. You see it best with the 24/7 news cycle where the most "important" news story has become more so the "flavor of the week".

    Last week it was Casey Anthony. This week it will likely be News Corp. Next week it will be something else. I mean it wasn't that long ago that the Arab Spring occurred or the Wikileaks stuff came out. And yet it seems forever ago with the cycle we have today. And stuff is still going on in both places but the media in general has already moved on.

    Just my two cents. I think it really is a fascinating subject.
     
  4. Si modo
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    Si modo Diamond Member

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    I agree. It is an interesting topic.

    For example, I'm sort of feeling like a heel. I put someone on my cellular family plan and I can track their whereabouts at will. It doesn't sit well with me that I can just log on and find out where they are at will. But, I'm still doing it for some other solid reasons.

    Also, the biometrics...the more I think about it, the more I think we will all have to have a print scan (or even a DNA scan when the technology develops) to use a computer, any computer. That shoots anonymity out of the park.

    With tech advances, our conveniences go up. We get used to having these - they become a normal part of our lives. The market is very different now because of that, as you mentioned. We have electronic signatures allowing for contract closures.

    So, limiting the internet becomes a big injury on our market systems. We can't do that without some serious economic ramifications.

    But, we also have a duty to protect the citizens (as has been brought up).

    So, it comes down to a decision - take away that anonymity (along with the inherent dangers of the government having even more access to all of our personal identifying information) to protect the citizens or upset the market and other systems by controlling and limiting the internet?

    More of my just thinking out loud.

    Yeah, good topic, doggie.

    Maybe start a thread?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  5. Si modo
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    Si modo Diamond Member

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    :cool:
     
  6. Modbert
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    Modbert Daydream Believer Supporting Member

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    What I bolded sort of reminds me like a electronic leash for one's kids. I personally can see the added benefits of having such a feature in a phone. Especially if they ever go missing. However, I can see the downsides you talk about too.

    Plus, another factor being that it's not just the person in control over the phone who can see where that phone is located. As we've seen in the past, cops use it all the time. It does bring up some interesting civil liberty issues for least the future considering I'm sure many people would not want such a feature in their phones. Though then there's the whole argument that one doesn't need to buy a phone from X so therefore it's irrelevant.

    I can see biometrics playing a huge role in the future.

    As for the government, the only thing is that there really isn't any information they can't get their hands on. Everyone leaves an electronic trail online. The question becomes how far is the government willing to go to acquire that information at times and when they are legally/ethically right in doing so.
     
  7. Si modo
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    Si modo Diamond Member

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    IIRC, there have already been some court cases about cops putting GPS trackers on a suspect's car without their knowledge. I don't know the rulings on that, though. (I would usually look them up, but I'm getting ready to catch some zzzzzzzzs in a few). Some of the argument for it was that the car used the public streets so there was no expectation of privacy.

    I also know that there was a court case where the cops used IR to discover someone who was growing marijuana in a building (may have been a home). Again, would look that up but want to sleep while I can. I can't recall if the evidence was allowed or not.

    And, we already have the traffic cams - I got nailed several times in Maryland. I received a lovely pic of my car and my plate, ith me driving it, along with time and location information. So, unbeknownst to me at the time, the authorities knew exactly where I was and when I was there.

    EZ Passes also allow for such information.

    If we write a check sometimes we have to provide a thumbprint.

    And to your point about the government having access to personal identifying information (PII): Right. The government does have access to a lot of that information. However, The Privacy Act does afford us some protection from those potential abuses. Some protection.

    But right now, the government doesn't have ready access to our DNA profiles, unless we have allowed (or been court ordered to allow) them access to it. I think there was a bill last year that wanted to force all those arrested, not just convicted, to provide a DNA sample. I don't know what the outcome of that was. I was against the bill because all who are arrested are not guilty and why should they be required to surrender such information to the authorities?

    Anyway, I think with technology advancements (like biometrics), the average Joe may no longer be in a position of keeping that information from the authority's hands (or at least, their reach).

    So, how can we better protect our privacy? A better Privacy Act? That seems like having the fox guard the hen house.
     
  8. Modbert
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    Modbert Daydream Believer Supporting Member

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    The argument used was indeed that it was on a public street or in public view so therefore no expectation of privacy. Pretty sure whatever court was ruling on that ruled in favor of that argument too.

    My biggest problem with the cameras that "catch" speeders is two fold:

    1.) The fundamental right of our justice system "innocent before proven guilty" goes right out the window.

    2.) There has been numerous cases where the companies behind the cameras rig it so they can make more money off the cameras. There have been various methods used, pretty screwed up.

    I remember the DNA bill too. I was also against it for the same reasoning. Once again, takes out the whole "innocent before proven guilty."

    As to best protect our privacy, honestly it is a transparent government that the people can prevent from abusing our rights by use of the ballot box. As cliche as it may sound. After all, any sort of law that is made that actually protects our privacy can just be as easily repealed. Though I do think there are some laws that can be put in place.
     
  9. Iridescence
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  10. Momanohedhunter
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    I was under the impression that it never existed. I remember when it was coming (internet and email) a dude on the news saying not to put anything on the net that you wouldn't want the whole world to know, and that privacy would be impossible.
     

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