Privacy became more of a wish in our times than something that does really exist. Let’s
briefly look at the bigger picture of this [tag]privacy invasion[/tag] issue. We’re under total video surveillance, not only from different cameras, but also from space. You can be videotaped anywhere and anytime.
And it’s not just government video surveillance, take a look at such relatively new features as Google’s “StreetView” and other video programs where your house (and all its PRIVATE land) can be photographed from the space and the photo can be seen by anybody curious enough to peak in your private life. Note that you didn’t give anyone permission to take pictures of your private property. And if your property is behind the fence, then without the space video-invasion it would be difficult to look inside your property without your direct permission (or breaking the law).
But that’s only part of the problem. Don’t you love airport security checks where you have to take off your shoes (be thankful that not your pants)? Sure, it’s explained by the greater good, and it might be necessary, but what I’m worried about is that people are losing the very sense of privacy. If you think about it, any security measures can be explained by a greater good. But where is the border between the security requirements and the total violation of human rights?
Though the line about taking of your pants is a joke, X-ray naked scans can become a reality for the nearest future. It was already tested in UK and US. It looks like everything has been done so people forget even the idea of privacy. I mean how people can maintain self-respect if they can be virtually stripped for no reason at all?
And don’t kid yourself that your naked photo will be stored separately from the file with
your name, address, etc. It’s just doesn’t matter, because all this information can be easily analyzed and records can be matched. In other words, your naked picture can be easily matched to your name.
Do you still have illusion of privacy? May be you think something like this, “I might be scanned, but at least my thoughts remain private”? Don’t kid yourself. Look at government wiretapping that is often done without a warrant. Can it really help to find potential terrorists or it’s just a great substantiation for the eavesdropping on all your calls? May be both, but my guess is that terrorist are capable to encrypt their calls much more effectively than average citizen who has no idea about wiretapping and eavesdropping.
And even that’s not all! Some advocates of “privacy compromise” suggest that all end users should have a second layer of authentication including our biometrics.
Biometrics is just another set of parameters that can be added to the huge data banks that are already used to make a decision about every aspect of your life. It might be and extra security layer for the commerce security. (Though who said that the biometrics can’t be stolen the same way as any other data from the hacked databanks?) But if used for the access to the public services it certainly one further step to the elimination of privacy.
Another suggestion is that we should completely give up our anonymity and authenticate everything, from computers and applications to every ingress and egress connection, in order for the authorities to be able to track down the source of hacker’s attack.
That might help to track down hackers, but combined with space video surveillance, and wiretaps it puts us under almost total 24/7 control.
I’m saying “almost” because now you at least don’t have a computer chip built in your passport. But it’s going to change very soon. Bush administration suggested to implant radio frequency ID (RFID) chips (that can be read remotely) into each passport issued after October 2006. And other governments (including UK and Britain) have similar plans. This means that your name, nationality, sex, date of birth, place of birth,
photograph (and in the nearest future biometrics) will be readily available anytime for anyone with a badge.
What is worse, this information can be stolen by identity thieves by aiming powerful antennas at the person. The encryption keys used to somehow protect the privacy, are not sufficiently secure…
So for those who think that authentication for every network packet is necessary, I say it’s better be done using other measures such as IP v6. It’s not perfect, but at least it allows us to preserve some privacy. Otherwise we totally give up all our rights and let government track virtually all our steps. And it doesn’t mean that we have something to hide, we just want to preserve human dignity that separates us from the animals.
Where is the borderline between security measures and giving up all our rights, and when will be the end of this madness? Here’s something we need to remember: there couldn’t be any freedom or democracy or human dignity in any country if there is no privacy left in it and if its people are under total surveillance.