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Doug's Mailbag: Internet Killed Privacy

One reader makes the case that we cannot go back to a private world after the rise of the Internet:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that there is no way short of leaving the Internet in its entirety that anyone can hope to reclaim some semblance of privacy as we once knew it. And even then, the person leaving the Internet has left footprints all over the virtual veldt.

The Internet is a network of networks. People who are interested in gathering intelligence on their fellow human beings have all the interconnectedness they need to hunt down that sort of information. And we, the Internet users, are all too willing to share it, in order to have access to the services that the first group provide as an incentive to get that information they crave. Add to that automated daemons that scour the net for information of interest, and massive database engines that collect, collate and corroborate all the myriad bits and bytes, and you have the greatest privacy destruction engine the world has ever seen. And if you're interested in your privacy, don't expect the governments of our nation states to come to your rescue -- it's in its best interest to be able to accumulate as much information on its citizens as it can in order to facilitate social cohesion and stability.

Does this sound too cynical? Too cut and dried? Really? When the UK is becoming a surveillance society, when we have Congress considering CISPA, when we have Facebook hoovering up information daily by the terabyte, is this really anything more than a précis of the true situation? Privacy as we knew it died a long time ago; we're now arguing about its dried-out corpse. Pandora's box was opened; the demons have multiplied, and even a bigger box is not going to retrieve them.

-Den

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to dbarney@redmondmag.com. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 04/25/2012 at 1:19 PM


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