Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hiding in an Onion from Big Brother

Personal security and confidentiality has become something of an item to white hats nowadays. With the Internet allowing for the rapid dissemination of information and speech, an untapped capability to free connected citizens of more oppressive regimes now exists where it didn't before. However, the big shots aren't interested in grass-roots democracy, they'd like cash instead.

Indeed, even resident democracies are putting random bystanders on government watch lists and performing unmonitored surveillance at large.

Of note is a particular instance when a few ABC News reports were tipped off that their cell phones were being monitored to track down anonymous sources for investigative stories. That they were being monitored wasn't particularly surprising, but what caught me off guard was how they were subsequently astroturfed en masse. The blog post was so quickly riddled with newspeak one has to wonder how quickly the machine is trying to spread.

The current environment has raised more than a few eyebrows. Security and privacy tools have taken on new and innovative roles. Phil has stepped up and created Zfone for securing voice communications in an interoperable way between VoIP clients. Scatterchat has really hit the mainstream, using both encryption and onion routing to create a secure channel for IM while still maintaining interoperability as well. Both options provide a way for communication while providing personal protection against evesdropping. Although, one could make the argument that using encryption at all could put you on the list of suspicious persons.

To be honest, I was hesitant to make this post. I know more and more employers and agencies are monitoring people's blogs to ascertain their relative "risk". I realize that this isn't supposed to be an opinion blog per se, and largely I've avoided political topics other than intellectual property issues. Consider this a brief tangent from my larger mission.

But just the fact that I was somewhat afraid to make this post... doesn't that say something about the current state of affairs?

1 comment:

  1. I hope you don't get "disappeared" now. Perhaps we should all watch V for Vendetta a few times.

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