stuff.... random stuff....

Digital Privacy in a digital world

, posted: 14-Sep-2014 11:13

I have a secret. We all do. How likely is it that someone else is going to hear my secret? let's forget for a second the whole digital thing, I guess that all depends on who I tell and where.

For example I tell my secret to my best friend, she's pretty trustworthy and we discuss it miles away from earshot of anyone else. That secret is pretty safe right? I'm picking so...

What if I was to assemble a human chain of 50 strangers with me at one end and my Friend at the other. Then I had them pass my secret down the length of the chain to her? Now it seems pretty certain that my secret is going to public knowledge in the town square and every neighboring town for miles!

Now back to the digital world of instantaneous data gratification!...

When we use technology to pass on our private lives that is exactly what happens. The secret is converted into 1s and 0s and passed along a chain from device to device. Sure the data may be encrypted or obfuscated but at the end of the day it only takes 1 person or device in the chain to compromise the secret.

Do I thing our government should spy on us? Hell No. Do they? I would expect in a round about way thru their surveillance partners they do. A keynote speaker at Microsoft TechLive last week noted, data is the new oil.

Someone is always listening. Im sure someone who is better at maths and stats could come up with a figure showing how for each extra person or device in 'the chain' how much more likely it is to be overheard.

Privacy in a digital world come down to the individual. If I want to keep my private communications private I encrypt them. Is this going to keep them private? Maybe.. It sure makes it much harder to observe. Or else I don't share what I want to keep private. Every post I make, every pic I take (that sounds like it could be turned into a song) I don't expect to stay secret.

As the 'value' of the data increases the chance someone will exploit it increases. If I was a celebrity who looked good in a dress I sure as he'll would not be trusting 50 strangers with compromising photos.

I guess I would like to see, rather than people demanding privacy which is simply not ever going to happen with 50 strangers in a chain, we started to think more about how our digital interactions are insecure and treat them as such.

As always, this view is my own and does not represent the view of my employer or any other organisation :)

@chris021 on twitter

Other related posts:
Samsung Galaxy Explodafone (Note 7)
Why I don't like CAA today
New Zealand's iPhone support divide

chris021's profile

Chris Hoffmann
New Zealand

Areas of Interest:
Network Security
Computer Forensics


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