[LINK] Bruce Schneier: Privacy eroded in virtual world
stil at stilgherrian.com
Thu Feb 24 09:56:49 EST 2005
Respected information security expert Bruce Schneier has penned (well,
probably typed) this very clear piece for eWeek explaining that in the
virtual world, the boundaries of our privacy are not the same as in the
physical world -- with the result that our privacy is being eroded.
Some choice cuts:
A dozen years ago, if someone wanted to look through your
mail, they would have had to break into your house. Now they
can just break into your ISP. Ten years ago, your voice mail
was on an answering machine in your house; now it's on a
computer owned by a telephone company. [...] Data that used
to be under your direct control is now controlled by others.
We have no choice but to trust these companies with our
privacy, even though the companies have little incentive to
protect that privacy.
Our protections against police abuse have severely eroded.
The courts have ruled that the police can search your data
without a warrant, as long as that data is held by others.
The police need a warrant to read the e-mail on your
computer, but they don't need one to read it off the backup
tapes at your ISP. The courts have affirmed many times that
there's no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to
data held by third parties.
This isn't a technology problem; it's a legal problem...
One question: What is the equivalent legal status in Australia? Can data
help by others be used by police without a warrant? Or is this unclear?
(With all the new laws "required" by the Neverending War Against Being
Afraid, I've kinda lost track...)
Stilgherrian <stil at stilgherrian.com>
Internet, IT and Media Consulting, Sydney, Australia. ABN 25 231 641 421
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