On NSA / PRISM

June 7, 2013

This puts even darker underlines beneath the increasingly withering concept of online privacy.

We all say, “don’t put anything online that you want kept private,” but in practice, this is easier said than done. Sometimes we move our sensitive stuff online out of convenience (online bill pay, DropBox). But what’s also worrisome to is how our favorite computer companies are inexorably moving to “the cloud,” to where we won’t have a choice to keep our stuff offline.

A Google Chromebook with all its data stored in the cloud, is essentially useless without an Internet connection, and is basically the government’s wet dream; a funnel monitoring everything you do digitally. But it’s clearly the direction things are going.

And forget Google Glass. Seriously.

One setup I’ve long meant to set up is a box with no Internet, a bare minimum of software, and an encrypted, external hard drive that you unplug from the computer when work is done. One could still do this today, but it’s increasingly difficult to do with laptops, and essentially impossible on an iPad or iPhone. And as sales numbers indicate, the day is fast approaching where you won’t be able to purchase offline, configurable hardware / software – and worst case scenario – if you tried, you’d be put on a list.

The “post PC era” may turn out to be¬†1984.

Addendum: Google and Facebook have released downplaying statements; what’s interesting is their carefully-worded¬†denial of “direct access.” So there could be a middle man (private contractor?) in there vetting data before going to the Federal Government.

What we really need is revival of “do not track” …