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Google CEO Schmidt Predicts End of Online Anonymity 591

Posted by timothy
from the scott-mcneally-1999 dept.
Andorin writes "A tweet from the EFF pointed me to a short article detailing part of Eric Schmidt's speech to the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe on August 4. According to Schmidt, true transparency and anonymity on the Internet will become a thing of the past because of the need to combat criminal and 'anti-social' behavior. 'Governments will demand it,' he says, referring to full accountability and a 'name service for people,' possibly hinting towards mandatory Internet passports. The CEO of Google also made a couple of somewhat creepy references to the availability of information: 'If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use artificial intelligence, we can predict where you are going to go ... show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don't have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You've got Facebook photos!'"
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Google CEO Schmidt Predicts End of Online Anonymity

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  • No, I don't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DavidRawling (864446) <(hulk_) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:10AM (#33159780)
    Yeah no photos of me ... no Facebook account!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EricWright (16803)

      Beat me to it ... same here.

      • Re:No, I don't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by asn (4418) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:13AM (#33159812) Homepage

        That doesn't stop your friends (or enemies) from posting photos and tagging them with your name...

        • Re:No, I don't (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ukyoCE (106879) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:59AM (#33160280) Journal

          Who DOESNT set their facebook as friends-only? This applies to photos friends tag of you too, at least if someone is going through your profile to try to find them. I'm not sure if the tag can be indexed and searched from elsewhere if the friends has his photos open to the public?

          Either way, I'm sick of people claiming "lol you has a facebook!", as if a private friends-only website implies you're OK with a public open-to-everyone display of your personal information, posts, etc. If anything it implies the exact opposite - the friends-only nature of facebook is exactly why it's so popular. Just look at the backlash every time Facebook has tried to force people's private information public.

          • Re:No, I don't (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday August 06, 2010 @09:41AM (#33160852) Journal
            So that means that your data is only available to your friends, anyone who compromises your friends' accounts, the authors of any Facebook apps that any of your friends decide to run, and anyone that Facebook sells your data to. That certainly narrows it down...
        • by fast turtle (1118037) on Friday August 06, 2010 @10:27AM (#33161668) Journal

          I deliberately used the Goates image for my profile. Anyone searching for it deserves to be horribly scarred for the rest of their life as I don't use facebook

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tomhudson (43916)

          So all you have to do to counteract that is create a facebook account and post someone else's pictures to it as your own - use Eric Schmidt's.

          "Governments will demand it."

          Fortunately I don't live in a country slave to a two-party system. The government demands too much, we kick them out - because WE are the government, and they need to be reminded of that once in a while.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm just going out on a limb here, Eric, but I don't think that Google requires a lot of photos to find out where you and Dave live. Dave works at UXC, if I'm not mistaken. Are you still at Bluevest?

        I know exactly who you guys are and it took me less than five minutes of meatspace time. Imagine a beowulf cluster of me armed with warrants, Google's hardware, and a sense of righteous indignation.

    • Re:No, I don't (Score:4, Informative)

      by Crunchie Frog (791929) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:12AM (#33159798)
      i don't have Facebook either but have found photos of me among my Facebooking friends....
      • by DavidRawling (864446) <(hulk_) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:15AM (#33159840)

        I've been avoiding photos for as long as I can remember. It's unlikely that there were more than a dozen taken (analog and digital combined) over the past 20 years...

        I therefore doubt there are [that m]any available on the Net.

        • Re:No, I don't (Score:5, Informative)

          by jgagnon (1663075) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:19AM (#33159868)

          Do you live in a big city with street cameras? Ever had a driver's license or other photo ID? Ever been to an airport or government building? There are photos of you all over the place.

          • Re:No, I don't (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:20AM (#33159880) Journal

            Ever had a driver's license or other photo ID?

            Maybe he lives in New Hampshire and exercised his right to have them delete the photo out of DMVs database after printing his license?

            Gods, why can't all the states be that progressive.....

            • Re:No, I don't (Score:4, Insightful)

              by aicrules (819392) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:29AM (#33159978)
              Because progressive these days is moving away from personal rights, not towards more.
              • Re:No, I don't (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Hatta (162192) on Friday August 06, 2010 @09:28AM (#33160678) Journal

                What progressive cause reduces personal rights? Mandatory health care? Not being beholden to your employer, or an insurance company that can drop you on a whim greatly increases personal freedom. Financial reform? A stable economy increases personal freedom. Alternative energy? I'd certainly like to have the personal freedom to choose sustainable energy sources and not support oppressive regimes.

                Seriously, what progressive cause are you thinking of? Or did Glenn Beck just tell you progressives were bad?

                • Re:No, I don't (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by Wonko the Sane (25252) on Friday August 06, 2010 @09:44AM (#33160890) Journal

                  All positive rights infringe on individual liberty.

                  Real rights are universal, meaning there is on logical contradiction if all people exercise the right.

                  Speech is like that. My having the right to say what I want does not prevent someone else from saying what they want.

                  A "right" to be guaranteed food, for example, is not. Under this model if don't have food then my right is being violated and the only way to correct this is to have food taken away from someone else. This is not a universal right because clearly not everybody in the world can have the right to have someone else's food.

                  Positive rights define two classes of people: people who are entitled to receive something from someone else, and another class of people who are required to produce a surplus in order to satisfy the first group. There's a name for this kind of arrangement but I'll let you figure that out on your own.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Maxo-Texas (864189)

                    Extending your logic, it's clear that if my continued existence will cause you to die (as happens in shortage situations) then either you or I have no right to life.

                    So the only rights we have are to try.
                    We can try to escape, try to live, try to obtain property.

                    The fact is most things we consider rights are granted by us to ourselves as a group.

                    And all the philosophy in the world won't stop a person with a rock or stick in their hand from taking everything you have including your life.

                    The elite of our societ

                    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                      by Roxton (73137)

                      Universal rights were an invention that moves us away from the law of the jungle. Non-universal rights are a step backwards.

                      Ugh, I hate ideologues. When will you guys realize that a mindless logical consistency is utterly unjustifiable in the face of a thoughtful pragmatism? Libertarianism is a good, humanistic sentiment tarred by a callous application of rigor.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by Hatta (162192)

                    Real rights are universal, meaning there is on logical contradiction if all people exercise the right.

                    Like, oh, the right to universal health care? The right of workers to organize? The right to not be defrauded by our financial institutions? None of these bear any contradictions if everyone exercises these rights. In fact, if everyone demanded these rights they would be much stronger.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by nschubach (922175)

                  What progressive cause reduces personal rights? Mandatory health care?

                  Yes actually... I have a right to get healthcare, if I want it. Mandatory takes away that right of choice. I can choose to not have healthcare and die in a ditch if I want. Mandatory is the opposite of personal freedom.

                  Not being beholden to your employer... greatly increases personal freedom.

                  I don't know about you, but I can leave my employer at any time and go to another one. Nobody is forcing me to take their money for my work.

                  Financial reform? A stable economy increases personal freedom.

                  It depends on what you mean by stable economy. Personally, I have a nest egg set back for hard times and I feel a great amount of personal freedom,

                  • Yes actually... I have a right to get healthcare, if I want it. Mandatory takes away that right of choice. I can choose to not have healthcare and die in a ditch if I want. Mandatory is the opposite of personal freedom.

                    Dude, this is mind-bogglingly dumb. Sure, you have the right to go die in a ditch. You also have the right to stop eating and starve, or the right to hold your breath until you pass out. Practically speaking, though, no one chooses to die in a ditch, starve, or pass out (with certain minor ex

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by Hatta (162192)

                    Yes actually... I have a right to get healthcare, if I want it. Mandatory takes away that right of choice. I can choose to not have healthcare and die in a ditch if I want. Mandatory is the opposite of personal freedom.

                    You can still go die in a ditch. In fact, I encourage you to. There are a vanishingly small amount of people who choose to exercise their freedom to die in a ditch. There are millions of Americans who have gained the freedom to buy healthcare. This is a net win for freedom.

                    I don't know ab

                • Re:No, I don't (Score:4, Informative)

                  by operagost (62405) on Friday August 06, 2010 @11:29AM (#33162674) Homepage Journal

                  What progressive cause reduces personal rights? Mandatory health care? Not being beholden to your employer, or an insurance company that can drop you on a whim greatly increases personal freedom.

                  You're free to pay a fine to the government if you don't want any health care. You knew that, right?

                  Financial reform? A stable economy increases personal freedom.

                  High taxation and a crippling debt reduces freedom. Bailing out certain companies and not others is government control of the economy. Cronyism is not freedom.

                  Alternative energy? I'd certainly like to have the personal freedom to choose sustainable energy sources and not support oppressive regimes.

                  In my state, we can choose which company we buy our electricity from. That came from a net REDUCTION in government regulation (the incumbent power company had to allow access to its lines in exchange for removing a cap). I can also choose which company I buy buy fuel oil from. If I don't want to use oil, I can switch to gas or an electrical system that's powered by a utility or by solar or wind technologies. So what progressive gave me these rights, again? It's only government that REMOVES my right to do these things: by state-mandated monopolies, subsidies that artificially lower or raise prices, and local zoning and state regulations that discourage the use of alternative energy or certain kinds of alternative energy.

                  Maybe it's time you started realizing that having every facet of our lives regulated by the government is not the normal way of things, and that we're not supposed to be happy about our "liberal" society because the government decided to throw us a few scraps. Try reading about the enlightenment and social contracts.

              • Re:No, I don't (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday August 06, 2010 @10:04AM (#33161276)

                Because progressive these days is moving away from personal rights, not towards more.

                Progressives have always favored increasing government power, which inherently means reducing individual rights. The base idea of progressives is running society "scientifically". Progressives believe that allowing people to make their own decisions on a variety of things (exactly which things varies from progressive to progressive) is inefficient and that society would function much better if those decisions were made by some central authority who can identify the best way to do something and then mandate that everyone do it that way.

                The root of progressive is progress. In the late 19th century the idea was that science was finding new and better ways to do things, but many people were resisting these new and better ways out of stubbornness and ignorance. Of course, it turns out that many of those 19th "new and better" ways of doing things were actually worse (and often not really new either), but today's progressives have learned from the mistakes of thier predecessors and so they have different "new and better" ways of doing things.
                As you might guess, I do not believe the modern progressives have learned the most ipmortant lesson from thier predecessors. That being that a central planner cannot know enough to make better decisions than the people who are actually going to have to live with the results of the decision (at least not often enough to offset the misery that will result when they are wrong).

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                Because progressive these days is moving away from personal rights, not towards more.

                Not necessarily! Exhibit A: Same-sex marriage.

                Beyond that, any honest view of freedom can't help but be: it's complicated.

                For example, traffic laws restrict my freedoms to drive straight through any intersection at any time if I want to, my freedom to drive on whichever side of the road I want to, and more. On the other hand, they also create a much greater freedom to move about the country quickly than I would otherwis

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Gods, why can't all the states be that progressive.....

              Because some of us aren't paranoid and couldn't give half a shit about a mug shot being present in a state database, when their use for it is obvious and clear. Get over yourself.

    • Re:No, I don't (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shugart (598491) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:13AM (#33159810)
      I don't have a Facebook account either. Unfortunately, someone I know put up pictures of me on his Facebook account. I've stayed away from Facebook because of privacy concerns. You just can't win.
    • by Raxxon (6291)

      Just because you don't have Facebook doesn't mean you don't have pics out there.

      I've posted 1 image of myself that's actually me, there are 5 friends who have pictures that I'm in posted. Grand total of 6. Guess the Google-Boys don't know all. :p

      • You have just given them the info that there are exactly 6 pictures of you on facebook, that should help them narrow it down ;)

    • by euyis (1521257)
      Thanks to the Great Firewall of China I have no Facebook account... and no idea what the Facebook thing is!
      So, the good side of censorship?
    • Re:No, I don't (Score:5, Informative)

      by NTmatter (589153) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:14AM (#33159832) Homepage

      Just because you don't have a Facebook profile doesn't mean that people can't upload compromising pictures of you to Facebook. Furthermore, you can still be tagged by name in photos even if there's no profile to link to.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044)

        There are pictures but not compromising ones unless by compromising you mean tied to my name.
        You see I am old and boring now. I don't drink at all. I am married and faithful to my wife. In other words I am now as dull as dirt.
        In my college days cameras used this stuff called film. People didn't carry them with them at all times and never to bars or parties.
        So their are no pictures of my none boring miss spent youth.
        That is why we call them the good old days.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No kidding. I came to the internet from BBSes. Handles originated because it was hard to fit everyone's full name into 8 characters.

      And you know what? I'm still using handles today. Handles and limited photo exposure for THIS EXACT REASON. I value my privacy and I value my anonymity. And y'know what? Every idiot I know who is doing/has done criminal behavior eventually trip themselves up, so claiming that you need to strip away everyone's anonymity to catch the criminals is not just ludicrious, it's CRIMINA

    • Yeah no photos of me ... no Facebook account!

      Same here, /. is as social as I get. I guess that could be considered by some as sad. Those attention whore social sites annoy the hell out of me. Hmmm, I guess I'm anit-social and therefore could be considered a threat. You just can't be left alone.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        First of all, the police can tie your Slashdot account to your name in less than 24 hours if they really need. Slashdot will provide your IP and your ISP will provide your name and address. It works a bit differently in different countries, but they pretty much will get it if you are the suspect in a criminal investigation of any importance.

        Secondly, that statement by Schmidt in TFA was just his wallet talking. When you use free (as in free beer) services on the Internet, you are the product, advertisers ar

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by minogully (1855264)
      Thank God I stopped at 13 pictures!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yes, but you really should have stopped before that picture with the goat.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Me either. TFS says the need to combat criminal and 'anti-social' behavior

      Copyright infringement, computer intrusion, child porn... is there anything else that's against the law you can do on the internet? And why just on the internet? Why not make everyone simply wear a badge with a number on it like The Prisoner? [wikipedia.org] After all, I could commit a crime offline, too. Hell, I smoked a joint last night, better put a camera in my bedroom. That's where it looks like we're going, only instead of as small island, ever

  • And the internet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:12AM (#33159806)

    ... will just fight back. The idea they can end internet anonymity is bullshit, programmers and smart people can always way's to game the system.

  • by jgagnon (1663075) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:13AM (#33159816)

    I suspect that entire subnets of the Internet will be encrypted and continue to allow anonymity. Not to mention, there is always your public library or Internet cafe. It's not like spies will stop using the Internet, so "solutions" to this problem will inevitably surface.

    • A required ID to get onto the internet would kill that plan rather quick.
      • by jgagnon (1663075)

        Not every country will require it. Not to mention you could encrypt everything you do while you are connected, effectively making everything you do hidden. This might even open up a whole new black market for "connection laundering". :p

      • by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:24AM (#33159908) Journal

        I rather doubt that would pass Constitutional muster in the United States, given that SCOTUS has an extensive history of upholding the right to anonymous political discourse. I also doubt it would fly in the Scandinavian countries. Not so sure about the rest of the world (the British seem to be competing with themselves to see who can surrender their civil liberties the fastest....) but that's not really my concern as an American.....

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          A required ID to get onto the internet would kill that plan rather quick.

          I rather doubt that would pass Constitutional muster in the United States, given that SCOTUS has an extensive history of upholding the right to anonymous political discourse. I also doubt it would fly in the Scandinavian countries. Not so sure about the rest of the world (the British seem to be competing with themselves to see who can surrender their civil liberties the fastest....) but that's not really my concern as an American.....

          The U.S. could always just create some new law, like the USA PATRIOT Act [wikipedia.org],

  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:14AM (#33159820)
    ...masturbates to the thought of attaching your name to your every click. Film at eleven.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:14AM (#33159822) Homepage

    What Schmidt actually meant was "True transparency and anonymity on the Internet will become a thing of the past because we here at Google can make a bundle by eliminating it. Advertisers, governments, you want it, we got it!"

  • All for marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Galahad (24997) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:15AM (#33159836) Homepage
    He wants to know who you are for marketing and advertising purposes to increase corporate profits. The rest is the usual FUD. That is all.
  • Worrying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveAtWorkAnnoyingly (655625) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:16AM (#33159846)
    What worries me isn't his opinion, or what he thinks is coming. What worries me is his lack of resistance to it and his acceptance of "oh well, that's how it's going, that's what we'll do".

    This seeming blazay attitude, coupled with his comments a while back where he said something like "People only need privacy when they're doing something they shouldn't be" really worries me, since he commands a lot of power and sway online. Eric, imagine if someone posted a video of you taking a dump and posted it on youtube, your views on privacy and "I have nothing to hide" might change...

    He's probably right in that every government will want online identity, of course they would. But it's up to us to battle for "what is right" and we always hoped Google would help us. If he just rolls over and accepts it, that's terrible for us.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What worries me is the general lack of resistance to it and the acceptance of "oh well, that's how it's going, that's what we'll do".

      There, FTFY.

    • Re:Worrying (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:26AM (#33159920)

      blazay

      It's blasé. For goodness' sake, read a book!

    • by schwit1 (797399)

      What worries me is that he will use his lobbyists to get laws passed that will ensure the force of law requires the elimination of online anonymity.

      If you want to access your healthcare records or use the DMV, you have to log in to your Google managed government user-account that looks like and acts like Facebook.

    • Re:Worrying (Score:5, Insightful)

      by just_another_sean (919159) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:46AM (#33160168) Homepage Journal

      What worries me is his lack of resistance to it and his acceptance of "oh well, that's how it's going, that's what we'll do".

      As others have pointed out he's not just accepting it, he is actively promoting it. All Schmidt cares about is profits for Google and if he
      can get the Govts of the world to help him he would love nothing more then to build the Grand Unified DB that will track and report everything
      we do. Governments win, advertisers win and Google makes ridiculous money from it all.

      Don't be evil died when this guy took reigns at Google. Where the F are Sergey and Larry now? What do the think about the death of anonymity?

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:19AM (#33159866) Journal
    I have been very very careful about my identity on the internet. My user name is a random collection of letters and gives no hint of the hostels and room numbers I had in my college years.
  • Erm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ledow (319597) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:19AM (#33159872) Homepage

    "show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are"

    I highly doubt that. I assume we're talking about a globally unique identification of a single individual. I call crap, given that we can't even do that with anything at all - fingerprints, DNA, or anything else. No biometric is that good. And, besides, if you have 14 photos of me, you know who I am anyway - I'm the guy who's in the photo. It doesn't exactly prove much at all, or help you out unless the photo shows me doing something illegal and I need to be traced. I *guarantee* you that other humans will catch me from my photo in a newspaper before any computer-based system does, and probably with much smaller margins of error.

    And 14 photos is a HELL of a lot. And it depends on their quality, and your clothing, and the lighting, and the angles, and the focus, and anything obscuring the picture, and the resolution. Otherwise you're magical "14 photos" system could be used on 14 frames of any CCTV footage and instantly pinpoint the criminal. See what a ridiculous assertion that is?

    • by houghi (78078)

      Perhaps it is just a variation of "tell me your name and I tell you who you are".

    • by jgagnon (1663075)

      Fourteen photos is nothing considering how many cameras there are flying around all over public areas. They have cameras at airports that can take a photo with HUNDREDS of people on them and identify their faces from a database within seconds. The 14 photos of you don't have to come from your limited view of the Internet (consider every place you've been that has had a camera: banks, airports, schools, etc.). There is a lot more information out there collected about you than you can being to imagine.

      Once

  • A bit of overkill (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OpenSourced (323149) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:20AM (#33159874) Journal

    If there is a problem with online banking, why not put all the banks in a different net, accessible only to identified persons? Putting all the websites in an ID-net, for the problem of just one small segment of the whole net, seems a bit of an overkill.

  • Sadly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:20AM (#33159878) Homepage

    He is right. I do not like it, but he is right.

  • You think you don't have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You've got Facebook photos!'

    The learned Mr. Schmidt should know that there are folks like me for who, Facebook and themselves do not mix [for now] and probably will not for the foreseeable future.

  • by JumperCable (673155) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:28AM (#33159948)

    Everyone loves gmail & google apps. But it came out early on that google had no respect for people's privacy. I've avoided every on-line product of theirs besides google search & earth.

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:29AM (#33159974)
    There's been a war regarding privacy for a long time. Now days in the legal system it's all 'think of the children and this will help stop terrorists' on the internet it's all 'Look at these awesome features you can get if you just give us all your personal info and colonic map.' Everyone wants to make the idea of privacy seem like you're trying to hide something but that's nothing further than the truth. You let the government in you let them compile huge dossiers on you (more so than they do now) and all you do is hand them everything they need. Because there is no telling what it looks like you do to an outside person or what they can make it look like you do in a Court room. It's the same reason why my lawyer always tells me to never speak to the cops, you never know what some casual thing you say will be used to hang you, or in this thing casual thing you do. Bottom line is you can have my privacy when you come and take it from me, and I won't let it go with out a fight.
  • Creepy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gig (78408) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:29AM (#33159976)

    And Google wonders why nobody wants to join their social network? Schmidt makes Zuckerberg look good.

  • because it's not going to work if you allow bytes to be transferred, computers to be bought and all kinds of electronics to be available for pennies.

    if it was something you could just decide and make it happen by being the "government" then we would already be there with non-anonymous internet.

    and what good is having the supposed identity of some guy who -doesn't even have a real identity from his goverment- logged into the computer on the other side of the globe in some cafe. so schmidt, fuck you, y
  • by LatencyKills (1213908) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:35AM (#33160030)
    I'm going to send Eric Schmidt 14 pictures of my ass.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:36AM (#33160054) Homepage

    No I don't.

    • by Urkki (668283)

      What are you hiding, then? Don't try to deny it, you have things to hide! Things you don't want to be public... Bad things...

      You must be a terrorist or a pedophile or something!

      May Google save us from your kind!

    • Have they ever taken your picture? If so, you probably do have Facebook photos.
  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday August 06, 2010 @09:35AM (#33160780) Homepage Journal

    Performing a Google image search for my name (which is pretty unique, I'm really the only person on the internet with my first/last name combo), and I get a lot of anime character images. And on facebook, well, they'll think I look like my cat. So, unless you "play by the rules", it's unlikely they are going to be able to *really* identify you.

    As for the whole privacy issue: I would suggest that someone start a website ala Wikileaks, where they publish everything known about every corporation, and make that publically accessible. If I want to know the BP CEO's home address, how much he makes, his social security number, yadda yadda, then perhaps there will be more concern over privacy.

    The only way to win is to turn it around. If citizens can't have privacy, then neither should corporations or governments. We should be working hard to open up these areas. Right now corporations have a powerful position because they are essentially running the government, and they know more about us then we do about them. But it's time we turned the tables on them and re-took control.

    When people fear their government, there is opression, but when government fears the people, there is freedom.

  • by knarf (34928) on Friday August 06, 2010 @10:25AM (#33161630) Homepage

    Cookies can be exchanged with others or - better still - edited at random. Those cryptic hashes are unreadable anyway so why not replace them with some other random string every time a site or time limit is crossed?

    More problematic are sites which use other sites for eg. authentication. When they say you can use your Google username to login just don't. Run your own OpenID server [keyboard-monkeys.org] and be creative with the accounts you create on it.

    Flash and its ilk can be used to track you as well. This is made harder by making its configuration directory read-only - so it can not store its own 'cookies' (which are more like wedding pies given their size).

    I've seen reports on the Chromium and Google Chrome browsers - and maybe others? - which claim they can send a UUID. If this is true - I have not verified the claim which might be nothing more than fear mongering - that code is ripe for some creative editing, if one UUID per browser is good then one per request is even better.

    More ideas?

  • by LihTox (754597) on Friday August 06, 2010 @11:55AM (#33163026)

    We might not be able to keep our information off of the internet, but how about poisoning the well? Put up pictures of yourself on flickr, facebook, etc labelled as being somebody else. Buy unusual things, subscribe to contradictory news feeds. Open a fake facebook account and post status reports of you doing things you'd never do. Everyone knows that you can't trust what you read on the Internet; governments and corporations should be taught the same lesson?

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