Privacy

Protection, Privacy and Playoffs

I'm not generally a privacy nut when it comes to my digital life. That's not really a good thing, as I think privacy is important, but it often can be very inconvenient. For example, if you strolled into my home office, you'd find I don't password-protect my screensaver.

Privacy Is Personal

Try to nail two boards together with your bare hands. Can't be done. You need a hammer. But the power is not the hammer's. It's yours, because the hammer is your tool. As a tool, it becomes part of you. That's what tools do: they enlarge your capacity for action and effect. That capacity is called agency. To have agency is to operate with effect in the world.

Dolphins in the NSA Dragnet

There's an old quote from Jamie Zawinkski that goes: "Some people, when confronted with a problem, think ‘I know, I'll use regular expressions.’ Now they have two problems." Even people like me who like regular expressions laugh at the truth in that quote, because we've seen the consequences when someone doesn't think through the implications of a poorly written pattern. When some people write a bad pattern, they end up with extra lines in a log file. When the NSA does it, they capture and retain Internet traffic on untold numbers of innocent people.

A Bundle of Tor

I don't know how many readers know this, but my very first Linux Journal column ("Browse the Web without a Trace", January 2008) was about how to set up and use Tor. Anonymity and privacy on the Internet certainly take on a different meaning in the modern era of privacy-invading software and general Internet surveillance.

Anonymity On-line

We've covered Tor in LJ before (see Kyle Rankin's "Browse the Web without a Trace", January 2008), but that was some time ago, and this subject seems to be more timely with each passing day. Also, with Tor being at only 0.2.x status, it still qualifies as software in development, so I'm justified in featuring it this month.