Friday, August 09, 2013

Privacy News

Walter Pincus has a sober and sobering column in the Washington Post today.  The gist of it is,

"Many people love the convenience of the Internet and cellphones and ever-multiplying social-media applications. What many don’t always focus on, however, is how easily outsiders can invade their lives.
"The June disclosure that the National Security Agency is collecting everyone’s telephone records and storing them for five years as part of anti-terrorism efforts has caused an uproar.
"Get used to it. The gathering of such data, whether by private commercial enterprises, hackers or governments — ours or foreign ones — is part of 21st- century life."

The comments posted by readers provide an interesting discussion of the issue.

In related news, it is reported today that a "secure email service" has shut down rather than cooperate with US government surveillance orders.  See this article from ZDNet.  NB, all the service really did was encrypt subscribers' messages stored on their servers.  Unless people encrypted their messages prior to transmission, messages would travel the Internet as plain text, readable by prying eyes.

Ironically, the US Government has recently developed bioethical rules for the handling cell lines in medical research which protects the privacy of persons related to the donors of cells for generations, eg the great-grandchildren of donors will now have a say in how the cells are used and by whom.  See this.

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