Archive for the 'privacy' Category

Privacy is a Thing of the Past…


This article related to our conversation with Danah about employers accessing information about prospective employees through Facebook. What’s next? Will it become acceptable for employers to demand access to prospective employees’ Myspace and Facebook pages during the application process – kind of like drug testing? As unethical as that may seem, we may be heading in that direction. Who knows – maybe then people will become more aware that there really is no privacy on the Web.…

(Let me know if this link doesn’t work. This is the first time I have posted on a blog ūüôā

Wikileaks litigation


nbsp;, a site that allows whistleblowers to anonymously post confidential documents, has been taken offline by court order in California. The BBC article states that a case brought by Swiss bank Julius Baer resulted in the judgment along the following lines:

… the main site was taken offline after the court ordered that Dynadot, which controls the site’s domain name, should remove all traces of wikileaks from its servers.

The court also ordered that Dynadot should “prevent the domain name from resolving to the website or any other website or server other than a blank park page, until further order of this Court.”

Other orders included that the domain name be locked “to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar” to prevent changes being made to the site.

The site is apparently still available in other countries such as Belgium and India, though I think these must be localised versions. The site claims they couldn’t defend themselves at the hearing because they were only given hours notice.

BBC news story

EDIT: See Kparker’s comment below explaining that the site has just been removed from the DNS so it is still available if you know the IP (it is hosted in Sweden).

Privacy Problems


In anticipation of privacy day on Tuesday, I thought I’d post a link to a recent article I read in which the author attempts to live entirely anonymously for a week.¬† She had to go to great lengths to obtain a pay-as-you-go cell phone, to send anonymous email, to travel anonymously around the Bay Area, and even to take a yoga class without her name being recorded.¬† In some ways, her story is quite amusing, but it also is somewhat concerning from a privacy standpoint.¬† Despite her best efforts, the author was unable to live fully anonymously even for one week.¬† I think many ordinary people are not fully aware of the truly¬†voluminous amount of information collected from them as they simply go about their day-to-day life, and many others who are aware simply do not have the time or energy to go through the laborious processes¬†employed by the author¬†in order to protect their privacy.

Pew on privacy


Pew (which did the gender study we talked about briefly in class) has a new report out, this one on attitudes towards privacy.

Facebook lets you erase yourself


In response to some public pressure, Facebook now enables users to completely delete their accounts and all the associated information. I assume (= I don’t know) that this means posts you’ve made on friends’ walls are also deleted, which might surprise the friends. Are there other ways in which the new deletion policy would disrupt the social ecosystem? And what does this tell us about the nature of Web selves. (Hint: That last question bears on the surprisingly amorphous topic we’re discussing on Monday.)

British school kids to get lifelong numbers


According to <a href=””>The Times</a>, British school kids will be assigned a unique number that will be associated with their school records and that will follow them for life. Privacy advocates are concerned.