Author Topic: Privacy in the Information Age  (Read 8156 times)

Offline dew7

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Privacy in the Information Age
« on: April 27, 2010, 11:56:50 PM »
I just thought I would start a topic about the best way to keep your computer safe in this day and age.  Do you think Linux, Apple or Windows is best and why?  How do you balance between internal safety and external security?  Is the Windows NT Line truly more internally safe than the Windows 9x line?  How do you feel about Facebook and Google having a bunch of information about you?  Do you opt out of information sharing whenever possible and are you willing to use plug-ins to manipulate data results of these data miners?  How much privacy do you want?

(Let us keep this discussion civil but I want to bring it up because I think privacy is very important in this day and age of so much data flying about everywhere about you and the increasing problems of identity theft)
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Offline racx_00

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2010, 02:36:22 AM »
Windows 7 Ultimate x64 bit. I prefer it, hate the Windows firewall that comes with it though.

Facebook is a horrible thing privacy wise. My ex is making my life a living hell by posting arguments and complaining about me all over Facebook. I personally choose to keep my shared personal info to a minimum on Facebook and the info I do have up is only seen by friends.

My Facebook account was also hacked due to my ex and the crap she posted. I was worried about my bank account being hacked due to them having the same passwords... never again...

But I agree, privacy is very hard these days with the way the world is. Technology... too advanced maybe?
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Offline B'rrr

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2010, 03:16:49 AM »
Eeks, it is so dangerous to have the same passwords for silly sites as facebook and such and important stuffs as a bank account. I usually have 2-3 generic password I use for things I don't bother with beeing secure or not and different ones for each thing that is important.
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Offline Yonkey

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2010, 05:20:27 AM »
The nice thing about Facebook, and the Internet as a whole, is that every individual has the choice to post information or not.  If people are so concerned with privacy, they shouldn't be posting things they don't want to be seen.

Anything you post on a server is stored on a database, and has the potential of being logged elsewhere.  So, the choice is clear: either live your life in fear/restraint/isolation or don't. 8)
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Offline Delling

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2010, 06:35:01 AM »
Technology... too advanced maybe?

This... THIS is too advanced/invasive!

However, computer viruses will be far more interesting in that day and age! XD ("this computer virus gave everyone a tax credit for something they didn't even do.")
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Offline dew7

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2010, 11:14:04 PM »
I enjoy your comment, Neil.   ;D  So, I wanted to ask you since so many people seem so helpless in terms of technology in this day and age.  Do you think people should be required to get a license to run a computer like people have with driving a car?  I would like to hear pros and cons and then I will weigh in with my thoughts.

I think I was born at just the right time with my beginnings being programming in BASIC on an IBM PCjr with an EGA 16 color screen.  I loved writing simple programs to make the computer play sounds up to 3 at once <lol> and making the screen flash different colors.  It was so cool and is the reason to this day that I feel more at home with a command prompt and a black screen then a GUI interface.  

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I for one will push back against Apple who in my opinion is an arrogant but helpful company.  Apple decides no more floppy disk and everyone seems to agree.  Ha.  I still have a 3.5 inch floppy and no plans to change that.  I still use a Microsoft PS/2 mouse instead of USB which I feel is overrated in many ways.  Sure, I use USB 2.0 with an external hard drive and other stuff but I like the old technologies too.

I am concerned about Adobe.  Their attitude towards security is terrible.  They currently have security issues with Adobe Reader according to the Dept. of Homeland Security -- us-cert.gov website  -- fortunately there are alternatives like Foxit Reader for reading PDF's which is a little more focused out there.

I plan on upgrading this machine from dual boot with 98SE and XP Pro. to multi-boot with Windows 7 Pro. and Ubuntu Linux.  The more functionality the better in my eyes.  I have no real desire to learn much about Apple computer because you cannot customize them like you can with PC's and make them truly your own and not just a Dell, HP, ASUS, etc.  I love being able to use quality parts like an Atec power supply, an ATI Radeon graphics card, a dual core Intel chip, etc.

 8) 8) 8)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 11:18:57 PM by dew7 »
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Offline Tage7

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2010, 03:03:03 AM »
@dew7: I personally use Windows because it runs all of my games hassle free. I once dual-booted with Linux for a semester of class work, and I frequently use Mac OS X to develop iPhone applications. As far as the most secure OS goes, that would have to be the open-source one (Linux).

I've come into an easy malware-free life with my Windows XP system using simple methodologies on safe web surfing and file running. I use Firefox with the NoScript plugin. I have NOD32 Antivirus running at all times. I scan every new archive or executable that I download. I wasn't aware there were plugins that alter data-mining information. I'm definitely going to look into that. I haven't had a virus on my computer in over 2 years.

You'd want to move away from 9x for nothing else than to get away from the FAT32 file system. In this day and age, we have gigabytes of RAM and terabytes of disk space. FAT32 is just a bad choice for modern computers (if that's the route you're going). I am under the impression that people have hacked a more modern file system to work with 9x though.

Privacy is a huge issue. Facebook lets you tweak all your privacy settings and has lately been actively trying to walk newbies through the process. At one point in time, pleaserobme.com raised awareness to the growing issue of privacy by actively posting Twitter tweets from people describing their whereabouts. There have actually been robbery victims who accepted Facebook friendships at random (and the robbers turned out to be amongst those "friends"). This is a serious issue that will never be solved--only made more apparent to everyone.

Personally, I use Facebook, but I made different Friend groups (labels) and assigned privacy levels to each one. I never talk about where I am or where I am going to be at. Google completely anonymizes your logs after 18 months. A year and a half is still enough time to do some over-zealous self-detrimental Googling, but it comforts me to know that 20 years from now, people won't know what I searched for on May 1st, 2010.

The thing with requiring a license... I do not believe you should be required to retain one to use a computer or the Internet. For driving, you are required to have a license because you could easily kill other people if you disregarded several signs, rules, and laws. With an at-home computer, the only person you could potentially harm is yourself. Now, you're going to have to cut me a bit of slack here. I am fully aware letting viruses, trojans, and malware infect your computer to help run as a distributed system to take down multi-billion-dollar corporations or national security systems would easily cause harm to others, but that is not within the scope of this question as far as I was aware. We are wondering if people should be required a license because they too easily give away their information. I would sooner require people to own an antivirus subscription than a know-how-to-properly-use-computers-and-the-internet license.

Check this for a second. If we required them to retain licenses so that, for all intents and purposes, we trust them to be smart with their sensitive information on their computers and the Internet, then they should be required to retain verbal conversation licenses as well. Social engineering is MUCH more effective than brute-forcing somebody's password.

As far as Apple and Adobe goes. I hate how militant Apple is. I've really grown to hate them. Adobe on the other hand gave me James Cameron's Avatar with their Creative Suite. I love them for that, but they do have security issues. I don't have Adobe Reader installed and use FoxIt Reader. Although, I don't stay away from it for security reasons. I just feel Adobe Reader is CLUNKY! Also, Adobe Photoshop CS5 has content-aware fills. Whoever designed that algorithm deserves my first 2 children.

How could you not like USB? Shame on you! :suffer: I'm just teasing. I actually love USB for its convenience. We really have no use for floppies these days except for old businesses that still use them for old systems. Anything further than that is just pure hobbyism. Flash Drives serve all of the floppy disk's purposes (on modern machines--which is all normal use entails) with MUCH more megabytes (gigabytes) of space. Oh wait, they can't be used as a coaster. :'( Haha. I'm joking again. As far as hardware for Apple computers goes, several Macs these days use nVidia cards and Intel Core 2 Duo chips, but I agree that I don't believe you can customize the hardware like you can with a PC (although, I've never researched it to see if it's possible or how easy it would be).

@Delling: I remember watching that. I believe a point system for non-sensitive things will definitely arrive in the future (such as the toothbrush), but for obviously important stuff, it will NEVER happen! Wait, scratch that. It COULD happen right before the Earth's next apocalypse--which would coincidentally be the cause of said apocalypse...

Anyway, thanks for letting me geek out for a moment. I look forward to further discussions.

Offline Yonkey

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2010, 05:42:38 AM »
I enjoy your comment, Neil.   ;D  So, I wanted to ask you since so many people seem so helpless in terms of technology in this day and age.  Do you think people should be required to get a license to run a computer like people have with driving a car?  I would like to hear pros and cons and then I will weigh in with my thoughts.
Thanks Dew! 

Hmm... I think it depends on what you're using the computer for.  I mean, no consumer creates a computer from scratch.  They purchase it from a store.  And it's implied that when one purchases a computer, they do so for a specific use.

There are terms of use which a user must abide by.  You can't use your computer to break the law, for example, or you will be punished (in some form or another).  If you use your computer for personal use, or use it to make the lives of others a better place, I truly do not see any harm in that.

Basically, as long as you abide by the law, you'll be fine.
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Offline racx_00

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2010, 05:32:11 PM »
Licence to use a computer. That would be a horrible thing to do. People should ahve the right to freely use a computer unless of course they abuse that right. The government can't go around controlling every little aspect. That is crap...

This... THIS is too advanced/invasive!
Heh, that was awesome. Love the iPad insult...
« Last Edit: May 01, 2010, 06:01:44 PM by racx_00 »
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Offline Yonkey

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2010, 08:18:16 PM »
I agree that the government shouldn't be doing that.  If someone's going to monitor my computer usage, the least they could do is pay me for all the benefit they reap from my ideas.

After all, what's a few trillion dollars between friends? ;P

Or better yet, how about they take all the money they're generating off me and "magically" pay off all my debts first? :P  I'd have no qualms with that.
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Offline Delling

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2010, 09:10:50 PM »
Licence to use a computer. That would be a horrible thing to do. People should ahve the right to freely use a computer unless of course they abuse that right. The government can't go around controlling every little aspect. That is crap...

This... THIS is too advanced/invasive!
Heh, that was awesome. Love the iPad insult...
People should not be afraid of their governments: governments should be afraid of their people.

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Offline dew7

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2010, 01:49:40 AM »
Thank you for all of your points and I really enjoy reading them.  The key is the balance between the need for individual freedom vs. the right of governments to know information to help protect their people.  The ability to properly balance these issues will be key in our future.
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Offline Yonkey

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2010, 04:49:26 AM »
The ability to properly balance these issues will be key in our future.
Exactly.  It's just a shame that humanity always seems to value money & power over balance.  It'll be a constant struggle. 

IMO, they should really hire someone like me to help keep things completely unbiased. :P
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Offline atec123

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2010, 08:25:45 AM »
Well I use linux because of the open sourceness.  It's not all blocked.  You share code, and stuff gets developed.  I use Debian right now.  Gonna try arch next week.

As far as the topic of the thread... Haven't had any problems with that but I am sure I will and then I will learn something the hard way....
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Offline dew7

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2010, 06:15:31 PM »
The ability to properly balance these issues will be key in our future.
Exactly.  It's just a shame that humanity always seems to value money & power over balance.  It'll be a constant struggle.  

IMO, they should really hire someone like me to help keep things completely unbiased. :P

That would be so awesome!  I think you would be great at balancing liberties with the need for security and safety, Neil.  AWESOME, atec123 and my future goals include working with Linux.  I am currently an expert with 98 SE, intermediate level with Windows XP, Windows Vista and a beginner on Windows 7.  I like open source technologies like Mozilla Firefox and the associated plugins which really work well.  I do like IE but only for safe websites that need Active X to run automated system checks for ease of use when I am being lazy.  I love the command prompt.  I love the old error messages of illegal function call and syntax error.  I am an old school user living in a new school world.  LOL!!
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 06:27:20 PM by dew7 »
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Offline racx_00

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2010, 11:56:41 AM »
There will never be balance... welcome to humanity...
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Offline dew7

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2010, 01:28:33 PM »
Perhaps I should add to my sig. -- Trying to restore balance in a merry go round world -- LOL

 ;)  8)  :P
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Offline oberonqa

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2010, 02:31:54 PM »
Most computer techs will agree that the absolute safest way to keep your information safe and secure is to not plug your computer into the internet.  No gateway to the internet means no intruder access.  Period.

However, that's a bit extreme, especially in today's society.  That being said, I would always error on the side of caution and get a hardware-based firewall.  Most routers have a firewall built into them, but just need to be configured.  The reason why I suggest a hardware-based firewall is because software-based firewalls can be bypassed with enough skill and time (such as packet spoofing to trick the software into thinking the incoming packets are authorized by the computer).  A hardware-based firewall is much harder to bypass if configured properly.

As far as privacy goes, I agree completely with Neil.  If you don't want information to be public knowledge, don't put it out on the internet.
 
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Offline Yonkey

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2010, 08:48:46 PM »
Yup.  I've always been 100% conscious of the things I post on the Internet.  That's why I make every effort to abide by the law, and to tell the truth.  When people lie, they eventually get caught.  And when the truth comes out, it's not pretty. :P
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Offline dew7

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Re: Privacy in the Information Age
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2010, 11:37:30 PM »
Exactly truth is golden and will set us all free --- I am stubborn and learning by trial and error but one thing I do know is never to Give Up -- no matter how bad it gets we must all fight the good fight of faith and face the consequences of our decisions

 8)
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