Privacy: Is too much of our stuff out there?

The latest Bad Voltage podcast as picked up on a couple of privicy questions I find interesting.

The camera and “Black phone”

And in the news today after a recent european legal case which said that ISPs and other compnies holding data on us had too much information and should have tighter limiits on what they can and can’t keep and who they should ba able to give it to. The UK government is trying to introducing emergency legislation to go the other way requiring organisations to keep more data.

I’d like to get an feeling from the community do we feel that we are too paranoid, not paranoid enough?

Clearly if this data is kept there is more chance of catching bad people but On the other hand are we giving up too much privacy for little benefit?

One’s government keeps one informed on such matters, and I am reliably advised that this is all for your own good. If one finds out, via the data being collected, that you are being naughty, one has a variety of remedies at one’s disposal to appropriately deal with you all. And one is referring to more than not feeding the corgis for an afternoon and letting them off their leashes in your general direction.

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Oh, and one will be tasking Ofsted to find out which school told you to spell privacy in the manner in which you have done so above.


My worry is that if you do enough digging you probably will be able to find out which school failed to adequately teach me to spell.

And by the way how did you work out Ofsted was the correct place to do that?

Do you know where I live?

I’m joking (I think), I’ve posted enough on the net that it’s not hard to know I’m British and we should consider anything we publish on the net to be public.

But, should GCHQ, the NSA, and others really be able to track the stuff that’s not out out there for public consumption?

And finally can this web site get a spell checker so as to not point out my literary inadequacy?

We are really fighting our selves at this point though!
I do get both angels, but first we say “The right to be forgotten is stupid” and then we say “but we don’t want this to be found so better put it under security” which is fine for tech people, and isn’t fine for the every day user, ok there are things on the Internet about everyone that aren’t wanted, and the ISP’s have alot of data on us!

It seems like the solution is to do nothing online or accept that everything you have and do could bite back, and easily, the problem I’m trying to get at, is if you NEED to buy a specific phone to get security a level of security that means we need the right to be forgotten is needed because the general person doesn’t have the advantage of knowing about these security problems, but if every phone was like that and we where born knowing how to use and how not to use the Internet then we would be fine, but thats not how it works!

I’m sorry about dragging the right to be forgotten into this, and I do feel like the right to be forgotten is way to dangerous, just as the NSA and ISP collecting data is, but I also have a problem with us not having it, which is people who don’t know better till they are older, hacked phones or computers, we already know that @bryanlunduke takes his laptop to the toilet, we already know his XBO has seen him naked, and I’m sure that alot of people have been nude in front of a camera, even if theres no applications open using the camera, its still a danger that most people take, and unless you asses everything theres no way to be fully safe… sure I’m talking about something that is highly unlikely to happen, but we already know that the NSA listens to almost every phone call, I’d assume if they can do that, they would be able to find a way to turn that camera or mic on without being in call, and its dangerous!

"is too much of our stuff out there?"
Nowadays I believe that if you’re a kid and your mum has a phone, even if you’re just around the phone and not using it, theres to much data out there, I’ve heard Facebook takes your mic when you post a status and the NSA is always spying so yeah… even if you’re 7, probably to much data is already out there, especially if your parents love you and take photos!

There is clearly a balance to be struck here since without some level of surveillance within society there would be no criminal justice system and a lot more crime.

Benjamin Franklin said:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Which has often been paraphrased as:

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

I think there is an essential truth here and a right to privacy must be established such that it can not be eroded by the political whim of any nation or corporation.  When I choose to publish to a forum, website or blog it becomes a matter of public record just as it would do had I chosen to make a film or publish a book.  I don’t think that should be allowed to change and to do so would, in my opinion, be an unacceptable act of censorship.

If you have been around the internet for long enough there is bound to be stuff out there that you would rather forget and we all occasionally make mistakes.  If something is discovered years later then all one can do is point out the the you now is not the same as the you then apologise and hope that you have learned in the process.

But a lot of what we do either on the internet or elsewhere is not for public consumption and I believe that what web sites I choose to visit or who I am having private e-mail conversations with  is not public information and should not be freely available to anyone including government authorities without reasonable suspicion.

In the film documentary “Terns and Conditions may Apply” directed by Cullen Hoback, amongst many other things, a true story is given of a man being raided by the police because his Google search history suggested he may have been planning to murder his wife.  Turns out he is a TV script writer and was at the time, and may still be for all I know, working on TV cop program and it was for a story line.

I don’t accept the “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” argument we all have something we would rather not have too well known but in the interests of true honesty I have my confession.  I was once so desperate to get one particular girl to like me I took her to a Robbie Williams concert.  Please forgive me.

OK I started the thread and have given you my thoughts.  What do you think?

Yeah… So just yesterday I realized that something that I wanted to type into google would turn some heads if they didn’t understand or get the reference, I just finished watching TFiOS and I wanted to reference a funny bit in the book where she goes to donate a swing set, and I wanted to get the quote right, so I typed Pedophilic swing set, and then I was like… in the wrong eyes…

The problem we have is that its easy to make assumptions especially when we are doing something privately!

I agree with you, if you do something you want to keep private like PMing or search results, hosting data on certain websites, etc and you don’t set it to public, then thats your data that shouldn’t be abused, but it will be, if somethings connected to the Internet at any point, there is a possibility of it being hacked and shown to the world, I agree with your ideology but I don’t think its ever going to happen, but we are trying!

What do you think of if you talk to the wrong people in PM’s or do something stupid that was meant to be in a little circle that ends up out side of that circle?
Its something you don’t control… you know, I don’t worry as much about the things I’ve searched on google as much as I’m scared of what I’ve said privately on skype, but the possibility to screenshot and publish is a thing, I know I’d have to own up to it, but the worse thing is if they edit it, or twist it using editing skills and then they create something elaborate!

So one episode in badvoltage Bryan lunduke was trying to get people to edit the audio to make jono sound like an aweful person!
Media can be manipulated, and thats probably one of the scarier things, that you don’t have control over, who see’s it, how they see it, in context, out of context, edited, non edited, etc

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I’m more worried what the authorities will think when they notice I googled “TFiOS” (The Fault in Our Stars). Perhaps the will think I’m not a liberal Technohippy after all and will decide to delete my MI5 file.

Only kidding, I did have to google “TFiOS” but my teenage daughter loves both the book and the film so I am sure there are already lots entries relating to it in the families Google search history already.

I share your concerns about editing, technology has improved so much in recent years that its becoming way to easy to create audio and images that never actually happened.

I’m also very concerned about the amount of information corporations and governments are keeping  on us and the way since 2001 progressive governments have overestimated the terrorism threat to keep us all scared so that they can continue to erode our liberties taking us closer and closer to an Orwellian dystopian society where we mindlessly give up freedoms out of fear or the desire for some cool App.

The only way we can counter this is to raise consciousness so it becomes an issue that if its not taken seriously then corporations lose money and governments don’t get elected.  If we as a society are apathetic about this our already eroded human rights will disappear completely.

It’s bad enough when governments are spying on us, they are for the most part elected and we can get rid of them (depending on where you live, this last statement may not be true). Corporations however are only in it for the money and while many do hold high ethical standards many do not.

A more appropriate motto would be “do as one says, or you will find out what ‘At Her Majesty’s Pleasure’ means”.


(For the benefit of others reading this post in future. This was neuro’s avitar at the time of posting)


I’m surprised you haven’t had me arrested already. You must have pulled my file by now and be aware of activities with Amnesty International.

I feel I have made my point and for the sake of my liberty I will, for now at least, remain silent on this matter but hope others on this site who may not be subject to your rules are able to express their opinions on this matter.

It’s ma’am as in ham, not ma’am as in palm.

One doesn’t “pull” the files of anyone, one has GCHQ to perform that duty.

Liberty is not a factor. You may have mistaken one for another regent, one more bound by the trappings of leniency and sympathy. One had hoped that displaying one’s portrait of one astride the Iron Throne would have cast no doubt as to one’s intentions for one’s reign. One has been appointed to rule this sovereign community, and one shall do so sharply, and firmly.

However, one should point out that this is humour, and you shouldn’t necessarily take my admonishments so seriously.


I’m fully aware this humour and I’m playing along. I should point out I have more respect for you than I do for our shared monarch. I’ve never been pro royalist.

The only reason I said ‘I will remain silent’ is I have nothing to add to this conversation at the moment. This may change if someone posts something that is not in general agreement with what I have posted so far.

Your Majesty,

Just what is Your Majesty trying to set us up for, putting it in us lowly peasants minds that it is humor? Trying for flush out the malcontents?

I might suggest checking out this presentation deck from author Peter Watts at a recent “Symposium of the
International Association of Privacy Professionals”. It might shed some light on why people are reacting the way they are. @jonobacon especially, even if you still disagree, at least you might see what is driving the other side a bit better. (and @bryanlunduke, you’ll probably just really like this article :))

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From the link given by dan

Fifty thousand years ago there were these three guys spread out across the plain, and they each heard something rustling in the grass. The first one thought it was a tiger, and he ran like hell, and it was a tiger but the guy got away. The second one thought it was a tiger, and he ran like hell, but it was only the wind and his friends all laughed at him for being such a chicken-shit. But the third guy, he thought it was only the wind, so he shrugged it off and a tiger had him for dinner. And the same thing happened a million times across ten thousand generations—and after a while everyone was seeing tigers in the grass even when there weren’t any tigers

It’s easy to see why governments and others would want to keep an eye on us all but that doesn’t mean they should allowed to. The governments seam to be saying:

Somebody using the internet is a terrorist, you are someone using the internet therefore …

As with the exception of her Majesty; who now has me posting from my cell in the Tower of London :slight_smile: ; all the posts seem to saying that we do need more privacy than we have I’ll leave this as a final post.

On the other hand if someone has a differing opinion and thinks the steady erosion of our rights is acceptable. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

One wasn’t aware of the availability of Internet access from the tower. One has alerted the Beefeaters’ Digital Disengagement Strike Squad.


One does not have have access to the towers Wifi “HRHTOL” as nobody will give me the password. But, 3G coverage in this part of London is excellent.

“Beefeaters, this is Cabbage One Actual. Place the cellular signal defeaters around the Tower.”

Sorry, one had to make a quick phone call.

If you give up freedom to win peace, you will win non of them and end up having lost your freedom and peace.

I honestly didn’t read through all your posts…lol…no time.

But In my eyes, I don’t want anyone looking at my data unless I say I want it to be public. In this, I do understand if I am posting information on freely hosted servers and services, I may be giving up some privacy. But If I say it’s private it should be private and unshared.

I also support, Law enforcement/Gov getting access with a proper warrant, not just cuz they feel like it. Warrants make sense to me. They may not be perfect, but at least their is some vetting of the need.

If you want absolute lockdown of your Data, you have the choice to host on your own servers, encrypt, not use public services, so forth in so on.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.