Archive for the 'Privacy' Category

Credit bureaus and credit card companies have direct control over the risk of identity theft. They control the systems for granting and rescinding credit, including fundamental mediums for communication and related security features. Oddly, that doesn’t stop them from trying to profit when things go wrong. Credit companies strongly push their identity theft “protection” services, […]

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“Mind Your Business”

The motto on the very first official United States coin was “Mind Your Business.”  Designed by Benjamin Franklin in 1787, the front of the coin also bore a picture of the sundial with with word Fugio (Latin, “I fly”). Franklin was fond of aphorisms, and the design has been taken to mean, “Time Flies, Mind […]

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Matt Knox, a talented Ruby instructor and coder, talks about his early days designing and writing adware for Direct Revenue. (Direct Revenue was sued by Eliot Spitzer in 2006 for allegedly surreptitiously installing adware on millions of computers.) S: You wrote adware. You bastard. M: [sheepishly] Yes, I did.  I got to write half of […]

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Last week, the NSA was granted a patent which supposedly allows them to “Spot Network Snoops.”1 At first glance, the patent seems rather obscure and boring. However, it could have major implications for anonymity and privacy on the Internet. Back in 2005, the same NSA inventor, Michael Reifer, and a colleague were granted a patent […]

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Watching Big Brother

Early one recent Sunday, I took the train from Boston to New York City to visit the Transit Museum. When I arrived in New York, it was still too early for the museum to be open. I decided to step outside at Penn Station and grab a sandwich. I was surprised to see these signs: […]

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Anonymous Travel is Dead

Anonymous travel is dead. Even for subway riders who still use tokens and people who bicycle around town, the proliferation of cameras, facial recognition technology, biometrics and RFID tagging will render anonymity obsolete within a generation. I believe the public’s next battleground is to gain control over what happens to our data, and how it’s […]

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