26 August 2008

Privacy in an age of terabytes and terror

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Privacy
Scientific American magazine (SciAm) devotes the whole September issue to privacy in an age of rapidly developing technology.

Privacy in an age of terabytes and terror
Introduction to SciAm’s issue on Privacy. Our jittery state since 9/11, coupled with the Internet revolution, is shifting the boundaries between public interest and “the right to be let alone”.

How loss of privacy may mean loss of security
Keynote essay by Esther Dyson
Many issues posing as questions of privacy can turn out to be matters of security, health policy, insurance or self-presentation. It is useful to clarify those issues before focusing on privacy itself.

Internet eavesdropping: a brave new world of wiretapping
As telephone conversations have moved to the Internet, so have those who want to listen in. But the technology needed to do so would entail a dangerous expansion of the government’s surveillance powers.

Tougher laws needed to protect your genetic privacy
In spite of recent legislation, tougher laws are needed to prevent insurers and employers from discriminating on the basis of genetic tests.

Beyond fingerprinting: is biometrics the best bet for fighting identity theft?
Security systems based on anatomical and behavioral characteristics may offer the best defense against identity theft.

Digital surveillance: tools of the spy trade
Night-vision cameras, biometric sensors and other gadgets already give snoops access to private spaces. Coming soon: palm-size “bug-bots”.

How RFID tags could be used to track unsuspecting people
A privacy activist argues that the devices pose new security risks to those who carry them, often unwittingly.

Data fusion: the ups and downs of all-encompassing digital profiles
Mashing everyone’s personal data, from credit card bills to cell phone logs, into one all-encompassing digital dossier is the stuff of an Orwellian nightmare. But it is not as easy as most people assume.

Cryptography: how to keep your secrets safe
A versatile assortment of computational techniques can protect the privacy of your information and online activities to essentially any degree and nuance you desire.

Do social networks bring the end of privacy?
Young people share the most intimate details of personal life on social-networking Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, portending a realignment of the public and the private.

Does an advertiser know you clicked on this story?
Facebook, Yahoo, and Google come under fire for allowing advertisers to follow online consumer behavior to create targeted messages.

International report: what impact is technology having on privacy around the world?
ScientificAmerican.com, with help from our international colleagues, highlights privacy and security issues in China, Japan, the Middle East, Russia and the U.K.

How I stole someone’s identity
The author asked some of his acquaintances for permission to break into their online banking accounts. The goal was simple: get into their online accounts using the information about them, their families and acquaintances that is freely available online.

Pedophile-proof chat rooms?
Can Lancaster University’s Isis Project keep children safe online without invading our privacy?

Industry roundtable: experts discuss improving online security
Experts from Sun, Adobe, Microsoft and MacAfee discuss how to protect against more numerous and sophisticated attacks by hackers; security professionals call for upgraded technology, along with more attention to human and legal factors.

(via Bruno Giussani)

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