Ensuring Your Privacy “Privacy. There seems to be no legal issue today that cuts so wide a swath through conflicts confronting American society. From AIDS tests to wiretaps, polygraph tests to computerized data bases, the common denominator has been whether the right to privacy outweighs other concerns of society… .” Robert Ellis Smith, the Privacy Journal Computers have been a very instrumental technology that has greatly advanced the ways in which we now do things such as; business, daily activities, shopping, scheduling appointments, and many other things. And with more and more people using the Internet, more and more information being passed over the Internet, more problems arise. The Internet has been an advance in technology that has greatly increased the capacities of a computer.
These new capacities have been the cause of some serious problems though. One very important trouble is the lack of privacy on the Internet. People pass much important information over the Internet and they expect it to be safe from others. Information passed over the Internet can in fact be intercepted and read by other people. For many years, this has been happening, and it has always been a problem, but with more and more information being passed through, people want something to ensure their privacy. The government does not want to allow everyday people the prive lage of computer security.
... information” as well as how effective they are. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (1986) Congress passed the Electronic Privacy ... companies. Facial recognition is a computer application for automatically identifying of verifying ... involves delivering hosted services over the internet. These services are broadly divided into ... of being part of terrorist activities. People who are in favor of the ...
Although they have tried to place laws on the uses of some methods of privacy, they have not been as successful as they had hoped. Privacy is important to people, governments and businesses, and finding a method to protect their information is also a concern. Privacy has been defined as “the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, an to what extent information about them is communicated to others” (Summers, 22).
With the advances in technology, it has become very hard to ensure your privacy. Collecting, manipulating, and sharing data has become increasingly easier to do. Peoples personal data is becoming alarmingly easier to obtain.
Our preferences, our addresses, telephone numbers, and Social Security numbers all are sold routinely. In a 1995 United States survey, 80 percent agreed that consumers have lost all control over how personal information about them is circulated and used by companies (Summers, 23).
Some of the most powerful companies and corporations are powerful because of their ability to obtain private information at anytime. Microsoft, the computer software company, is powerful because it designs the operating system that millions of people use to organize and transmit data. The Washington Post is powerful because it screens, sorts, and defines “the news” for influential readers (Bacard, 33).
The average person has little power because he absorbs data form others rather than transmitting data to others.
Computer companies have been trying to come up with ways in which a person can have some assemblage of privacy. Privacy is important to people. People do not want others to be able to get this information. Privacy is about power.
Information, in the hands of people who know how to use it, is power (Bacard, 33).
John Fiske argues in Power Plays, Power Works that people are divided in two distinct groups; the “haves” and the “have nots.” The “haves” are those with imperializing power, the dominating group. Localizing power would be the group of the “have nots.” Localizing power refers to the weaker, resistant group. Privacy relates to Fiske’s theory quite explicitly. The government, criminals, and businesses would be the “haves,” while everyday citizens would be the “have nots.” Everyday people do not have the power to ensure their privacy like the “haves” do. This is mainly because the imperializing powers try to prohibit the localizing powers from ensuring their privacy.
... privacy by collecting information from interviews and transactions, but the difficulty of collecting such information makes it hard to harm a large number of people ... , a person obtained computer account numbers and passwords by searching garbage outside buildings. A way for people to avoid this is to shred ...
The government has come up with regulations on the export of cryptography to control the “have nots.” One method computer companies have come up with to ensure people privacy is passwords. Passwords are everywhere. People have passwords for phone cards, credit cards, cash cards, and on the Internet. The idea behind a password is to make it so someone trying to access your data of hardware is thwarted by inconvenience (Tiley, 77).
The harder you make your password, the harder it is for someone else to figure it out, and the safer your information is. Deciding on a good and safe password is the meaningful to privacy.
There are many factors in choosing an effective password. Using numbers and punctuation marks intermingled in your password is a good idea. Choosing a password that is longer in the number of characters is also efficient. Also, having your password be case sensitive is important. All of these factors will greatly increase your rates of security. For example, a password that can contain letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and is case sensitive allows the user to choose from about 56 different characters.
A six character password in this context would have 30, 840, 979, 456 different combinations (Tiley).
Increasing your password to seven characters would have over a trillion possibilities (Tiley, 83).
However, a longer password is optimal, you must choose one that you can easily remember. It will take a hacker no time to find your sticky note with your password on it in your desk drawer. A password is easy to remember and hard to guess (Summers, 341).
Seeing as how passwords can have billions and billions of possibilities, one would assume that passwords are extremely safe in guarding personal information.
... ), the Fourth Amendment doesn’t protect the privacy of those numbers against pen/trap surveillance by the government. The ... would control the encryption algorithm, thereby giving it the ability to decrypt any messages ... use of this chip in all devices that might use encryption, including computers, modems, telephones, and televisions. The government ...
This not entirely true. Hackers have computer programs that will try all the words in a standard dictionary, or every number combination. If you had a simple word or number, your password would have been found out. Choosing a short word or number is not efficient. An important date can easily be obtained by a hacker or anyone who simply wants your information.
Experience has shown that more than half the passwords chosen can be easily guessed or cracked (Tiley, 79).
This fact demonstrates the importance of choosing a safe and efficient password. Another method of ensuring privacy that is becoming more common and efficient is cryptography. Cryptography allows users to pass valuable information such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, addresses, and anything else important over the Internet without being intercepted by eavesdroppers. Cryptography is the art of transforming information to keep it confidential or to protect its integrity (Summers, 45).
The process of encoding and decoding information is called encryption.
Historically, encryption was used only in the military and for diplomatic reasons. Reasons that deal with Fiske’s theory of power. The government wanted to ensure that they ultimately had sole power of the encryption outflow. They have kept tight reins on the “keys” used to translate coded text into plaintext, prohibiting the export of secret codes under United States munitions laws and ensuring that the encryption scheme used by businesses was weak enough that the National Security Agency’s supercomputers could cut through it like butter (Elmer-Dewitt, 1).
However, this has now changed. Cryptography is now used to authenticate retail transactions, secure electronic funds transfers, the military, email, to protect the integrity of software and stored data, and to authenticate the identity of network users (Summers, 45-46).
Although, the export of encryption outflow is still regulated by the government. By using encryption you can disguise the message so that if it is intercepted, the contents will not be revealed. The cycle of encryption is easy to understand. The original message is written in plaintext, the message is then encoded by a cryptosystem. This text is called ciphertext. The ciphertext message is sent to the receiver, where it is decoded back to plaintext (Pfleeger, 22).
... relevant, but obviously, the Cyberspace cannot challenge the power of Government for the following reasons: 1. In powerful developed ... will only prove the power of international governments. Stating that the Internet challenges the power of the Government is rather weak due ... the Internet users impact (or not impact) the power of government and other political structures. Thus, Lessig’s statement ...
This simple method of cryptography is very efficient in securing peoples privacy. Hacking an encrypted message is virtually impossible to achieve. Encryption software due to its highly mathematical nature, resists giving up its secrets, even to exports, because the output of the program is entirely dependent on a key value given to the program when it runs (Tiley, 217).
For this very reason, encryption is becoming known as a virtually foolproof method in ensuring privacy. However, obtaining the privilege of encryption is difficult. Businesses who are allowed the use of cryptography have to pay a lot of money to use it.
This is the governments way of ensuring their right to control the amount of privacy people can have. The government explains this use of power as their way of protecting citizens from terrorist and spies. The government says that in order to protect citizens from these kinds of dangers that they must control the use of cryptography. However, a guy by the name of Phil Zimmerman did not find this reason acceptable. Phil Zimmerman came up with the idea of PGP or Pretty Good Privacy. PGP is another method of computer privacy.
Zimmerman’s passion for politics, computers, and privacy led him to the production of Pretty Good Privacy. He essentially believed that the power of privacy should be shared with the “have nots.” Zimmerman thought that people needed to be protected from democracy. “PGP empowers people to take their privacy into their own hands,” Phil Zimmerman (Bacard, 128).
After Zimmerman was finished with PGP, he gave it to a friend to try it out. His friend liked it so much that he gave PGP to his friends, and they liked it, so they passed it on.
Before Zimmerman knew it, people all over the world were using PGP within months. Bulletin Board Systems and Internet sites around the world made PGP available to their users (Bacard, 128).
However, when PGP was released, it ran into some political and governmental troubles. Two legal issues whirled around the original freeware PGP. First, was the issue of patents. PGP uses the technology of RSA, a public key algorithm (Bacard, 81).
... was with the priests and the people, rich of poor, had no ... , but what they are remembered for is great. The people and government of the Fertile Crescent made their share of mistakes. One ... the people would give him what he wanted. This was not good because in this form of government, all the control and power ...
RSA stand for Rivest, Shamir and Adelman, the creators of the algorithm (Bacard, 81).
The second problem with the distribution of PGP was that it spread outside of the United States and possibly violated United States cryptography export restrictions. The issue of patents with RSA was dropped because the company that now distributes PGP bought the rights to RSA. The investigations on the export of PGP were dropped in 1996. In spite of all this, PGP was a big success with businesses and Internet users. PGP is a software program that uses encryption to secure the information.
Bob Smart who has written a front-end program for PGP says that, “PGP does not so much increase privacy as it does restore a balance that has recently been perpetuated away from privacy,” Bob Smart (Bacard, 138).
It is an easy-to-use secure computer program that encrypts and decrypts messages (Bacard, 128).
PGP is law-abiding despite its brush with the law in the beginning. The government did not want to allow PGP to be distributed to everyday people because they did not want people to have the privacy they deserve. The imperializing powers thought that they could control the encrypted outflow of information that localizing powers had. Phil Zimmerman distributed PGP for free because he did not want to become part of the imperializing powers.
In the end, PGP was allowed to be used in the United States and was recognized as a foolproof method of ensuring privacy. Top-rate cryptographers and computer exports have tried to break the PGP cryptosystem – without luck (Bacard, 137).
PGP has been compared with having it take 600 locksmiths several months to unlock the front door to your house, but you could change the lock in five minutes. So, in the amount of time and the number of people it would take to decode your PGP decoded message is a long, long time.
Computer privacy is important to people, and especially the government. With the society in which we live, privacy is hard to come by, but something everyone desires. The government has tried to control the amounts of privacy that people can have, and to their dismay it has not worked. Everyday people have the right to protect their information as does the government theirs. Just as the government has found a method to protect their information so have everyday citizens.
... the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government.Despite these legislative powers to be part of the law making body of ... land, his powers include: Administrative Powers: Appoints the heads of each Executive Branch department as Chief of the Government.He also appoints ... Defining the Five Presidential Powers in the American Government It has been established that the President of the ...
Passwords, PGP and cryptography are all methods that both powers can and do use. The technology and practice of computer security has responded to the rapid changes in context. The people have also responded to these changes and have demanded privacy. The imperializing powers will always try to control the amount of privacy people can have as long as privacy is about power, and the localizing powers will always be under control of the imperializing powers, unless we keep fighting against the government. Phil Zimmerman managed to distribute PGP to help the localizing powers fight against the imperializing powers.
The imperializing powers will always have control over the less fortuante, localizing powers as long as we let them.