Privacy... Who Cares?

I don't need privacy, I'm not doing anything wrong!

Of course you're not, but wrong as decided by who? The problem is, on the internet "who" isn't always what or where you think. Email or instant messages can be routed far beyond the borders of your own benign government, through some pretty unsavory places where the rule of law is nothing like you imagine.

Privacy is not criminal

Please, don't confuse privacy with criminality. You're not doing anything wrong when you undress at night or use the toilet, yet you still close the door. Doesn't your information also deserve at least that much respect?

Innocence Lost

Do you know that most smartphones and digital cameras embed GPS data in the pictures they take…?

A few years ago a young mother began a blog soon after her first child was born. She wrote joyfully as her kid grew, and about her other children as they came along. She illustrated her posts with numerous pictures taken with her iPhone. Her pride was understandably evident. The problem was, a lot else was also evident, including the exact GPS location of her home, the parks her children played in, where she vacationed and much else that we will have the good taste not to mention here, even though she unwittingly thrust it all out there herself.

Most people are nice, but given how vast the internet is, inevitably you are going to encounter some bad people. And that's just what happened to her. Suddenly she found that pictures of her children were being enjoyed in ways a parent would cringe to imagine. And that everyone knew exactly where they lived. Was that just a pedestrian pausing, or an eerie stalker loitering? An understandable paranoia grew. And there wasn't a thing she could do about it.

See for yourself…

If you'd like to see how GPS data in pictures can be used, we made a real example you can operate yourself. It's just a snapshot using an iPhone - no identifiable people - but you'll grasp the implications. Look here.

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I lost the job!

An architect had a disturbing experience recently. He had a great design and he knew his bid was the lowest. And yet the contract was awarded to someone less capable, but with a strikingly similar design and a lower price. He was mystified but shrugged it off. Until it happened again. Different client, same bidders. Same outcome.

Suspicion soon fell on the fact that development with his client was conducted mostly by email. The problem is, email is extremely vulnerable because it's rarely encrypted, and because it flows through many servers on its way from sender to recipient.

It would have been fascinating to know how his work was intercepted, but such investigations are prohibitive. Instead, he hired an IT company to install email encryption on his computer - and this is where it gets political and expensive - on the computers of his current and prospective clients. If you've ever tried to encrypt email you'll know it's not easy. Still, they eventually got it to work. And that was the last time his own designs were used to beat him out of a job.

Maybe you don't need privacy… until you mysteriously lose half a year's income.

Deceptive Devices?

ThumbPrints Wiper

Your computer keeps old information longer than you know…

Try this little experiment… download our free ThumbPrints Viewer™ to look at all the snapshots Windows keeps of your files, even ones you deleted or wiped. It's completely free and absurdly simple to use… See what's really hiding in your device, and consider this: If it's lost, stolen or hacked, what you see in ThumbPrints Viewer™ is what an intruder can see too. And if it reveals things you thought were long gone, you can join the Merlin Earth™ community and download ThumbPrints Wiper™ to clean it all up.

Have a look and then ask yourself again… are you sure you don't need privacy?

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Merlin Earth™ isn't ready yet, but you can reserve a copy today
and get a huge pre-release discount on Kahuna™ Traffic Credits.

What others say

If you're wondering what other people think, watch this TED talk by Glenn Greenwald, or this video by the Mozilla Organization. Oh, and have a look at this little privacy tool created by the New York Times.

So, who cares? We think you do. Please join us…

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