Watch your privates; readers talk back

Watch your privates; readers talk back

I've spent a lot of time lately nattering on about privacy, unwarranted spying, unprovoked searches of personal electronics, and whether your IP address belongs to you, your ISP, the government or Google.

I thought it might be nice to let some Cringesters take over the megaphone for a while. Their thoughts are in italics, starting with this from DW.

When was the last time you had your picture taken by a surveillance camera? I bet it was yesterday when you stopped at the bank, had a cup of coffee at the corner coffee shop, or at the grocery store last night ... Privacy does not exist. It is an illusion.

My response to this is... Terrific. Now please take off your clothes. Because the odds are good that even if you did get caught on the CCTV cams, you were wearing something. And you had your wallet in your pocket. And that camera doesn't know your social security number, home address, or what you searched for on Google last night. Not that surveillance cams don't intrude on your privacy or aren't abused, but the notion that since I'm being photographed I give up the rest of my rights is a tad too Orwellian for my tastes.

Meanwhile, back at reader ranch, my rant about Google and IP addresses brought forth this well-reasoned response from an anonymous Cringester.

If you don't want Google to know who you are ... then don't ask them for information. It's as simple as that. For some reason, people want to use the Internet, but they don't want the Internet to know they are using it. This is absurd. Either you are comfortable with the Internet, or you're not. You can't rely on it and use it and, at the same time, try to tear down the very fabric by which is has blossomed in the first place.

Seems a bit harsh to me, frankly. Even if I can't have my cake and eat it too, can't I nibble a bit at the crumbs? Do I have to give up everything just to search for video clips of Lindsay Lohan? Isn't viewing all those Google ads enough? Many, many readers talked about the need - even inevitability - of encryption as a response to search engine and/or government nosiness. Reader TG wrote:

When browsing the Internet in standard mode ... nobody should have any expectation of privacy. It's like sending a postcard ... When you use a secure connection using SSL, it's like putting your letter in an envelope. In this mode you should have a complete expectation of privacy. If a search engine followed the simple plan of [SSL] connections as absolutely private, I [and probably you] would use it if privacy was warranted.

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