Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Cloud - with privacy goes freedom

The “Cloud”, once a term of nature, is now a term that means the aggregation of the world’s data into a central database. As a means to share data, to make data available to people, the internet has been a wonderful addition to the world. The challenge that is arising, is that personal data, every aspect of our lives is being aggregated and tabulated in a manner that puts our private lives in the hands of a few, and most concerning, in the hands of government. Once you commit a piece of data to the cloud, an email, a telephone conversation, your calendar entries – it is in effect in the public sphere. We need to find a way, across platforms to isolate that which we want the world to see, from that which we want private.
The first incursion into my private space via the internet was in 1994, it was three in the morning. I went into my home office to do some work, I had left my computer on and I noticed the curser moving around my computer screen. I sat and watched as someone remotely accessed my personal data, they opened files, accessed my browser data – I used Netscape at the time. To this day I have no idea who it was, that is a violation of most obscene kind.


Facebook Artifact - Privacy Still has Relevance  

The cloud facilitates this type of incursion into the private lives of people, the challenge has been the insidious advance of the capacity to be monitored – if in 1950 you said to my father the government was going to read every letter he wrote in route, he would have screamed blue murder – we all have in effect acquiesced to this very reality in 2015. There is no means in any of the instruments developed in the modern technological sphere to patrician inherently private information from the public.
If you have a digital device that plugs in, it can be hacked. People hack into washing machines and change cycles or effect “malfunctions”. The list is endless, and very few people have the capacity to protect themselves and government seems content to permit this to go on, government is more than complicit in this incursion, it is a willing co-conspirator. Government seeks wherever possible to collect data regarding our person – the Canadian Long Census Form for example – even asks what your sexual orientation is, or government tabulates your personal income and foreign entities hack Revenue Canada’s database.

Privacy is one of the keystones of democracy. The capacity to function as a free agent is dependent on anonymity, absent anonymity the capacity for centralized control grows. The cloud has much promise; somehow we have to find a means by which to have control of our private data - I had someone hack my blog and take down a NATO article I wrote AND delete it from my hard drive in the last 30 days, my cellphone was hacked and data lost last week. My personal experience from 1994 until now illustrates to me, and I hope you, just how vulnerable we are.        
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