I have been trying to come up with some sort of clever opening for this post for the last three days, and I've got bupkis. Within the rather limited confines of my cerebellum there is no witty one-liner, no amusing quip, no attention grabbing quote that I can come up with that will frame a conversation about online privacy as even remotely interesting. There's no avoiding the fact that this promises to be a painfully boring topic. Online privacy is about as exciting as tax reform or Friday night bingo strategies. Never the less, that's the subject matter I'm going to try to tackle, because quite frankly, it's extremely important and the vast majority of my very clever and intelligent friends don't know diddly squat about it, and they (you) really really should.
Not convinced? Fair enough. How about you click on this and let me know what you see. That good reader, is what the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls a 'Browser Fingerprint'. The EFF's panopticlick site identifies tiny pieces of information that your browser leaves behind every time you visit a website. By looking at the information, and combining key data points, it's able to piece together a profile that is custom fitted to your browser. Creepy eh? The EFF isn't doing this for shits & giggles, it's trying to bring some attention to what many of us gleefully ignore. If you're interested in reading about their methodology, I'd encourage to take a look at '
In January 2009, 147 million U.S. internet users watched an average of 101 videos per person. World wide, current, daily use statistics? I have no idea, and I wasn't able to find them. Suffice it to say, that there are a lot of people putting a lot of stuff on YouTube all the time. The long and the short of it is that I don't know sweet bugger all about Italian law, and I don't know the details of this particular case. From what little I do know, I feel the decision is absurd. I've been wrong before, and thankfully, it's not my butt that's on the line. I raise the story to illustrate the point that while people are beginning to deal with some rather unpleasant facets of online privacy, the road is far from clear.
Take for example, Google Street view.
"We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us; so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him. It is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be. Even in the instance of death we cannot permit any deviation . . . we make the brain perfect before we blow it out.