Saturday, August 01, 2009

Log on to cars.gov = forfeit your privacy (i.e. DON'T)

I have no informed opinion of Glenn Beck. Something about him turns me off. But the information in this video is worth noting (one Commandment 3 violation):




Thanks to a friend in Minnesota for the tip.

27 comments:

Jay said...

Orwell was right, just had the time frame wrong.

Jay said...

I was going to make an Orwell reference too, and my name is Jay. Geez, talk about being beaten to the punch.

Kim from Hiraeth said...

I don't particularly like Glenn Beck either, but his show is full of information you're not going to see anywhere else, especially about ACORN.

He's on in Chicagoland at 4, so if I've got the table set and dinner in the oven, I try to catch him. I haven't watched for a few weeks; maybe I'll start taping. . .

Fred Butler said...

Okay,
Let's not get too hysterical just yet. We don't want to sound like the crackpots who worried about the invasion of privacy with the Patriot Act. I would wait a little while to see how this plays out now that it has been on Beck's show.

I think folks tend to over react to such things, and unless one is a terrorist, pedophile, or drug lord, you really have no reason to fret about the government chasing after you, because let's face it, most of us folks live boring, unimportant lives when all things are considered.

BUT, Beck has a point with those who are "the anointed" who want to baby the rest of us feeble minded because we don't know any better. This current government certainly plays in this mind set.

DJP said...

Fine.

And, in the meanwhile, don't say "Yes" to an agreement that transfers ownership of your PC to the Federal government and any other agency of any other country.

Paula said...

FWIW, I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable with Google's knowledge of nearly every aspect of my life.

To make it worse, former members of the "Google Administration" (including lobbyists) are now members of the Obama Administration.

Consumer Watchdog had this to say in a letter to Obama in response to the appointment of Google lobbyist Andrew McLaughlin as Chief Technology Czar:

Already top Google executives have assumed important roles in your administration. Katie Stanton, a former Google project manager, is the White House Director of Citizen Participation. Sonal Shah, former head of global
development at Google.org, now heads the White House Office of Social Innovation. Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, was a close advisor to your transition team and is now a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.


I'm no conspiracy, but weird, huh?

Paula said...

ACK - I'm no conspiracy *theorist*

Joel Hoyt said...

That site he was on was for dealers only. As far as I can tell, it's the standard disclaimer used for all web-based transactions with the US government. Only dealers can access that part of the site. You have nothing to worry about.

Michael Russell and Vicki Fox Productions said...

While the wording of the DoT "warning" dialog was a little more broad, those type of "warning" dialogs have been around for awhile, especially on Dept of Defense sites.

Several things to point out ...

(1) The so-called transfer of ownership is only in effect for the duration of the session (from logon to the DoT site until logoff from the DoT site). It is not a permanent transfer.

(2) The use of the phrase "transfer of ownership" means you are allowing the DoT site the ability to download JavaScript, Java, or other active computing modules found in web-based applications to your computer. These JavaScript, Java, or other active computing modules are the property of the web site.

Commercial sites, such as Google, which also download active computing modules to your computer in order for things like Google Docs or Google Mail to work, actually have similar wording in the terms and conditions, but they uses better words than "ownership".

(3) The affected pages do not affect the normal consumer, but affect dealers. If dealers are concerned about the wording, dealers could dedicate a single computer to the purpose of dealing with the government site.

Many vendors that deal with the Dept of Defense find it easier to use dedicated computers for such transactions because it makes managing certificates, user profiles, and connection information easier.

(4) The "journalists" in the clip clearly did not understand how web browser cookies or internet communications work. For example, modern browsers make it easy to clear cookies. Nearly every web site people visit usually leaves one or more cookies on your system. Also, every browser transaction communicates the IP address, browser type, relevant cookie information to the web server. But, this is usually meaningless. A web site may have the IP address of my home network router, but it doesn't have the IP address of my home computer.

(5) As a systems architect with Lockheed and used to this type of disclaimer language on government sites, I find this segment from Beck and similar one from Hannity to be amusing. They really need to consult with government/vendor IT pros and intellectual property lawyers instead of fellow journalists when discussing technology and internet law.

Fred Butler said...

In other words, they are stirring up a bunch of "big brother" nonsense when none exists.

Look it, if the government wanted to do the kind of things Beck and his crew are wringing their hands about, they would just do it. There is no need to have them trick you into agreeing to a "disclaimer" for them to compile information on your personal background.

Sir Aaron said...

I don't find this to be anything new. Of course, I see dozens of such banners everyday. The former poster is correct.

Beck has a decent show and is quite entertaining, but he borders on being a conspiracy theorist. As an aside, he's Mormon in his religious beliefs.

I'm not hugely concerned with privacy either. Maybe somebody can explain it to me, but why do I care what the government sees? They could listen to all my phone conversations if they want. Google is another matter because of security concerns. If they store it, then someboy can hack it. But as a LEO, I'd prefer they store all the data for lengthy periods of time. That article on google is amusing too. I can subpoena any Internet provider including your ISP at anytime without you knowing. I can also get a wiretap to capture future email or a search warrant on your stored email.

Ps I use google.

Sir Aaron said...

Fred: the legalese is a byproduct of the degredation of our legal system. In order to ward off any ridiculous defense of ignorance , the warning becomes necessary.

lee n. field said...

>FWIW, I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable with Google's knowledge of nearly every aspect of my life.


You might look at ixquick.com/ (http://ixquick.com/eng/protect_privacy.html). Publicity minion interviewed here.

Susan said...

Boy, reading the post and Paula's link to the Google article really woke me up. And my friends thought I was crazy....

I've always been kind of wary of putting one's personal info in email and in attachments without passwords/encryption. One time someone had sent via mass email a church group directory (complete with contact information AND birthdays) in a file without any protection, and because I was on that list, I emailed the person and asked to have my birthday info removed. She said she would take that into consideration but also added that they didn't post it on a website (gasp!) because they thought it would be too public and that hopefully email would be better unless someone is really out there to get us. Then there was this other time when another friend had asked me for my mailing address (I have a P.O. box), and I emailed it to her in a file with password protection on it. I'm sure she thought I was crazy to have done so. ("It's only a P.O. box!" She said incredulously.)

Guess I'm not so crazy after all....

Susan said...

(All right, I'll admit, maybe by some people's standards the p.o. box thing is a bit much, and there really isn't much privacy in cyberspace when one really thinks about it, but I cannot help being somewhat paranoid, having known someone who was the victim of an identity theft crime and having had my own credit card missing from my wallet.)

Sir Aaron said...

Susan: you are a bit paranoid...but that's ok.

Most ID theft comes from stolen mail. Theft that occurs over the Internet usually occurs from simply asking you to provide the information. The second most is phishing. The last is from Trojan horse programs etc that you'd pick up from emails or websites. Hacking often is used to obtain a person's account on places like eBay but very very very rarely in complete ID theft. I've never personally heard of a case resulting from interception of email, although that doesn't mean they aren't out there.

Btw, encryption only works if you use 128 bit or higher with a strong password of more than 8 characters. You also have to call the password to your recipient. You can use winzip for attachments for that purpose. So a church directory could be emailed using winzip and then password given verbally when pictures are taken or something like that.

Sir Aaron said...

Ps anything can be brute force hacked given enough time and processing power.

CR said...

I concur with Sir Aaron that Beck is entertaining, Dan. I don't watch him all the time but when I do I do get a few laughs. He is a libertarian.

Susan said...

Sir Aaron: Ps anything can be brute force hacked given enough time and processing power.

I agree, Sir Aaron. I just want to take as much precaution as I can to delay the process.

And it doesn't always work out, either, even with the best and most paranoid intention. Case in point: I had to pick an online traffic school a while back, and it was just several days before the deadline for the court to receive my test certificate. The determining factor for me was not only the price of the online course but more importantly the encryption that the website uses to protect personal information. Well, I finally decided on a traffic school that was not only located in a neighboring city but also used AES 256-bit encryption. The payment was due at the end of the course before the final exam--but when the time came, I couldn't get the website to process the payment! (It came back as error each time I tried.) I ended up having to finally call the school late at night and divulge payment info through email in order for them to process my payment! Talk about a foiled plan....

Sir Aaron said...

Susan:

just to really feed your paranoia, the NSA keeps the encryption algorithms for all major encryption methods on file...

Associate-to-the-Pastor said...

I am just now reading 1984 for the first time. Honestly...I expected better. It's mediocre. Plus I really don't see things ever degenerating into a society that totalitarian, because of the very medium we are using this moment: the internet. With the advent of so much information available to almost anyone, Big Brother could certainly watch but I don't think he could succeed.
FWIW, Beck is entertaining but can be a bit whiny.

Rhology said...

Beck is hilarious, but istm his radio show is more entertaining than his TV.

Susan said...

C'est la vie, Monsieur Aaron, c'est la vie. :/

Susan said...

And one more thing: Like Sir Aaron, I also have access to a variety of people's information at my fingertips because of my job (although the kind of info I can pull up [only when required] is different). I think this makes my paranoia ironic and comical. :)

~Mark said...

It's not paranoia when people really are out to get you! :)

Sir Aaron said...

Mark:

People are out to steal stuff from your house, your car, and your person. Are you as paranoid about that? Comparively speaking, using online resources for banking etc. are far safer than user the U.S. Mail, especially since you have zero liabilty for the former.

Susan said...

True, ~Mark. I only said my paranoia is ironic and comical--I never said I'd abandon it completely!! :D