Privacy and Security

What follows is rather jumbled but in my mind it’s all related.

You may have heard of the Realtime Blackhole List. Now there is a blacklist of mail servers with poor security. These mail servers are often used by the fraudulent to send petabytes of spam. Being put on this list is bad press and should force the offending ISPs to clean up their security. This seems fair to me because some ISPs are beginning to demand that their customers do the same.

In a reprise of stuff I wrote about two years ago, Net media companies, in their drive to make money, continue to invent ways to track people on the Web. This has prompted a growing number of people, in self-defense, to use ad blocking tools. This, in turn, has prompted one company to make a server module to combat the growing use of blockers.

Looks like an arms race to me.

To me, security and privacy are aspects of the same thing even though often the two are at odds. Privacy can erode the security of governments and businesses. Examples of this include:

  • File-trading tools, which erode the music and software industries security to make money.
  • Terrorists, which erode national security by hiding their activities in countries with extensive personal liberty.

Usually in response, governments and businesses act to increase their own security and this tends to erode privacy.

So what do we do? We must watch the watchmen. The Director of Homeland Security (an Orwellian title if I ever heard one.) should be aware that we have not forgotten the power of the Rodney King video.

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