Sometimes I think my friends think I'm paranoid - Journal of Omnifarious
Apr. 23rd, 2003
03:42 pm - Sometimes I think my friends think I'm paranoid
Sometimes I think my friends think I'm paranoid about privacy issues. For example, I don't want phone company based voicemail because I don't want them to have my messages. I don't trust them to keep them private.
Well, I mentioned this in a conversation with someone, and the conversation that followed was very interesting and confirmed my fears and suspicions. :-(
15:00:20Omnifars: nocturne`: I won't use the phone company's voicemail because I don't trust them with any more information about me then they already have.
15:00:22nocturne`: I don't like handset phones, cordless phones, cellular phones especially.. Something about the audio quality is like bees buzzing in my skull, so I just completely avoid them now.. I suppose I miss them to some extent, but ah well.
15:01:06Omnifars: nocturne`: The other goal is to only have Ethernet cable in the house, and very little phone cable.
15:02:29nocturne`: Heh I worked for Northwest Telecom for a year or so in 1992, you're not paranoid in that.. Their voicemail servers were quite abused by employees who scummed them all with word-recognition to find "amusing" conversations all too often.
15:03:06nocturne`: Rather, messages, not conversations.
15:05:10Omnifars: I should tell friends who rely on it that.
15:05:32Omnifars: Many people are unaware the extent to which authority simply can't be trusted.
15:07:01Omnifars: They think I'm a little strange for not wanting the phone company to have my voice messages.
15:07:20nocturne`: Our local Telus here in Vancouver has a storage system that has a searchable database based on speech-recog.. It was initially desined in the US for anti-terrorism (IE: Bad guy says "Kill The President" on the phone and warnings go off everywhere).. But it's been perverted into just another toy like websites that have stuff like "recordings of my ex-girlfriends!" etc.
15:08:16nocturne`: The other problem is how insecure wireless networks are, too.
15:08:26Omnifars: Yes, that's just as scary an effect of the whole TIA surveillance society thing as the actual police overzealously doing their jobs.
15:08:37Omnifars: Yes. I want real encryption on my cell phone.
15:08:46Omnifars: The best way to get it is the 802.11b scheme I describe.
15:09:11Omnifars: Yes, it's VoiP, and VoiP is going to have problems over WANs, but...
15:09:28Omnifars: VoIP :-)
15:10:06nocturne`: My buddy <name deleted> who's a security employee for Telus was giving me a tour of the system.. it's a hell of an upgrade since '92 when I was in the biz.. He can walk over to a console and type in "I want it now" and it'll scum all the voicemails for that phrase in any inflection. Ta-da, lots of obscene messages!
15:11:54nocturne`: It also has "common sound" tracers for things like gunshots, door slams, yelling and screaming, obscenity filters.. They could realistically hunt domestic abusers and stalkers from the origin by their messages if they really wanted to/had the authority to admit they can even do it.
15:12:11***Omnifars nods unhappily.
15:12:30Omnifars: I wouldn't mind so much if we got to watch them with the same tools.
15:12:50Omnifars: It's the power imbalance that really gets to me, and is what will create a totalitarian state.
15:13:30nocturne`: What's really bothersome is how the people in the security administration think of it as all a big joke and a toy to play with. Unless they've been set on a task, they're goofing around with it all the time.
15:14:40***Omnifars looks unhappy.
15:14:43Omnifars: Yes, it is.
15:14:59Omnifars: They need to be the target of that kind of thing for awhile, and they'll stop thinking that way.
15:15:04nocturne`: He also showed me a couple of their mobile 900Mhz scanners and video signal scanners.. Pretty dicey stuff.. He'll leave his laptop and his scanner on driving to and from work and pick up all kinds of creepy video and phone audio all the time that people have assumed is private.
15:17:25nocturne`: Did you know that within the space of a few hours, with one of their signal kits, they can key digital security cameras to track and follow the ID# of your cellular? And if it's on standby, any time you walk into the visual range of a camera, it will "glowpoint" highlight you.. Through malls, shops, universities, anywhere that isn't using encrypted signals.
15:18:50nocturne`: And thousands and thousands of those X-10 cameras that people buy for hobby shit are broadcasting *everywhere* for people to track and intercept with just a $500 hardware module that interfaces with a modern-day laptop.
15:21:24nocturne`: Telus security has actually "accidentally" identified and tipped RCMP to various types of kiddie porn shit like that in the last couple of years.. Stuff like "Nobody knows it, but I've got my pinhole X-10 cams in my bathrooms so I can watch my teenage daughters showering!" is rampant.
15:22:11nocturne`: And since the pedo didn't encrypt his signals, it's public domain, so the warrant is fully acceptable if the tip came from a third-party.
15:23:58nocturne`: A couple of months ago, they (ed note: RCMP, not Telus) busted a landlord who had an entire 200-suite apartment complex wired up with good old X-10's. He had miles and miles of tape of people and was selling it to websites when he could.
15:24:27Omnifars: So, their view of all of civilization as being a huge corrupt morass of people who ALL deserve to be punished for something is reinforced.
15:24:52nocturne`: Yeah, I call that the Disconnected Paladin.
It is my opinion that David Brin was right in The Transparent Society, and that we've already lost our right to privacy. We live in a surveillance society. I don't mind this so much, but I do mind that we don't get to watch the watchers. :-( It's a horrible power imbalance.