“We should treat personal electronic data with the same care and respect as weapons-grade plutonium — it is dangerous, long-lasting and once it has leaked there’s no getting it back.” — Cory Doctorow
“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” — Cardinal Richelieu in 1641
- Think of all of the people you’ve ever called or emailed, and all the people you’re connected with on Facebook and LinkedIn. What are the chances that one of them has committed a serious crime, or will do so in the future?
- Have you ever taken a photo at a protest, bought a controversial book on Amazon, or vented about an encounter with a police officer to a loved one? That information is now part of your permanent record, and could be dragged out as evidence against you if you ever end up in court.
- There’s a movement within government to make all data from all departments available to all staff at a local, state, and federal level. The more places your data ends up, the larger a hacker’s “attack surface” is — that is, the more vulnerable your data is. A security breach in a single police station in the middle of nowhere could result in your data ending up in the hands of hackers — and potentially used against you from the shadows — for the rest of your life.
Wait a second. What about my fourth and fifth amendment rights? Isn’t this illegal?
The US isn’t the only country that does this.
“Never say anything in an electronic message that you wouldn’t want appearing, and attributed to you, in tomorrow morning’s front-page headline in the New York Times.” — Colonel David Russell, former head of DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office