Surveillance Society II
Posted on February 17, 2008
the saga continues
What do you think is the first thing I do when entering my blog’s admin panel? The very first thing is to go to the counterize section to see what IP’s have visited me, who is online now and what pages were most visited today… of course, I also get all sorts of statistics from google analytics.
For instance, since the last post, I have received visits from Seattle, Los Angeles and area, New York, Florida, London, Frankfurt, Lebanon, France and Romania. As you can imagine, while most people who visit my blog use automatic ips, they are anonymous to me. But, for some of them, their real identity is obvious from their IP’s. So, this morning, when I noticed that Claudiu (the hunting in the woods guy) has visited my blog, I had a giggling feeling like: Ahaaa,here you are , I can actually see you…
In fact, what I did is no different from what I said yesterday was extremely wrong for others to do. I simply did it because I could. As easy as that! And more of it, I enjoyed it. I enjoy seeing who is on my territory and I find this information useful to my discourse.
Now, let’s reverse the story. I am entering the Yahoo or Google mail server, and access my e-mails. Let me ask you one thing: When I enter a public mail service, am I on my private property or someone else’s? I would argue that my private property (especially as I don’t pay in ANY way any of those services) is related strictly to my password. Seeing things from the perspective of my blog’s visitors information, the content of the e-mails I send through public e-mail servers is completely at the discretion of the owners. This is unsettling to me.
Let’s see what GMail says. Well, they too collect info on your account, trails you make while browsing and preferences you have when clicking on advertisements, but they swear that whenever they need your private and sensitive info for any other purposes, they will ask for your consent. This is reassuring in a sense.
None of them says anything about the content of the e-mail stored on their servers.
And both e-mail services adhere to the Safe Harbour privacy principles. I shall look into that.
As far as I am concerned, for now, I learnt a valuable lesson, as long as one service has information at its disposal with no legal policies to restrict usage, it will use it. Just because it can.
I have also made one distinction: private and public is no longer as I used to think until a few hours ago. I thought my inbox on yahoo is like an account in a swiss bank. I only have the key, i rent it, and none but me knows what is inside. So wrong. I am on a private house, renting for free (well, my seeing their advertisements makes us even) everyone in that house has access to my locker… Now that’s a changing perspective!!!