CAT | Innovation
3 Comments · Posted by Lance Cottrell in Computer Security, Cryptography, First Amendment, Innovation, Internet, legal, Legislation, National Security, Online Privacy, Personal Privacy, Security Breaches, Surveillance
The EFF has an excellent article on eight reasons why government regulation of cryptography is a bad idea.
The short answer is: the bad guys can easily get it and use it anyway, and it will make security for the rest of us much worse (not including the big brother surveillance and constitutional issues).
It appears that a company is now selling a tool that will allow high resolution tracking of the motion of customers through stores and malls by triangulating on their cell phones. The technique involves tracking the phone through its globally unique IMEI number. The company claims that this is anonymous because only the phone company knows the correspondence between the IMEI and the customer’s real name.I have very little faith in that protection. There are simply too many ways one might extract that kind of information, which could then become widely available. One could even connect the location information and IMEI data to checkout records. After a couple of trips, it would be fairly unambiguous. This is certainly clever, but disturbing. There is no opt-in or opt-out, and the tracking takes place passively with no ability for the user to detect that it is going on.Shops track customers via mobile phone – Times Online
Once again, people use the Internet in inappropriate ways assuming that they are anonymous. In this case, Virgil Griffith has created WikiScanner. The idea is really simple. Look through Wikipedia for the IP addresses of everyone who has submitted edits to Wikipedia. They also provide tools to make it easy to see what changes have been submitted by people within specific organizations.
It will come as no surprise that this turns up many blatant attempts to whitewash articles about that organization (or its leaders), or to turn the Wikipedia entry in to a veritable marketing vehicle. I am amazed that people who are net-savvy enough to think of altering Wikipedia entries like this, would simultaneously be unaware that they could easily be identified while doing so.