Privacy in Cyberspace

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by aliveboi, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. aliveboi

    aliveboi New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a law student working on a paper regarding the Fourth Amendment, privacy, and cyberspace.

    There's quite a debate as to whether there can truly be any privacy in cyberspace. It provides a public forum where people meet and exchange ideas. To communicate in cyberspace you have to be connected through channels operated by 3rd parties and thus subject to monitoring. Plus, computers connected to the internet are subject to vulnerability due to advances hackers make each day cracking security. Given these factors, can anyone in cyberspace really believe any is any privacy when connected to a virtual space?

    I'd be interested in anyone's opinion as to what should be the measure of a person's subjective expectation of privacy in cyberspace.
     
  2. 36DD

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,790
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    6
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    U.S.
    I've actually been called paranoid for this very reason, but I do not believe there can be complete privacy exactly because of the reasons you've given. I try to keep my identity private...I have a rather impressive family that I do not want to subject to any scrutiny and so my privacy is of extreme importance to me and I take measures to protect it...I have several surnames...my married name, my family name, and my pen name, yet still I worry.
     
  3. Bbucko

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,413
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    58
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sunny SoFla
    There is no real privacy anywhere, certainly not online.

    The simplest thing to do is keep honest. Don't say or do anything online you wouldn't do face-to-face.
     
  4. HazelGod

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    7,531
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    9
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Other Side of the Pillow
    I'd be very interested to read your paper once it's completed. As an IT professional, I have a technical understanding of the infrastructure that most do not...as one considering a career change that involves law school, I'd like to know how application of the protections of the Fourth are being interpreted in the realm of online interactions.

    I think most people will read the OP with the idea that privacy is synonymous with anonymity, and to a certain extent that may be accurate. But anonymity from fellow forum members and protection from hackers have nothing to do with the Fourth, which was put in place to prevent the government from snooping into private lives without demonstrable cause.

    In the really real world, it's comparatively simple to distinguish public from private behavior, and similarly easy to determine when a reasonable expectation of privacy exists. Online, that's up for debate, though I personally tend to err on the side of the individual's privacy.

    The immediate application of this question in my mind is the investigation into the federal government's eavesdropping (for lack of a better term) on all internet traffic and snooping for suspicious activity.

    Personally, I feel that my internet communications should be afforded the same protections as all anonymous communication. Unless some overt evidence of criminal activity exists, the government has no right to track down the authors of any online postings.
     
  5. sjprep06

    sjprep06 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    276
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    philadelphia
    No, your information is sitting on someone's server, somewhere in the world. Could it be accessed and exploited? Yes. Is it going to bed? Most likely not.

    And didn't the "Patriot Act" kind of make this amendment damn near obsolete?:confused: And are you going to talk about the Olmstead, Berger and Katz Cases, Federal Communications Act, etc?
     
  6. 36DD

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,790
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    6
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    U.S.
    Sorry...don't agree, I don't say anything of a dishonest nature...I just don't think my parents or anyone else in my family needs to know this side of me.
     
  7. HazelGod

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    7,531
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    9
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Other Side of the Pillow
    No act of legislation supersedes the US Constitution, nor can any act alter it. That power is reserved to the states. We're already beginning to see a return to sanity, as members in the federal judiciary have stricken down portions of that stupidity as being unconstitutional.

    For a while there, it seemed that most everyone - including those who should have known better - were so completely overwhelmed with such blinding nationalistic nonsense that no protective action would be inappropriate in the aftermath of 9/11.
     
  8. pronatalist

    pronatalist Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,025
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    U.S.
    What about "Virtual Privacy?"

    Also consider the matter in society, of what I would like to call, "virtual privacy." That means, where privacy may lack, people may choose to respect "virtual privacy." Examples would be, if I hear the neighbors having sex through thin apartment walls, I respect their "virtual privacy" and don't blab about them, or at least make sure to delete any names and any indentifiable details, before running off my mouth about it. Or if somebody tells me a secret, unless legally bound to, due to more pressing society concerns, such as obvious child abuse endangerment or imminant suicide risk, I don't go blabbing it to other people, disrespecting their privacy.

    Just because a forum mod might possibly have access to personal information, doesn't mean there is any reason to disclose any of it. At the very least, it would hamper open, interesting internet communication. Similarly, radio talk show hosts, perhaps can use vague name and city references, that hide identity to all, except those who know the caller already.
     
  9. sjprep06

    sjprep06 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    276
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    philadelphia
    I know that legally the Constitution is the word and law of the land and nothing can dismiss it but as you referred to, there was a time when people 'accidentally on purpose' forgot that one tiny fact and violated it more times than a 18 year old in a maximum prison....
     
  10. aliveboi

    aliveboi New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    0
    The common test as to whether the government must get a warrant before they seize personal information is whether 1) you have an actual, or subjective, expectation of privacy and 2) the expectation is one that society is prepared to accept as reasonable.

    The trick is that as technologies become more advanced and surveillance (such as security cameras) become more ubiquitous, people's expectations of privacy drop and thus leading to the argument that the government needs fewer and fewer warrants.

    Is there a better way to test situations to determine whether a warrant is necessary before the government can access your activities in cyberspace?
     
  11. jeff black

    jeff black <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Messages:
    11,866
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    CANADA
    The biggest problem with that, is that people view the internet as a chance to be someone else. Shy people become outgoing and daring, people who are unpopular find those who share similar theories and ideas, meek librarians become sultry seductors....

    I think the best thing to do is just trust the people who set up these sites. No one is fully safe, but it's a brutal way to look at it.
     
  12. pronatalist

    pronatalist Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,025
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    U.S.
    "Nobody knows you are a dog, when you are on the internet." a caption below a drawing of a dog, typing on a computer keyboard
     
  13. 36DD

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,790
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    6
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    U.S.
    :rofl:
     
  14. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,784
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United Steaks
    There isn't much privacy left in cyberspace, and even though I know that, I still use my credit card on the internet. So far nothing has happened. When I check to see how much money I have in my 401K plan, I'm sure a third party can see, and I'm accessing it using my SSN. And the same thing most likely happens when I look at my medical information on my insurance website.
    What I find disturbing are the sites that have my name, age, and location. I have these records deleted whenever I find them, but a few months later they show up again as they get them from public records. It appears to be a losing battle.
    The city I live in has its own website as most cities do, but my city's website has a picture of everyone's house, the name of the street, the home owners names, and how much they paid for their house. It's a definite invasion of privacy, and there's nothing you can do about it.
     
  15. HazelGod

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    7,531
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    9
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Other Side of the Pillow
    Was this an oblique reference to sodomy laws? If so, that's a state matter. The Constitution never addressed such behaviors...and for good reason. The prevailing wisdom at the time was extremely suspicious of a strong centralized federal government...so all authority that wasn't explicitly required at a federal level was reserved to the states. Each state is free to legislate as it chooses, so long as it doesn't contravene the US Constitution.

    No third party can decrypt these transactions, presuming you're using a secure connection (i.e. a URL that begins https://). If you read the RFC on the TLS standard (formerly known as SSLv3), you'll understand why only the two participants in the communication session can decrypt the data stream. Even if they are somehow able to intercept it, no third party could recover the unencrypted data. Your information online is safe from "bad guys" in this manner.


    It's not an invasion. The states require that real property records be filed with local courts as matters of public record...as such, this information is never private at all.
     
  16. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,784
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United Steaks
    Thanks Hazelgod. That is somewhat reassuring.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted