Secret Back Door into Your Privacy

by | Nov 26, 2016 | Archives

Our privacy is threatened by the electronic world.  There are not many ways to avoid the loss.  If you say it, type it, buy it or send it online, someone, somewhere can see it, store it, look at it and pass it onto others whenever they choose.

Even if you don’t send, the simple act of looking, even turning on the radio or TV can reveal a lot about yourself.

There are many worries relating to privacy.   We have to worry about hackers, private and state run.  They can look at you individually, your accounts, what you write and say, who you have been contacted by and who you call.

Hackers more often look at and copy records of businesses.  The business may not even know, or choose to not reveal, the breach.   Yahoo is one example we know about.  They were hacked.  500 million user accounts were copied.  500 million!   The US population is estimated to be under 325 million. 

The Yahoo hack happened in 2014.  Yahoo did not reveal the loss for two years.

Next we need to be concerned privacy breaches built into our electronic devices.  A recent new York Times article :Secret Back Door in Some U.S. Phones Sent Data to China, Analysts Say” (1) reveals that preinstalled software in millions of Android phones sent data about  who was talked to and what was written in text messages direct to a server in China.

The Chinese phone manufacturer said this was a mistake and that the software in those phones was not intended for American phones.  Yet that data is revealed.  It’s out there somewhere, ticking, waiting,  for some a personal a time bomb.  Whether the software was intentional or not, we can see how companies in our communication supply chain can get our personal private information.  In this case Chinese companies and by extension the Chinese government can monitor our cellphone behavior.  Our phone may not even have come from China.  Just a component or some code in the chain can provide a back door to our personal information.

Even our voting process, a core of democracy has been shown at risk due the the fundamental strength (easy accessibility) and weakness of electronic communication.   Recently there have been many calls to manual vote recount of paper ballots to assure the presidential election was not hacked.  Experts who have studied the vulnerabilities of election systems at length, have said that pre-election polls were “systematically wrong but the only way to resolve questions would be to examine “paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states” (2).

We live in a new era where we need new ways that take advantage of the strengths of the shift  and avoids the problems that come with our loss of privacy.

Gary

(1) NYT.com: Secret Back Door in Some U.S. Phones Sent Data to China, Analysts Say

(2) NYT.com: Vote recount for Hillary Clinton-Trump

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