privacy

A couple of quick links on privacy related themes:

UK biometric passports appear to be easily hacked
and all your information quickly found.

Six months ago, with the help of a rather scary computer expert, I deconstructed the life of an airline passenger simply by using information garnered from a boarding-pass stub he had thrown into a dustbin on the Heathrow Express. By using his British Airways frequent-flyer number and buying a ticket in his name on the airline’s website, we were able to access his personal data, passport number, date of birth and nationality. Based on this information, using publicly available databases, we found out where he lived, his profession, all his academic qualifications and even how much his house was worth.

And this privacy international study (via Draw), handily represented as a pretty colour coded chart of the most heavily surveilled countries in the world, by type of surveillance. A few surprises in there, too. NZ rates as “Systematic Failure to uphold safeguards”.

2 Responses to “privacy”

  1.   2treesandahorse
    November 20th, 2006 | 7:43 am

    Scary. real real scary. I knew you could but never knew how easy it was.

  2.   Scott A
    November 23rd, 2006 | 11:55 am

    Privacy as a liberal-democratic myth. It’s not a concept that has been part of human society – in fact, the concept of “human society” is almost diametrically opposed to the modern concept of privacy.

    Trying to protect some hopeful notion of privacy is a fools hope. However, it is very important to be aware that a lot of personal information is easier to find now that it used to be – and potentially misused.

    How to combat this? Live as humans have always lived. Live in the awareness that each and everything thing you say, do, own and aspire to is known to others – and always has been. Then just take what simple precautions you can to minimise the risk of others misuing that information.

    And build the society around you, to ensure that concepts of fairness, respect and honesty are upheld in the laws and strictures. These are the things that will protect you; not trying to hide from the society around you under a viel of “privacy.”