Privacy is Impossible on the Internet

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we're being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him;105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.


Sure, we can take measures to prevent this. We can limit what we search on Google from our iPhones, and instead use computer web browsers that allow us to delete cookies. We can use an alias on Facebook. We can turn our cell phones off and spend cash. But increasingly, none of it matters.

There are simply too many ways to be tracked. The Internet, e-mail, cell phones, web browsers,social networking sites, search engines: these have become necessities, and it's fanciful to expect people to simply refuse to use them just because they don't like the spying, especially since the full extent of such spying is deliberately hidden from us and there are few alternatives being marketed by companies that don't spy.

This isn't something the free market can fix. We consumers have no choice in the matter. All the major companies that provide us with Internet services are interested in tracking us. Visit a website and it will almost certainly know who you are; there are lots of ways to be trackedwithout cookies. Cellphone companies routinely undo the web's privacy protection. Oneexperiment at Carnegie Mellon took real-time videos of students on campus and was able to identify one-third of them by comparing their photos with publicly available tagged Facebook photos.



Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites.

And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant.


There are too many companies gathering too much data in too many ways.

Folksonomies: privacy sousveillance

/technology and computing/software (0.620626)
/law, govt and politics/espionage and intelligence/surveillance (0.500129)
/technology and computing/consumer electronics/portable entertainment (0.485333)

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Google:Company (0.752603 (negative:-0.036012)), Facebook:Company (0.725297 (positive:0.298674)), iPhones:Technology (0.579190 (negative:-0.111179)), social networking sites:FieldTerminology (0.416763 (neutral:0.000000)), Internet services:FieldTerminology (0.406129 (positive:0.797334)), reporter:JobTitle (0.385020 (negative:-0.244736)), Apple:Company (0.382191 (positive:0.496109)), search engines:FieldTerminology (0.376802 (neutral:0.000000)), Carnegie Mellon:Facility (0.351486 (neutral:0.000000)), free market:FieldTerminology (0.343671 (negative:-0.690378)), iPads:Technology (0.318013 (positive:0.496109)), one 36-hour:Quantity (0.318013 (neutral:0.000000))

Mobile phone (0.968140): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Internet (0.730073): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
MySpace (0.610861): dbpedia | yago | crunchbase
World Wide Web (0.532424): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Social network service (0.527079): dbpedia
Web browser (0.467533): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Instant messaging (0.437673): dbpedia | freebase
Facebook (0.432347): website | dbpedia | freebase | yago | crunchbase

 The Internet Is a Surveillance State
Electronic/World Wide Web>Blog:  Schneier, Bruce (March 16, 2013), The Internet Is a Surveillance State, Bruce Schneier, Retrieved on 2013-06-07
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: surveillance information age