Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"Totalitarianism starts when the difference between your public life and your private life is effaced."

In NPR's interview with historian Timothy Snyder about his new book, "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century," he said, "Totalitarianism starts when the difference between your public life and your private life is effaced. If we can't have exchanges with our friends and family, with loved ones that won't at some point be made public then we can't have private lives. And if we can't have private lives then we're not really free people."

We saw during the recent election how selective leaks helped defeat Clinton, and yes, they were an invasion of privacy. As a nation, we still have an expectation of privacy, although we should know by now it's a delusion. Still, we need to maintain a private life.

A few year ago we published Kun Peng's "Anonymous Communication Networks: Protecting Privacy on the Web." She starts with the statement that "Anonymity is a fundamental right of a democratic society." She then discusses how that right is violated, frequently with our agreement and help. Most of the book is technical, including this explanation of onion routing. For the rest of us, she provides a chapter on how to use practical systems to achieve anonymity, including how to download, install, and configure them. These systems are Tor, I2P, JAP/JonDo, and QuickSilver.

Look, it won't be long before some Trump youth group starts to rat out their parents, siblings, relatives and friends. It's time to take some action toward personal privacy. I know no one will dump their apps and social media PII syphons, but at least take a little to preserve some privacy.

LINKS

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with historian Timothy Snyder about his new book, "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century"
http://www.npr.org/2017/03/06/518858371/on-tyranny-explores-new-threats-facing-american-political-system

Buy "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century" at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/on-tyranny-timothy-snyder/1125454355?ean=9780804190114. It's only $7.99!

Buy "Anonymous Communication Networks: Protecting Privacy on the Web" at https://www.crcpress.com/9781439881576

Read Onion Routing at http://www.ittoday.info/Excerpts/Onion-Routing.pdf