Archive Pen & Links

You can’t trust anyone on the Internet

July 26, 2010

By now you’ve heard about the online document repository WikiLeaks leaking thousands of pages of documents related to the war in Afghanistan.

And I say good on them.

It’s about time the federal government learned what we should all know by now: Privacy is dead. There is no such thing as a private thought or a private photo if it gets within 10 feet of the internet. What you do online or on your computer can be discovered by anyone with a little know-how. For all you know, there’s a keystroke logger installed on your computer capturing all of your passwords and credit card numbers.

Paranoid or just plain frightened now? Good.

On most Facebook profiles I can glean enough information to at the very least spam the living daylights out of someone, and at the very worst, walk away with their identity.

When I worked for my college paper back in 2007, candidates for student office weren’t so careful with what should have been private pictures and they leaked out. There was much anger and resentment afterward, but something more important happened: Students began taking more responsibility for what they posted online and thought was private.

Granted the documents in the WikiLeaks case weren’t posted online originally, but with the fast pace electronic communication moves at, you can’t expect things that were once clandestine to stay quiet. One of the tradeoffs behind the openness and freedom the Internet is that secrets become much harder to keep. Perhaps this will be a sign to government that more transparency is needed.

Or more likely the walls between information and the public will be raised a little higher.