L. Neil Smith's
Number 316, April 24, 2005

"What Are You Afraid Of?"

[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Dear Mr. Ed/Editor/Ken, and JDM,

Re.: "Google Intruders", by Jonathan David Morris http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2005/tle315-20050417-03.html


If I were to have a neat response to the matter expressed regarding privacy, it would be that those who log into maps.google.com and make a request regarding a particular street address, then they would have to first have a valid private IP address associated with their real names.

Lacking that, and logging into the system from a public location—a library for instance, would deny them the information they seek.

Additionally, Google would be required to forward that request for information to the actual address itself, indicating who it was that made the query.

Otherwise? Perhaps Google should set up a database with the addresses provided by people who desire to not be located via their system?

There are any number of ways to hack the system, and the one that comes directly to mind is to merely request adjacent addresses to the one sought—if it were denied.

However, it was government that got us into this mess to begin with, what with tax database on real estate, and the names of the tax payer along with the address(es) of the owners.

All anyone has to do is go to city hall and enquire as to the owner(s) of a particular plot of land, at said address, and the same information is obtained. Granted, it may take longer, but that data is available for the asking.

It might even be available on-line ...

Now, currently, if you go to a US Post Office, and ask for the address of the box holder, you may—or may not, depending upon the one behind the counter—get that information. It used to be that such information was closely guarded.

Additionally, Google has a phone number locator directory for listed numbers, along with maps. So, if you have a listed phone number, your days of privacy are also 'numbered.'

There are ways to hide in plain sight.

One of those being to use that smallest, least conspicuous house numbers and place them such that they aren't easily seen.

The casual observer won't even see them, especially someone who's looking on the sly, and doing so quickly as to not be thought of as suspicious.

In all of this, we—the most current generation of tech users, are part of the learning curve, that we much pass on to future generations.

We learn of the strengths and weaknesses of the system, and in the process learn about ways to spoof it, deny it, or completely fool it.

But, most importantly is this: The information that nobody has is information that nobody can use.

Perhaps at some future time, a private company could be used to purchase phone numbers, and that company would not release the names or addresses of their clients, and those people desiring to have access to the Internet via whatever medium would also be given a random address having no connection to either their name, or address.

That company could well purchase our places of domicile for us, with a complete anonymity as to whereabouts.

The only thing left is situational awareness: Know if you are being followed.

EJ Totty

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