The Value Digital Privacy in an Information Technology Age
National security concerns in society and the continual investing in Internet, telephone, text and e-mail monitoring systems by enterprises are reshaping the individual citizen's rights to privacy. For U.S. citizens and employees, this is particularly challenging to accept and is often outright rejected as this nations' culture has been predicated on individual liberties and an assurance of privacy.
The technologies that are being used for national security and surveillance, combined with those used by corporations together have the ability to capture, aggregate, create analytical models and predict behavior over time (Ottensmeyer, Heroux, 1991). Monitoring and the analysis of data from the many technologies used from surveillance can today be used for behavioral modeling and gaining insights into peoples' and organizational behavior to a level never before possible or with as much precision (Riedy, Wen, 2010). As technologies continue to accelerate in terms of their sophistication, surveillance capability and analytical insights, both governments and enterprises can monitor every signal or message that has a digital footprint. This includes Wi-Fi, e-mail, text messaging, cellular traffic and Internet traffic, in addition to traditional landline phone monitoring as well. All of these technologies taken together will lead to even more personal and corporate privacy being compromised, with the rationalization being the need to protect governments and enterprise information assets. This paper begins with an analysis of three dominant technologies that give individuals the ability to research another's background including much of the personal data that is readily accessible online, comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each.
1. Thoroughly list and describe at least three (3) technologies that allow an individual to research citizens' private data.
The continually rising anxiety and acts of terrorism at a national security level and the near-daily announcements by corporations of having their customer and financial data compromised are leading to a very rapid proliferation of technologies being used for monitoring employees and citizens (Jeng-Chung, Ross, 2005). According to research completed for this analysis, this trend will continue to accelerate over the next three to five years as the venture capital (VC) community continues to see the potential for high Return on Investment (ROI) in these areas of investment.
Website monitoring is the first of three technologies one citizen can use to monitor another. The basics of this technology include parsing though weblogs, historical browsing history, and the use of advanced analytics to capture behavioral trends and insights. Advanced forms of this type of analysis include Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), or the creation of linguistic models based on accumulations of unstructured content (Wood, 1998). State-of-the-art website monitoring includes the use of analytical techniques to combine unstructured textual data with structured numerical data to create an entire spectrum of monitoring not possible before, and the foundation of this is often website monitoring.
The second most common monitoring technology is e-mail intercepts and the use of packet-level analysis to capture the context and content of e-mail messages. This technology has long been used across TCP/IP-based networks as their packet-based transmission is well-adapted to this approach to monitoring (Freeh, 1999). Capturing digital footprints of all e-mail and network traffic is possible using the baseline configurations of these technologies. Current generations of these technologies can even monitor cell-phone conversations, keystrokes, text and e-mails initiated from a mobile device (Jeng-Chung, Ross, 2005). Over two dozen nations use these technologies today to monitor their citizens with the infamous Libyan government being one of the worst offenders, often building terabytes of data profiles on citizens through to be threats to the totalitarian state (Jeng-Chung, Ross, 2005).
The third and most advanced technology is the use of electromagnetic signature analysis. The U.S. Government leads all nations in the adoption and use of this technology, often using it for validating bank transfers and digital identity management (Kidwell, Kidwell, 1996). The National Security Administration (NSA) uses these techniques to ensure compliance of its TEMPEST-class enclosures and to protect highly confidential documents and systems (Jeng-Chung, Ross, 2005). The NSA has also created a Big Data initiative that is using electromagnetic signature analysis that can immediately recognize digital signatures and determined their authenticity. Given the size of the data sets, this project is called Project Pinwhale, and has a very broad scope of capturing website traffic, monitoring websites, e-mail, text, cell phone and all other digital signatures left from devices (Jeng-Chung, Ross, 2005). The NSA is relying on the Google engineering teams, who are widely considered the best in the world, to assist them with the creation of algorithms to parse through and evaluate the data (Riedy, Wen, 2010).
2. Thoroughly determine what measures citizens can take to protect private information or information they do not want to be disclosed.
In many of the consumer surveys completed, personal privacy dominates the concerns of the general public globally. For those from societies where monitoring is part of everyday life, like the United Kingdom for example, the tendency is to expect more surveillance, increasing more visible as a deterrent to terrorism and crime (Freeh, 1999). In the U.S. The attitudes are significantly different however where members of the general public have been known to move out of communities that are too heavily monitored, even quit jobs where employers are monitoring them too closely. Yet these safeguards are critically important to protect the personal information of individuals, which in the majority of cases is digital and therefore easily resold on the back market (Kruck, Gottovi, Moghadami, Broom, Forcht, 2002).
While the government is seeking to use these advanced techniques to mitigate terrorist threats, they are collecting an exceptionally large amount of data that could easily compromise individual liberties and freedoms. Both the U.S. government and many foreign governments aren't known for their ability to manager massive data projects well. This could end very badly for millions of Americans and citizens of nations attempting these same types of massive projects. What makes these massive projects also troublesome is the tendency of the government to often confuse one citizen for another, with a classic case of mistaken identity leading to home raids by the Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies (Riedy, Wen, 2010). There are many examples of how disgruntled members of IT departments within the government stealing personal data and selling it over the black market. This dynamic of illegal trade in digital identity data is an epidemic no one wants to talk about because the outcomes are often chilling; and the government really struggles to get on top of where the breakdowns are in its own structure (Jeng-Chung, Ross, 2005). For the consumer and citizen, the first line of defense is to be very vary of how much personal information is provided, and second, protecting their right sin the event of litigation with privacy attorneys who are experts in constitutional law (Kruck, Gottovi, Moghadami, Broom, Forcht, 2002).
Due to the rapid proliferation and growing sophistication of technologies, citizens have the ability to also protect themselves, both in protected Web browsers using 256-bit encryption in addition to firewalls in their operating systems and protected, secured Wi-Fi signals as well. Mobile operating system providers are investing in these options as they realize they are crucial to winning their customers' trust and being loyal customers over the long-term (Jeng-Chung, Ross, 2005). Citizens can also opt out of providing their personal information and take a strong stand against giving up part of their digital identity with no assurance of staying safe (Ottensmeyer, Heroux, 1991). Within the next three years all smart phone operating system vendors will have eclipsed where they are today in terms of depth of support, functionality and support for advanced security functions.
Thoroughly determine whether there are "electronic privacy laws" that can prevent others from having access to "private information" as well as how effective they are.
As the threats and actual levels of terrorism and threats continue to escalate, the U.S. government continues to seek out electronic privacy law extensions and the ability to quickly gain private information. This is also being driven by the continual threats of Chinese digital espionage and the threats, now voice publically, by North Korea, who has been spying on the U.S. For decades (Jeng-Chung, Ross, 2005). The enactment of the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act also gives the U.S. Government the ability to capture specific types of broadband traffic, including Voice Over IP (VOIP), text, e-mail streams and the ability to parse through encoded documents if the investigation warrants it (Jeng-Chung, Ross, 2005). It is important to note that this all can be done without the consent or knowledge of the citizen, which is troubling from a civil liberties standpoint.
Thoroughly discuss a federal law that grants the federal government the legal right to make private information on U.S. citizens available to the public, and whether or not you agree with this law.
When a U.S. citizen considers the steps necessary to protect themselves online, they need to consider the fact that…