Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Few Thoughts About Privacy, Email, Hacking and Identity Theft

I'm trying not to talk politics here but I must mention the hacking into Govenor Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account. Here is a media story that explains it.

Because it is apparent from the confession from the anonymous person that they intentionally took actions to pretend they were someone they were not this was an illegal act. I heard on the radio that the jail time could be 18-24 months.

Whether this act was done because someone just thought that they could get away with it and having no respect for privacy or whether it was an intentional act to try to smear Govenor Palin I don't know. It seems to me the younger generation has a more nebulous idea of etiquette, rules and laws than any generation before them. What I mean is I would not put it past a teen or someone in their 20s who grew up with computers and the Internet to have the opinion that hacking is actually not illegal but something to do for fun. Over and over I see examples of the younger generation than mine thinking they don't have to play by society's rules and that they are entitled to push boundaries even when that crosses the line and becomes technically an illegal act.

I just wanted to mention this today as I often talk about Internet safety and privacy issues. As a victim of identity theft I have many reasons to cringe at the idea of personal privacy being violated. These same privacy issues apply to bloggers as well. They apply to our children too, in other words if we allow our children online and they have passwords that are not well protected or use sites with not so great privacy policies, or easily hackable sites, our kids may be opening a portal to violate the entire family's confidential information.

Just a few things to ponder today...


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Christine, I did not know that you have been a victim of identity theft. That must have been absolutely awful.

As for the crime against Sarah Palin, I am not surprised, though it saddens me. We seem to have lost respect for the boundaries with public figures. On the social level, many people seem to believe that they have a right to know that goes beyond policies and public information, right to the heart of a person's private life.

I am not even a public figure, and I had this happen to me. I was on the "mi-shebayrach" (healing prayer) list when I had cancer. One day, soon after the worst of treatment ended, I was sitting outside the synagogue enjoying the sunshine and a woman that I knew slightly came up and started asking all kinds of personal questions about my cancer and treatment. I told her that I preferred not to talk about it. She insisted that since I was on the healing list, that meant that she had a "right" to know. I said, politely but firmly, that her right to know extended only to the matter that I had been ill, not to the gory details. She went off in a huff, saying loudly that there was something wrong with me (psychologically?) because I wasn't "open."

Like I said, personal boundaries are a real issue in our culture. I wonder if this is a remnant of the "let-it-all-hang-out" manners of the 1960's.

christinemm said...

Elisheva that is a crazy story.

I did not know you are a Cancer survivor! Between prayer and American medicine, it worked! Hooray!

guinever said...

Michelle Malkin published on her website a first hand account of the guy who did it (seems legit). He was just trying to find dirt on Palin but didn't find any. So he went and bragged to all his hacker friends on the forum.


The Mocha Mom said...

LifeLoc is a good thing- although some might feel it is expensive, I find it to be cheap security. I rather have some protection than none. I do agree with you- todays generation do believe they can get away with a lot more. There is a lack of respect, and a lack of parent responsibility. I tend to think parents are afraid to punish their children when they have done wrong because now parents are being accused of child abuse. Where should a parent draw the line? This is a topic that has come up more than once between friends of mine. Maybe we both should blog about homeschooling and discipline.