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Congress Questions SE's Over Disclosures

     

Brett_Tabke

10:33 pm on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



[news.com.com...]

Under cross-examination during a congressional hearing, Yahoo's top lawyer refused on Wednesday to say whether the company opens its records for government surveillance without a court order.

Michael Callahan, Yahoo's senior vice president and general counsel, declined five times to answer that question from Rep. Brad Sherman, a California Democrat who was probing whether the Internet company had cooperated with the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance efforts.

Lex_Luther

10:44 pm on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I think the Yahoo is an open book to any government that wants to look. And thier employess like to spy also. One time I went and checked my Yahoo email and thier was a message from a Yahoo employee, seperated from the emails, who erased all my emails and told me to refrain from using it for business reasons. He had the audacity to go thru every message and erased any message that was busiess related.

rohitj

11:38 pm on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yahoo sees it the other way around--you had the audacity to misuse their service for profit, ignoring their terms of services. Unfortunately you are using their private servers/property and therefore agree to their terms. I use my own mail servers for mail--its the only way you'll get the privacy you demand (and deserve).

Key_Master

12:21 am on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My favorite quote:

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security. -Ben Franklin

Who's helping the NSA?
[news.com.com...]

Junanagoh

12:31 am on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Thats horrible Lex.

Do you think they do the same thing for sbcglobal email? I technically pay for that right? Thats one thing I have been afraid of since this whole thing happened. No only will they give away our search privacy but what about something that is even more personal, our email.

That should be 100% illegal. I will never use Yahoo again. That really angers me.

swirl

1:11 am on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Would people enthusiastically search for weird porn, explore the world of home-made bombs, or otherwise entrust Yahoo! with the search query: "cures for impotence" if it was clear that all of their information would be passed along to screeners at the NSA for study?

Probably not.

It's sort of funny in a sad way. Part of me wants to always pretend there is a government agent seated beside me, taking notes on what websites I visit, what PPC campaigns I start, and who I write e-mails to.

Then I think... you know, one day I'll be dead, and none of this will matter, so... why get all caught up in that negative conspiratorial type of thinking?

oneguy

3:01 am on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Under cross-examination during a congressional hearing, Yahoo's top lawyer refused on Wednesday to say whether the company opens its records for government surveillance without a court order.

LOL. Who's kidding who?

followgreg

8:21 am on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member




I always believed that Yahoo had the worst ethics on the SE planet.

Giacomo

12:56 pm on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Who's helping the NSA?
[news.com.com...]

"Have you turned over information or opened up your networks to the NSA without being compelled by law?"
[...]
Google Declined comment

JAB Creations

6:49 pm on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jab_creations is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



@ Junanagoh

I worked as a DSL tech in Central Florida for SBC-Yahoo and they spied on me constantly because I was actually helping people out. Constantly I'd hear, "Is there a way the next time I call I can just talk with you?" They were on the verge of kicking me out but they severely screwed with my schedule and I became a perm. no-show. ;) I wasn't that in on the inside and it was more of SBC then a Yahoo place but it's a small piece in the puzzle nonetheless.

Junanagoh

7:08 pm on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Some things about corporations and the goverment I just dont understand.

"Is there a way the next time I call I can just talk with you?"

I love those people :)

mendeleev

11:03 pm on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



The assumption that every action you take while connected to the Internet is stored and can be retrieved by anyone at any point in the future has always been my working assuption.

That sucks - just like Stalin's NKVD (where any acquaintence might be an informer) sucked.

But for me, there's a metaphysical belief that tempers my fear. I think that all these attempts (NKVD, NSA, Corporate datamining, Google) - are attempts for man to become Omniscient. Since *I Believe* that only God can be omniscient, therefore *I Believe* that these human attempts will always fail, eventually.

Put more simply - there will always be too many data, and algorithms will never be powerful enough to "wrap their heads around" all available data.

Maybe a different way to say this it to meditate on the difference between intelligence and wisdom. Wisdom is the practical application of intelligence - and I think, will remain out of reach of algorithms.

Or another way to put it: "Let the a$$ holes drown in their data".

Winooski

7:54 pm on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



(Sorry if this is a little off-topic.)

It's sort of funny in a sad way. Part of me wants to always pretend there is a government agent seated beside me, taking notes on what websites I visit, what PPC campaigns I start, and who I write e-mails to.

I'd say that's exactly the way we all should be thinking when we communicate electronically, especially via Internet.

...Then I think... you know, one day I'll be dead, and none of this will matter, so... why get all caught up in that negative conspiratorial type of thinking?

Are you truly that confident your government would never use its surveillance of you against you for arbitrary or immoral reasons? If you could ask a citizen of Egypt, North Korea, or China, what would they think about the matter?

If you're entertaining thoughts like "it can't happen here", I'm begging you to please read George Orwell's 1984 carefully.

Jesseo

5:49 pm on Feb 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



The surfacing of the Google nsa story is noteworthy. It took a year for the story to reach us.

It another 'watch what you think' story with thoughtcontrol as it's central theme. It fills the void most recently occupied by the 'libraries are monitored' story.

HRoth

2:09 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



You know the saying - it's not paranoia when they're really out to get you. And sometimes they are out to get you just because they can be, not because you actually warrant any attention. I was active in the anti-war movement during Vietnam but a very tiny fish indeed, yet when I requested my FBI files under the Freedom of Information after the war was over, holy cats. I knew they were spying, but I had no idea. They had actually sent someone to a party at my house, for instance. I mean, what did they think they would learn about at a party? Obviously, their motivation was that they could do it and they felt like doing it, so they did it. IME, this is their general approach to spying.

Spook organizations like NSA et al. have tons of money now because of the "War on Terror." You betcha they are spending it spying on everyone under the sun. And you betcha companies like Yahoo and all the rest are freely opening up to whichever of the now many government agencies do spying. Why should they not? They have nothing to gain by refusing.

IMO, it is a good general rule not to put anything into an email that you would feel uneasy having read aloud in a court of law. Ditto with sites you visit, searches you do, etc.

mcavic

4:58 am on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



you had the audacity to misuse their service for profit, ignoring their terms of services

Come again?

MikaelTC

1:46 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



From Google privacy policy (which took some digging to find, by the way):

Google only shares personal information with other companies or individuals outside of Google in the following limited circumstances:

* We have your consent. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information.
* We provide such information to our subsidiaries, affiliated companies or other trusted businesses or persons for the purpose of processing personal information on our behalf. We require that these parties agree to process such information based on our instructions and in compliance with this Policy and any other appropriate confidentiality and security measures.
* We have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, (b) enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations thereof, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, or (d) protect against imminent harm to the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public as required or permitted by law.

Emphasis mine.

Google et al. are businesses and they "own" the data they collect. I think the problem lies with the fact that many computer users feel that because they are sitting alone in their room that their information is "secret." It isn't. Data passes over privatly owned data cables, to privatly owned servers, which pass the packets on to other privatly owned servers. Unless you are using a known secure line, your data is as secret as the ebbing and flowing of the tides.

Generally it isn't a good idea for compaies to share the data, they'd lose their customers. But let me play devil's advocate for a moment. What if someone came into my house and said "I'm going to blow up a certain thing at a certain time in conjunction with a certain group or ideology" (I'm being vague here, but assume that the person is not). Should keep that information secret, "for the privacy of my guests (users)?" Try to think of this from the perspective of Google, and the government agents who are trying to keep us safe (even if you feel dirty doing it, the excercise helps, I promise).

I haven't read all the details on the case, so I may be missing some critical piece of information, but I would argue that SEs sharing personal information with the government is within their rights and responsibilities as private organizations, which they need to carefully weigh against the buisness reality that their customers don't like their personal data being shared. I do not believe that this perspective equates to giving up a critical piece of liberty for temporary security (in the event that anyone is thinking about the previous quote).

Rani

6:12 pm on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



O.k.
Say that the CEO of Yahoo declared that Yahoo does not open it's records for government surveillance.

Can he really re-enforce that decision on the hundreds of
employees ,datacenters,and contractors of Yahoo worldwide?

Is it guaranteed that " Joe the Technician" will not plant a bug in the central nerve system of Yahoo Asia if he was offered 10 000$?

 

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