The PrivacyPapers was released over a two week period of emails by Michael Kasdan, who has generously given us permission to post it in its entirety over several posts.

You can search Twitter: #PrivacyPapers, for the content and to share comments.

4. Privacy Papers – 1.1 – The End of Privacy? Like Its 1999…

From: privacy-papers@googlegroups.com [mailto:privacy-papers@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Kasdan
Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2013
To: privacy-papers@googlegroups.com
Cc: Chana
Subject: Privacy Papers – 1.1

All-

Below is an email and link that Chana wanted to share.  Its from 1999 and its entitled The End of Privacy.  (Good hook!)
Apparently, the end was only beginning…

MK (on behalf of Chana…)

From: Bill
Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2013 1:10 PM
To: privacy-papers@googlegroups.com
Cc: Chana
Subject: Re: Privacy Papers – 1.1

Oooh, that article is great.  Just to add some perspective to it:
In 1999:

  • Google was 1 year old and hadn’t yet figured out how to make money.  Adwords (Google’s primary income stream) would launch a year later.
  • Netscape had *just* been bought by AOL and was the dominant (only?) browser.
  • Zuckerberg was still in high school (he was 15)
  • We were approaching the peak of the internet bubbled and it was about to pop (always reminds me of this dilbert comic)

Now I’m not pointing this out to make you feel old (though it does do that), but to set things in perspective.  The internet was still pretty new to people (it had started to gain popularity around 1995, also when Amazon and Ebay started out) and there were still a bunch of people who didn’t yet have access to it.  In short, it was new, and hence something to be afraid of.  But really it was just a way to get people to read the article.  There is nothing about the internet that changed any of the ways that this guy gathered his information.

So, how far have we come in the nearly 14 years since this piece was written?  Well, to start off, “pretexting” the phone company was declared illegal in 2006.  So at least for ethical investigators, that option is no longer available.  But AFAIK, pretexting is *still* legal for trying to get information from your mortgage company, your bank, amazon, etc.  We should really try and close that loophole.  [as a side note, read Mitnick’s “Ghost in the Wires” for a lot more details on pretexting and social engineering and what can be accomplished with that approach.]

From: privacy-papers@googlegroups.com [mailto:privacy-papers@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Kasdan
Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2013
To: privacy-papers@googlegroups.com
Cc: Chana
Subject: RE: Privacy Papers – 1.1

I freaking love this group.  Just saying.

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