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Author Topic: The Difference between Anonymity and Privacy  (Read 5598 times)

Paul Keith

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The Difference between Anonymity and Privacy
« on: January 28, 2009, 11:30:56 PM »
Following tinjaw's compliments on the writer who wrote    
What to look for in an Image Backup Data Software (ex. Acronis True Image)
I decided to copy-paste another Wilders Security poster.

This one is more recent and can be found here

First, break apart privacy from anonymity. They are not the same.

Privacy is nobody seeing what you do, but potentially knowing who you are.

One example of privacy is your home. Everyone knows who lives there, but nobody knows what you do inside of it.

Anonymity is nobody knowing who you are, but potentially seeing what you do.

One example of anonymity is a suggestion box. Everyone can eventually see what you wrote for a suggestion, but not discover who wrote it.

Client side software can deliver only privacy, via encryption. It cannot create anonymity. There is no one-man anonymity system. Anonymity, on the internet, is to blend in with the crowd so that your activities are not attributable to you. It means that it necessarily requires the participation of others. Free systems will always be slow and prone to abuse and attack, fast and abuse-free systems can not be free. This is the tragedy of the commons.

Sandboxie provides neither privacy nor anonymity, it is not relevant, nor does it assist (very well) against attacks on privacy or anonymity.

Softwares that provides privacy are encryption and anti-homing software. Encryption applies to storage and communication. Free storage encryption software is TrueCrypt disk encryption, and free communication encryption is available via Tor or xB Browser. Tor is encryption + anonymity, xB Browser is encryption + anonymity + anti-homing + pre-configured.

Anonymity networks that are free are I2P, Tor, and Jap. MixMaster is an ancient technology for sending email anonymously, but sending the message may take 24 hours.


Paul Keith

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Re: The Difference between Anonymity and Privacy
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 11:33:35 PM »
As an extra bonus, the guy also talks about the flaw of using open source privacy apps: (note that I shortened the reply to the core posts)

Let me elaborate on that point a little. Let us say I am the developer of OperaTor or some other software. It suddenly becomes popular, and I decide that I'm going to capitalize on it: I'm going to turn everyone's computer into a zombie or spy on them. Guess what? That FOSS license like GPL or BSD allows me to fully do so, legally, with no repercussions, and the user will have signed his rights away without even knowing it. Those licenses are inappropriate, because it puts the onus of checking the code on the user, instead of the reputation of the developer, and has no legal claws in the developer incase they do "evil" with it. HESSLA license does.

Quote
Disagree. Free isn't bad per sé. It allows money to flow to things we value more in our economy, without losing out on things we value less but still use.

I'll ardently defend that there is no such thing as free, and those who purport free will quicly fail as the market consumes them. The information superhighway is littered with the roadkill of "Free" services and softwares and websites that have failed. Why? Because they couldn't find a free business model. Everything has a cost. If the developer absorbs the cost, then he donated it, but there is no free. Money represents the value we choose to exchange with society. Value can be created and destroyed, but it can't be created without expenditure of some resource. The resource costs somebody money from somewhere. You see a dirth of "Free" this and that. But check on them again in a year and see if "free" was found to be a sustainable way to offer value and if they are still in operation.

Let's take Tor for example, a very large community with thousands of users and hundreds or IRC idlers with a mailinglist. They have a massive community, and the groupthink there is massive. Yet somehow individual hackers keep finding hacks that the community misses. Depending on the community is a false hope, unfortunately there is no wisdom in the masses, only a false sense of security because the crowd depends on each other

housetier

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Re: The Difference between Anonymity and Privacy
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2009, 08:14:18 AM »
One advise then: Do not trust Paul Keith.

Reasoning: his comments were given for free, there MUST be a catch.


40hz

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Re: The Difference between Anonymity and Privacy
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2009, 12:42:40 PM »
Depending on the community is a false hope, unfortunately there is no wisdom in the masses, only a false sense of security because the crowd depends on each other

I think there's a significant difference between the concept of community vs the notion of "The Masses."

A 'mob' and a 'community' are not one and the same.

I have no faith in mass behaviors or beliefs. I merely live and deal with them as best I can. But I have relied upon communities I belong to from time to time. And to date, I've neither been disappointed, nor have my hopes been dashed.

Hope the same has been true for you. :)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 01:14:39 PM by 40hz »

Paul Keith

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Re: The Difference between Anonymity and Privacy
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2009, 04:11:41 PM »
Quote from: housetier
One advise then: Do not trust Paul Keith.

Reasoning: his comments were given for free, there MUST be a catch.

 ;D ;D ;D

No, it's not. I'm sharing it to repay those who also shared stuff both now and in the past which led me to becoming less ignorant than I would've been.  :P

I think there's a significant difference between the concept of community vs the notion of "The Masses."

A 'mob' and a 'community' are not one and the same.

I have no faith in mass behaviors or beliefs. I merely live and deal with them as best I can. But I have relied upon communities I belong to from time to time. And to date, I've neither been disappointed, nor have my hopes been dashed.

Hope the same has been true for you. :)

Unfortunately it hasn't. There are a few places like DonationCoder that are breeding grounds for communities but most of the places who call themselves communities are mostly forums, social networks and chat rooms full of people who are sheeps, groupthinkers, mobs, bee hives, borgs, abyss and "Goodbye, I don't like you. Make a new account if you want to come back" mods.

But then again, Flame Warriors covered most of that already.  :P

I didn't write that though and I think the author didn't have the conceptual difference between those words in mind. But at the same time, I think he does imply a certain truth and that is often times especially with the internet, it's not whether a community is helpful and kind that makes them good, it's when people start hanging around that community and it grows so large almost to the size of a mob that the true longevity of what that community represents comes out in the open. Apathetic community turn into mobs. Legitimate good communities turn into great communities like DonationCoder.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 04:13:17 PM by Paul Keith »

40hz

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Re: The Difference between Anonymity and Privacy
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2009, 06:53:06 PM »
Spider Robinson once observed that "Nothing good ever survives being discovered."

-or- as Yogi Berra so aptly put it: It got so popular that nobody goes there anymore.

Interesting notion. I wonder why that seems, so often, to be true...

« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 06:54:54 PM by 40hz »

Target

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Re: The Difference between Anonymity and Privacy
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2009, 07:45:39 PM »
i suspect it has to do with us being so 'fashion conscious', and by that I mean we (as a society) are always looking for (demanding?) new things (witness our proliferation of gadgets, or look at the fashion or music industries... actually all those things are probably the same anyway  ;D).

In practice this means that the herd congregates at the latest and greatest - a constantly moving target.

often there is no good reason for the herd to move, it can be triggered by a single opinion expressed at the right place and time, regardless of the validity or substance of said opinion

Having said that it's also true that as the congregation increases, the destination becomes less attractive to those who perhaps consider themselves to be at the front of the pack.  Of course when they (inevitably) move on, the herd follows

watch long enough and the cyclical nature of this behaviour is apparent, and while the 'cycles' may be purely arbitrary (we're nothing if not fickle) the same things tend to come in and out of fashion over time.