The need of privacy in the actual telecommunication based World is a fact that most of Internet citizens do not properly realize.
The wide spread privacy concept is: Alice, alone in her room, telecommunicating with Bob, alone in his room. It seems that Alice and Bob are communicating privately and no one else is able to read Alice and Bob’s dialogue. That’s not true.
We have to realize that our physical privacy is not related to our cyberspace privacy. It’s more probable that the privacy of an hacker1 chatting in a bar full of people is far more strong than the privacy of a distract computer user chatting alone in his room. That’s because we have to be aware that using the Internet or the telephone is not the same as talking in front of your contact.
When you talk to someone, the conversation is interceptable in a distance depending on the volume of the voice, so if both Alice and Bob are alone and without eavesdropping systems installed on them, they can consider their communication private.
Otherwise, in the telecommunication world, we assume that there is a distance between Alice and Bob and, if Alice want to communicate with Bob, she needs necessarily to transmit her message by unknown messengers: ISP routers, telephone switches, local networks of the contacts.
Think to their communication in this way:
Alice want to talk with Bob but, to achieve that, she must tell her message to Messenger1 that will tell the message to Messenger2, that will tell the message to Messenger3, that will finally tell the message to Bob. The answer of Bob will transit back to Alice by the same or other Messengers.
The problem here is that the Messengers are able to write each message in a diary and store it forever, waiting the moment to use these informations. Other times may happen that a powerful Systems may send ElegantGuy or RichGuy to sit down near Messengers and listen to all the messages they transmit or ask to read their logs but the common threat is when ObscureGuy eavesdrop Alice and Bob communications and takes his own obscure diary, ready to sell to criminal markets personal data and sometimes extort money to the communications parties to not publish some private material.
That’s the main issue of clear communications: someone may read them, log them and use them against you.
Encryption and anonimous technological resources are the actual unique way to ensure privacy, waiting for Companies and law solutions to ensure real privacy for every Internet citizen. If the law will not assist our rights, we have to continue to use privacy policies, maybe not so easy to apply, but secure enough.
Think to your real life and transpose it to cyberspace.
When there is something you want to keep with you and you don’t want that this thing will be stolen: in computer means cryptography of the data (like LUKS or TrueCrypt).
When you desire to talk alone with your lover, your chief, your friends: in computer means encrypted communications (like Gnupg or OTR).
When you need to be leaved alone, in some place, without no one bothering you: in computer you mean Tor or proxy chains.
If you think to privacy on the Net, don’t hide your physical person but take electronic privacy countermeasures and ask the Government to provide privacy directly and enforcing laws to hit the crazy policies of big Companies and Intelligence Agencies, collecting personal data.
1Hacker: a smart and curious person who practically studies the deep mechanics of any technological phenomenon, commonly particularly skilled at computers. Not a criminal.
DOWNLOAD THE LETTER PDF format