Thank you for bringing this issue to Internet Evolution. Privacy-driven network equipment is an underutilized category of hardware in my opinion.
That said, there are always going to be those forces that will try to extract as much data as possible from our online traffic. I'm curious to know what can consumers look for when choosing such freedom boxes and how can they assure themselves of a more secure Internet experience?
Also, which companies are championing these devices? And are there standards we should be looking at to ensure their survival?
The US government is funding controversial projects to collect daily Internet activity, including Web searches, Twitter messages, Facebook and blog posts, and the digital location trails generated by billions of cellphones. Its goal is to map these interactions to predict social behavior, such as protests.
What can users today do to protect their online privacy? The simplest and most obvious option is to not use the Internet – at all. However, once all digital information is consolidated over the Internet, trying to protect digital identity by simply unplugging from the Internet becomes impossible – a fact that has manifest implications for civil liberties, Saunders says.
By 2011 the number of Internet-connected sensors will exceed 1 trillion, making your chances of doing anything or going anywhere unnoticed pretty much zero. Saunders talks about how the 'sensortization' of the Internet is eliminating the traditional divide between online and offline populations.
The 20th Century Internet was characterized by the ability to interact with other people and information on the Internet largely without anyone knowing who you were. The Internet of this century, conversely, will be defined by identity. Saunders explains how Internet users are unwittingly contributing to the demise of the anonymous Internet.
The plan for unmanned police drones to patrol traffic and other city conditions in Seattle has sparked a new set of legal concerns about privacy. Law traditionally lags technology, but we can expect now to see a new round of activity in the courts as legal definitions begin to emerge on what "next-gen privacy" will look like.
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