Recently released resources on online privacy and security matters

by Eszter Hargittai on March 5, 2009

I’m back at NU for a few days with about 20 (no, really, I counted) meetings in the next two days so no time to comment at length on the following, but I thought they were definitely worth a mention. Here are two recently released resources from a couple of great organizations:

* The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a resource on Surveillance Self-Defense.

* The Berkman Center for Internet & Society (my host for the year) has released a 2007 report on circumvention tools.

Both are carefully-written, interesting and helpful documents worth a look.



jacob 03.05.09 at 8:29 pm

As someone who worked on online privacy issues long enough ago that most of my knowledge is now obsolete (i.e. in the late ’90s), I know how hard it is to explain the intricacies of privacy and data protection laws to a non-specialist audience. That EFF site is really quite excellent.


greensmile 03.06.09 at 1:18 am

both stories made it on to slashdot this afternoon…with relatively little comment.
I don’t know whether its a matter of too many who trust government to respect their freedoms so much that they are not concerned enough to comment…or the issue is too technical for the politically energized and too political for the technically savvy.

I am certainly going to read both.


Eszter Hargittai 03.06.09 at 5:39 am

Greensmile – good point/question. I think the issue may * seem * too technical for those who don’t know the area even though both of these documents are rather accessible. It may also be that people don’t realize how they are relevant for their own online behavior. As for the technically savvy, perhaps they assume – incorrectly, if they do – that everyone already knows this already.


Mikhail 03.06.09 at 5:42 pm

It’s also possible that since the issue is self-protection rather than a public discussion with the aim to make the government reconsider (which it won’t), most people would take the view that you either do it (protect yourself) or don’t. Kind of end of discussion – you take your chances. :)


John Quiggin 03.07.09 at 2:57 am

One problem I think is that the EFF material is mostly useful for organizations. The take-home for individuals seems to be that the only thing you can secure is your hard drive, and then only at considerable cost in terms of potential loss of data. Although it’s not mentioned in any detail, there appears to be no easy way for an individual to combine a data retention strategy with an automatic backup strategy. Or am I displaying my lack of technical sophistication here?

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