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Bloggers Reality Check: Who is Reading Your Posts?

December 19, 2009

Bloggers Reality Check: Who is Reading Your Posts?

 

Anyone who thinks that the internet is a closed and secure system is kidding themselves. When the Internet began I used to describe it as the wild west of communications. Sure it offered freedoms of expressions but you had to put up with so many cowboys, rustlers and snake-oil salesmen. Pages of information about every banal subject could now gain world attention through the click of a button. The growth was beyond the ability of corporate companies to stop and beyond governments to comprehend. It was glorious chaotic free market and uninhibited information sharing. Geeks were becoming heroes as an entire new industry exploded into existence. Freedom of speech and expression was now an unstoppable titanic.

 

Early late in the year 2000 whilst I was in-charge of an Internet Service Provider I had a visit from a very friendly man from ASIO. He only had one request and that was where he could plug in the monitoring equipment. Legally we had to provide access to ASIO to monitor all traffic and data going across our network. This meant that everything that was sent and received could be checked by a government security officer. Emails, web pages, what you download, who you connect to; in fact any thing that you are willing to commit or receive on the Internet.

 

In a post 9/11 mentality the desire to monitor voices of descent is starting to encroach up all media. The ability to chase up opinions and locate the writers is technically simple. Security and Law enforcement agencies can go directly to proxy servers to collect records of the origins of posts. They can also set up “sniffers” protocol analyzers to capture data. There is also the ability to set filters on network routers to dump offending information to another computer.

 

It may sound a little far fetched but major companies like: Google, Yahoo and Cisco have all been involved with setting up Chinas highly filtered internet access. Yahoo provided information that led to the arrest of a dissident Journalist.

 

There has been a number years and technology upgrades that make the task of monitoring and tracking dissenting opinions much easier. Yet the concentration of the Internet to corporate Service Provider strongholds gives people fewer places to hide. It is now possible to have every word you have ever written captured but an interested Government agency. The question is will it be used as evidence against you?

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