“My Cloud and Only My Cloud”

If you’ve browsed through this blog site, you know I write a lot about privacy. Enough so you should know, as I do, that we don’t have a shred of it, thanks to the Internet and “Total Information Awareness” by the government in the name of “fighting terrorism” and “ensuring our safety”. Left with the choice of rolling over and accepting that, or making some effort to claim or reclaim some of the rights, like, yes, privacy, that have been stolen from us, I choose the latter. My views are not universally shared. Translation: a lot of people don’t give a damn because their heads are buried so far up where the sun don’t shine. There are entertainment devices there too, no doubt, along with the concomitant snooping devices.

It with the foregoing backdrop that I took some pleasure today in reading a product review on Amazon. The review was for a product that lets you set up your own “cloud storage” on your existing Internet connection without monthly fees, without relinquishing your data as property you posses, and without service agreements that remind you that “authorities” can swoop in and demand access to your data (without you ever being aware of it) at any time. I quote:

I have yet to make the jump to cloud computing, because I guess that I just don’t trust it. I want control of my personal photos and documents and I don’t want anybody peeping in on them unless I authorize them. Oh I know, those cloud people say that everything is secure, but let big brother come along with their paperwork and watch how fast your personal info is shared with them. Then there is the problem of hackers.

— Island Dreamer

Thank you, Island Dreamer. I wish you knew how you cheered me up a bit with that spontaneous bit of backbone you showed. If only… if only…

And Now the News Not

This week has brought us several non-news stories.

The Underware Bomber: Sure to briefly rouse you from your stupor with the keyword “underware”, the headline for this story should be: “U.S. Agent does what US Government tells him to do”. Not terribly exciting, but sure to instill more fear of Government Terrorism to be perpetrated on the citizens of the U.S.

Another story all over the mainstream media that is “so last year” — the Google Car in Nevada. I added my two cents to this story July 11th of last year. Why the sudden interest in this dog of a story?


Paper Shredding: Do’s and Don’ts

Just a reminder that the courts have OK’ed “Dumpster Diving” for Law Enforcement, so that beggarly looking individual going through your garbage could easily be a policeman, detective, FBI agent, or whatever…

When it comes to shredding paper with your name and address or other sensitive information on it, follow these important DO’s:

  • DO avoid stirring up the shreds. This makes it more difficult for Federal agencies to piece them back together.
  • DO take your shreds to your local police station for “recycling” — this will help ensure your shreds are taken directly to the Phillipines with minimum disturbance so they can be more easily pieced together.
  • DO shred only important or “incriminating” information – like bank statements, cash receipts, or voter registration notices: shredding blank paper or packaging materials increases the amount of work required to snoop your shreds.
  • DO bag shreds separately, and keep shreds from each shredding session together. Shred snoops don’t like to handle garbage. Help keep our taxes low by reducing the cost to our government of piecing together your shreds!

Now that we’ve had some sadly ironic fun…

In the particular state I’m in now, folks try to do what’s good for the environment. They try to do what’s right too, but that’s were things often go wrong. After all, some of the greatest damage is done by people trying to “do good”. In this state, there are regular media campaigns encouraging citizens to “bring in their shredded paper” to, of all places, police stations, to have it recycled. It seems no one has questioned this “service” being offered by the police.

Why not recycle it like other recyclables? In the greater metro area, recycling is universally available. In one place we checked out, recyclables are placed in blue bags to separate them from non-recyclable trash. Some communities support “single stream” recycling, where all recyclables are placed in a single recycling container, and the recyclables are separated at the recycling center.

Given this wide availability of recycling, why would one bring their shredded documents, that contained shredded personal information, to the police? I’m sorry, but in a land where the NSA records all phone calls and Internet activity, and then stores it forever, this brings up images of Filipinos who once worked for the FBI and CIA going through the shredded material and meticulously bringing it back to its original state for snooping purposes.

I’d like to find a better explanation, but I can’t think of one.