Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1984: Tech Has Turned Against Us

Wow, it's getting to where you can't even sext (WikiPedia says...) and cheat on your partner via text messages anymore.

The fact that the French Courts are now starting to allow SMS evidence of infidelity is one thing all in itself - but the fact that this information is available is an entirely different privacy issue.

It's long been known that nothing is ever permanently erased, even on your cell phone or mobile device -and digital forensics have come a long way... but things are starting to go all 1984 on us. Remember that some mobile carriers actually store text messages for an indeterminate amount of time... and even if the device itself is "unrecoverable" the carrier is likely still going to have copies of every text you've sent and received.

Let's think about this... what situations would potentially turn bad?
  • You're texting someone about a new job on the company cell phone
  • You've planning a crime over text message to be "secretive"
  • You're cheating on your significant other
  • You're participating in a plethora of other illicit (illegal) activity

Couple all this with the fact that the government (at least here in the US) can get this information sometimes without a warrant while claiming national security risk... and it starts to get pretty ugly. Throw-away, paid-in-cash, pre-pay cell phones are starting to look better and better... except that those are probably just as bugged.

In a digital age where everything travels over circuits and gets recorded and transcribed many times before it reaches the destination is it reasonable to expect privacy? Is it reasonable for me to expect my mobile carrier to not save my text messages? Does anyone have access to their carriers legal statements on this, I'd love to hear the legal-speak on the matter.

Am I paranoid or has technology turned against us? Let's see... time to find that tin-foil hat and destroy all technology before it takes over.

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