Even if you are using privacy tools is your internet browsing safe. How secret are your financial transactions, are the off colour jokes you share with friends really private, and what about the kind of sites you would never tell your mother you visit? While you are watching porn, who is watching you?
Interesting story featured in The Indy today, I did a bit more digging to the source. Having often crossed swords with science worshippers who believe all technology is handed down to us on tablets of printed circuit board stuff by The Gods Of Science, and is therefore good and should not be doubted, I was gratified to see that my repeated warnings that there is absolutely no privacy on the internet, and far from being a benign tool invented by a geek scientist to liberate information, it is in fact an evil surveillance tool developed by government security agencies in collaboration with corporate control freaks for the purpose of controlling us.
The premise of this post is simple: If you are watching/viewing porn online in 2015, even in Incognito mode, you should expect that at some point your porn viewing history will be publicly released and attached to your name.
How is this possible?
This is an uncomfortable topic to talk/write about, which perhaps contributes to how we’ve arrived at the current state. So, to understand the threat, start with some technical considerations:
Browser footprints: Web browsers leave an essentially unique footprint every time you visit a web page, even in Incognito mode (and even without supercookies). This is well established; many web tools such as Panopticlick will confirm that you give a website lots of information about your computer every time you visit.
Global identifiers: Linking your browser footprint on one website to your footprint on another website – or to a previous footprint on the same website – is straightforward. You should think of your browser footprint as a persistent global identifier, and this is particularly true if you don’t take any measures to hide your IP address (eg. a VPN). The EFF has an excellent technical overview of how this works.
User tracking: Tracking web users is super valuable, so almost every traditional website that you visit saves enough data to link your user account to your browser fingerprint, either directly or via third parties. The Economist ran an overview of user tracking in September. (Though, interestingly, there is no mention of adult websites.)
Hacking is ubiquitous: We hear about data breaches that involve tangible harm – Target, Anthem, TurboTax – but not the (likely great majority) of cases when hackers don’t want additional exposure. Or, paraphrasing the FBI director: There are two types of companies…those that know they’ve been hacked…and those that don’t know they’ve been hacked.
How might this happen?
Still belive the internet is a gift from benign deity do you?
Judge Denies Attempt To Block Obama’s Transfer Of Internet Oversight To UN
October 2016: In a last ditch effort to block Obama’s plan to allow the US Commerce Department to hand over oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to a multi-stakeholder community – which includes the technical community, businesses, civil society and foreign governments – 4 state attorneys went to a Texas federal court alleging that the transition, in the absence of congressional approval, amounts to an illegal forfeiture of U.S. government property. Confirming once more that under Obama’s Presidency the judiciary and legal system have been totally politicised, their case was thrown out on a technicality.