Educause Security Discussion
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Re: TOR and the Digital Freedom Conversation
From: Tim Doty <tdoty () MST EDU>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 08:27:02 -0600
On 12/10/2013 06:22 PM, Jones, Mark B wrote:
There is a difference between 'Privacy' and 'Secrecy'
You are correct that there is a difference, but they are not exclusive.
While the use of authentication and no anonymity may be an approach to
protecting published online information from those without access, it
does nothing to preserve privacy in the face of authorized but unwanted
access. Nor does it address the loss of privacy from complete tracking
-- in fact, a true lack of anonymity would destroy privacy.
Case 1: I want to store information in the cloud, but I want to retain
confidentiality of the data. This is a case where strong
authentication/no anonymity would be a viable approach, but there is no
reason to deny anonymity in a general sense. That is, strong
authentication can be used to establish an access control to a data set
without requiring that a person's identity be publicly disclosed.
Case 2: I desire to have some privacy in my actions. Some degree of
anonymity is *required* to accomplish this. For example, if I buy some
books on medieval mysticism it used to be that a simple cash transaction
kept it essentially private. There are some caveats (if the seller knows
my personally then they will know I bought them, but for a random person
off the street it would be essentially anonymous).
It is trivial to demonstrate a connection between privacy and anonymity.
Those promoting a police state are naturally against anonymity. Those
promoting privacy understand the utility of strong encryption and anonymity.
Tor seems like it
may lean toward the latter.
I have found that the following site has a useful perspective on privacy
Here are some key quotes:
"Importantly, privacy is a personal, subjective condition. One person cannot
decide for another what his or her sense of privacy should be."
"While privacy is held up as one of our highest values, people also
constantly share information about themselves by allowing others to see
their faces, learn their names, learn what they own, and learn what they
think. In fact, it is a desirable lack of privacy that allows people to
interact with one another socially and in business. This does not mean that
people should lose control over the information they want to keep private.
It means that generalizations about privacy are almost always wrong."
Also 'Privacy' is not the same as 'anonymity'. It is my opinion that strong
authentication and the lack of anonymity are the keys to improved privacy
online. Only with strong authentication can consumers and services be held
accountable for behavior online.
From: The EDUCAUSE Security Constituent Group Listserv
[mailto:SECURITY () LISTSERV EDUCAUSE EDU] On Behalf Of Jeffrey Sabin
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 2:24 PM
To: SECURITY () LISTSERV EDUCAUSE EDU
Subject: [SECURITY] TOR and the Digital Freedom Conversation
Given the wider US technology community discussions on online privacy and
monitoring - this seems to be very topical. In case anyone was not aware,
this story is taking place at Iowa State University with Tor being a
relevant part of the discussion:
Realizing that this isn't necessarily new, but given this recent story, I am
curious to know what others are doing or observing as it relates to Tor and
it's discussion at your particular institution.
Jeffrey D. Sabin
DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS AND NETWORK SERVICES
2507 University Avenue Des Moines, Iowa 50311-4505
E-mail jeff.sabin () drake edu
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