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 11:38:01 -0600
Case 2 was meant to illustrate a point, not as an exclusive "it is only
useful in this case". In point of fact, what you are describing simply
underscores the necessity of methods of maintaining anonymity in the
face of increasing surveillance.
On 12/11/2013 08:46 AM, Joel L. Rosenblatt wrote:
I would argue that your Case 2 example is no longer valid in many cases -
citing the lady who lost her ticket and was tracked using video footage of
her buying the ticket sold at that time - I know it's not exactly the same
(she did use a credit card, but that was used to verify her identity after
then found her - it was $50 million that they handed her)
It is becoming increasingly difficult to "go off the grid" or ever hide
from the grid.
My 2 cents
Joel Rosenblatt, Director Network & Computer Security
Columbia Information Security Office (CISO)
Columbia University, 612 W 115th Street, NY, NY 10025 / 212 854 3033
Public PGP key
On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 9:27 AM, Tim Doty <tdoty () mst edu> wrote:
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
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
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
authentication and the lack of anonymity are the keys to improved privacy
online. Only with strong authentication can consumers and services be
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
curious to know what others are doing or observing as it relates to Tor
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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