A CEO of a major software company declares “You have zero privacy, get over it.” The FTC in response states “Millions of American consumers tell us that privacy is a grave concern to them when they are thinking about shopping online.”

Do you agree? Is privacy dead? Do you share your “status” on Facebook? Twitter? privacy Have a MySpace page? Blog? Post your family photos on any of the above or on Flicker?

The statement “You have zero privacy, get over it.” Was made by former chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems Scott McNealy in 1999. That’s 10 years ago. Before the phrase “social networking” or “blog” was a word.

Here we are in a post McNealy world. Try to disagree, but what he said is 100 times truer today than it was 10 years ago. And when you ask 100 people if they are concerned about online privacy, they all chime in with a big loud angry YES! Then 10 of them hypocritically tell you on their Facebook page they are going on vacation. Which means the lights are off and no-ones home.

It’s not just web users voluntarily giving up their privacy, its also corporations and government agencies gathering data as a form of intelligence. This data might be used to sell you something or be used to protect us in the form of Homeland Security.

It can also be sold to someone else. “Information Brokers” sell our data to anyone with a credit card. One of the largest publicly traded information brokers in the world is a company called ChoicePoint. Last stat I saw informationbroker was they had 19 billion records on file. And one of their biggest customers was the US Government. They sell background checks. Any responsible corporation should do a background check so they aren’t bringing the enemy into their organization.

The point is your data on some level is for sale. So even if you don’t tell the world you just made a tuna sangy on Facebook, chances are where you last lived and what your phone number or even your anonymous chat handle may be found on Zabasearch.com or iSearch.com

If you ever committed a felony your data may be on CriminalSearches.com

Heck, just Google yourself.

If you are reading this you are participating in society. The price you creditcards1 pay is giving up your personal identifying information in order to get an internet connection, credit, drive a car, medical attention, and go to school or buy a pair of shoes.

All this makes it very easy for criminal hackers to commit identity theft. They use all this available data to become you. So while your data is out there, invest in identity theft protection and make sure your PC is up to date with anti-virus protection.

While many citizens scream against Big Brother and corporate America abusing their trust, many will give up all their privacy for ten percent off a new pair of shoes.

Great read “You Have Zero Privacy — Enjoy It!” from Mike Spinny
Great read “Cyberwar’s first casualty: Your privacy” from Preston Gralla

Robert Siciliano identity theft expert discussing background checks

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