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May 2009

Bruce Schneier and Marcus Ranum Face-Off: Should We Have an Expectation of Online Privacy?

Point: Marcus Ranum In a recent court decision, a Canadian judge ruled that Internet users have no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to warrantless collection of subscriber/IP address information from a suspected child pornographer's ISP. Couple that with the Bush administration's cheerful bypassing of warrants for wiretaps against U.S. citizens, and those are just two of the more public instances we've heard of where privacy has been trampled. (There's no need to mention the many governments that don't hesitate for a second to collect whatever information they can regarding their citizens' activities.) Does this mean that the notion of online privacy is in jeopardy? From the beginning, online privacy was probably more of a goal than a reality -- a goal that was near and dear to a few technologically sophisticated users: the Cypherpunks, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Everyone else either assumed their actions were private, or didn't really care. Indeed, most people's lives really aren't worth looking at, ...

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