Recently we had some interesting posts over the right to privacy. Both discussions hinged on the extent we believe the government has the right, under our Constitutional system, to invade our sacred homes in order to achieve its own purposes.
What was completely overlooked in those discussions were other threats to privacy from private individuals or companies. The structure of the modern PC is that it is an environment entirely based on trust. When users install software, the software generally has access to the entire hard drive, to all of the information stored on the hard drive, and can in principle do whatever it wants on the computer, including spying on the users. The presumption has been that if the software comes from well-known sources we can trust it not to spy on us and invade our privacy. Two recent stories indicate that such trust may be misplaced.
The stories of Russian mafia surreptitiously placing spyware on people's systems in order to grab their credit card numbers and bank account numbers are bad enough. We don't want the government snooping into our personal lives. Do we want to hand over our privacy to well-known multinational corporations instead, without our consent or knowledge?