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[personal profile] tonyajot
I pondered long and hard before broaching this subject. There are public concerns, however, that I believe outweigh my misgivings. No matter how much you may think you trust a loved one, there are some sensible precautions that you can take. (And yes, just taking some of these steps could indicate a crack in that trust's foundation, but sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry.)

1. Never allow anyone no matter how long-lived the relationship or how deep the trust to EVER take compromising photographs or videos of you. The fact is, that relationships do end, and even if they don't, you have no control over where or in whose hands they end up. If you've already made this mistake, do not be naive enough to believe that the pictures have been deleted or that the video has been erased. These are convenient excuses. If you don't mind that you might end up with an embarrassing photo somewhere you never intended it to be, then you can ignore this warning completely.

2. Technology is outpacing the law so fast that it just can't keep up. When you are talking about spousal or other close relationships, the lines are blurred even further. There are now cameras so small that even the tiniest of pin-pricks make them difficult to detect. Whether you are doing something worth spying on or not, remember that a joint reisdence in particular affords you NO legal protection whatsoever in regards to your rights to privacy. Video from these cameras can be set up to transmit wirelessly to off-site computers or telephones and is often A quality and sometime in living color with audio. Be forewarned. It isn't just Big Brother who is watching you these days.

3. Computer worms are tricky little buggers, some exist that no anti-viral software will pick up, particularly if the person you trust is also the one who helps you with your 'I.T.' issues. Some worms are sophisticated enough to detect every single keystroke you enter on your keyboard, they can track every website visited, every e-mail or diary entry. This doesn't even need to BE a loved one. Absolute strangers can access great quantities of highly personal information, including health records, DVD rentals, etc., using nothing more than your I.P. address. There is little to be done with this phenomenon until the law catches up. What you can do is get a very good anti-viral program and learn how to maintain it yourself. I recommend Trend Micro, formerly known as PC-Cillin. Keep your anti=viral updated regularly and do scans at least once a day, if not more. When downloadng any software, pictures, e-mails, or games, be sure that you don't accidentally agree to change something in your system's registry. This is crucial, because once your system's registry has been corrupted, you have left yourself virtually wide-open for this and many even more malicious attacks.

4. People will tell you that you can't have your phone line tapped. Those people would be wrong. Worse yet, if the person you've trusted lives in the same residence as you, they are perfectly within their legal rights to record any and all incoming and outgoing phone calls from that residence. There are devices on the market that can do this and do it very cheaply. If you suspect your phone is being tapped by someone with access to your interior or exterior phone lines, insist on having a phone company respesentative come out and inspect the entire phone system, from where the wires enter the house to where they meet in the interior junction box.

5. Other people will tell you that it is impossible for someone to remotely redirect outgoing calls from your cordless telephone. This is also patently untrue. While the products that can do this are very much more expensive than those previously mentioned, they do exist. An example would be, if you went to call 911 for assistance, but instead reach a grocery store. You hit redial and reach a bait and tackle shop. To the best of my knowledge there is no way to counter an attack such as this. 6. Spoofing/Static I.P. Addresses - Many households share one static I.P. address. What this means to you, is that your spouse or trusted loved one can do virtually anything in your name and you will have not one scintilla of proof that you were not the one who did it. This can set you up for financial, legal, or emotional hardships in the long run. If anyone out there has figured a way around this, I would be gratified to hear it. As it stands, this is one of the most terrifying bit for many of us. A person could theoretically visit a bunch of kiddie-porn sites, using your computer virtually with your I.P. address and leave you to face the consequences. This is serious stuff, folks.

Warning signs:

1. The person in question mentions casually something you only spoke aloud to yourself while in an empty house.

2. The person in question asks questions about a private telephone conversation that you had when he/she was not present and the conversation has not been brought up by you.

3. The person in question suddenly takes a dislike or insists that you cut communication off with an online friend or group, to which he has never been exposed to or introduced to.

4. The person in question asks leading questions as to how you spent your day and then questions something that you forgot to mention or even intentionally ommitted. For example: "Did you phone for that insurance quote today like I asked you to?" "Yes, I did. I'll get an answer soon."
"You did NOT! They put you on hold and you gave up after only a few minutes!"

5. You suddenly receive a gift that you never mentioned wanting to anyone other than a friend that the other person has little or no knowledge of and upon querying the friend, he/she disavows all knowledge.

Ask yourself, if the person that you have placed your trust in could have come by such knowledge in any other way and if the answer is 'no', please use sensible precautions. At the very best they are violating YOUR trust by such underhanded methods and the very worst they are extremely controlling and potentially violent when crossed. If you do find such intrusive invasions of privacy - do NOT confront him/her about it. Suggest counseling or leave immediately and get to a safe location. There is no telling how someone will react to being caught out like this, for some this invasion of privay is an addiction. ANd this is absolutely crucial - NEVER ingore the situation. It can lead to years of what is tantamount to living in a prison where everything you say or do is monitored at all times and you are never free to do or say aything that may end up on his/her surveillance equipment. We live in a very technological age. As such, we must do better at passing legislation to protect ourselves and our loved ones from such privacy invasions and we must arm ourselves with the knowledge of just what tools are out there that may be being used against us. My two cents.
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tonyajot

January 2011

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