Message deleted in 3,2,1.

 

I’m a huge fan of watching TV-series and my favorite one at the moment is the award winning Mr. Robot[1]. It’s probably the best TV show with the worst name that I’ve seen lately. Long story short; Mr. Robot is about a hacker with a lot of social issues. Good thing about the series is that it is very up to date and incorporates big happenings from the real world in its storyline. So often speeches from Obama appear and even Donald Trump has also already made his appearance. Since the main storyline is about a hacker of course privacy is a big theme. Technology plays a big role in the series and a lot of the fans like to check for facts, fortunately the show has its knowledge on point and the used techniques seem to be pretty accurate.

The show critiques the current social media culture and I can relate to that, people don’t seem to care about their own privacy anymore since companies like Facebook ‘already know anything’. This is a bad attitude and it turns out that even in this time of the internet of things and online communication you can hide your own social appearance up until certain levels.

There are some companies that share this opinion and who made apps that put your privacy first. Snapchat is a good example of an app that protects your messages towards intruders. However, this app isn’t protecting your data from the ‘big bad organisations’ like the NSA. The people in Mr. Robot are aware of that and so they use software like ProtonMail[2] and Wickr[3] to communicate. You’ve probably never heard of these services but they are huge in the niche market that needs the privacy. However, these apps only stay huge until the next thing comes by, which makes them microtrends. These microtrends belongs to the mesotrend (online) privacy under the megatrend of technology.

So let’s have a closer look at Wickr, an app/service that can be seen as Snapchat for grown-ups[4]. To begin with their encrypting service, which uses multiple layers of military standard encryptions.[5] The app is will never be the mainstream trend like Snapchat is but in certain industries Wickr has become the standard. It has been around for some years now and it is still one of the favourite apps used by people who value their privacy. This a sign that the service may be on the end of its trend life cycle. Encrypting techniques get outdated and so does the app. Updates may prevent this but at a certain moment an app becomes too big and then it will become an interesting target for hackers. Also do apps like these get negative reputations since they are often used by criminals as well[6]. They value their own privacy a lot when it comes to their communication.

Soon there will be a new company announcing a great new communication service with even more security and discrecy. But dedicaded hackers will always be able to encrypt codes, even if it’s multiple layers. Not a single app or service will ever be 100% hackerproof. So does that mean we just have to accept the fact privacy doesn’t exist anymore?

 

Written by Koen Bouman 1637728

 

[1] Mr. Robot. Retrieved on 19-09-2016 from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4158110/?ref_=nv_sr_1

[2] ProtonMail. Retrieved on 19-09-2016 from https://protonmail.com

[3] Wickr. Retrieved on 19-09-2016 from https://www.wickr.com

[4] Wickr: Can the Snapchat for Grown-Ups Save You From Spies? Retrieved on 19-09-2016 from http://mashable.com/2013/03/04/wickr/#HtUezcy4AOqh

[5] Wickr Brings Secure Messaging And Snapchat-like Message Destruction To Android. Retrieved on 19-09-2016 from http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/wickr-brings-secure-messaging-and-snapchat-like-message-destruction-to-android/

[6] Queensland drug dealers using messaging app Wickr. Retrieved on 19-09-2016 from http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-drug-dealers-using-messaging-app-wickr-20150811-giwn5o.html

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5 thoughts on “Message deleted in 3,2,1.

  1. All of the companies we used have “terms and conditions” documents that pretty much none of us read. In effect everyone that uses these technologies has signed away their privacy yet we still see people saying that they want more privacy. What gives? I think we’ve clearly reached a point in today’s world where privacy is pretty much a lost cause. Our information is already out there and regardless of how hard we scream that we want it back or want it to be secure, it’s not going to happen…ever. If anything we are seeing a shift towards more openness, more transparency, and less privacy.

    It seems like going forward we have two choices. We can either accept that privacy is dead and that we now live in an open world or we can challenge this notion and continue to fight for privacy. I think the second option seems to be a bit of a paradox though. What’s scary is that we’ve gotten to a point where many of the things we do and the tools we use are such a big part of our lives that we HAVE to use them today. Are you really going to delete your Facebook account, stop using Google, no longer buy products online, or ditch your iPhone? No, you’re not because everyone else that you know on this planet is using those same things as well. So, I think we have to accept the fact privacy doesn’t exist anymore!!

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  2. Hi!

    Wicks sounds like an amazing app, never heard of it before!
    Well, do we just have to accept the fact that privacy doesn’t exist anymore? Yes i guess so. Us as users of the internet have non to little privacy, but the online criminals do! for example; providers are no longer forced to keep data that could be used for tracking down criminals.

    The most interesting story about this subject i believe is the one from Krik Bailey. Bailey as a computer specialist was curious about privacy online. He asked a few of his co-workers to do some research on him. They were put to the task to find out as much about Bailey as they could. Two rules: the law can not be broken and nobody can contact his relatives. (Roelofs,2000) So they did.

    By using just the internet they figured out that he was born with a c-section, the value of his house. they could look in to his phone bills and they even knew to figure out his grades for English in University. (Frontline, 2001)
    Of course the people who did this were computer specialist, a person who is not that much in computers probably couldn’t get this much information but still, it scares me.

    But the question now is, what can we do about it? The question i would like to ask: would you totally quit every kind of Social Media to maintain some privacy?

    Emmie van de Bunt

    Frontline. (2001). Interview: Kirk Bailey. Consulted on 20-9-2016 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/hackers/interviews/bailey.html

    Roelofs, R. (2000, 2 februari). Online privacy bestaat niet. Consulted on 20-9-2016 http://www.emerce.nl/nieuws/online-privacy-bestaat-niet

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  3. Does that mean we just have to accept the fact privacy doesn’t exist anymore?

    I don’t think we should accept all of that. There are a lot of ways to not accept it, but then we have the problem that the thing we want to do doesn’t work: ‘because you didn’t accept the privacy conditions’.

    A colleague of mine knows a lot about privacy. He tells me al the time that I shouldn’t use WhatsApp, instead I need to go use Telegram. Whatsapp really breaches your privacy, he says. There are a lot of ways to get around those privacy conditions. But it isn’t easy. We need to download and use other apps and when that gets popular I think we already need to chose another one because they change the conditions again.

    I think the law around privacy conditions should be stricter, but I think the government won’t to that because it also effects them.

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  4. Not a single app or service will ever be 100% hackerproof. So does that mean we just have to accept the fact privacy doesn’t exist anymore?

    We should not accept that privacy doesn’t really exist anymore. It might be almost impossible to keep things 100% private these days, but we shouldn’t turn into sheep who just accept things as they are. It is important to spread awareness about privacy and make sure that people realise that certain services that seem free, like Gmail, are not that ‘free’ after all.

    I think that hackerproof and privacy are two different things and not that related. It might be impossible to keep things 100% hackerproof, but this type of privacy breach is different than Google. A hacker decides to consciously break into your systems and looks for certain details. We use Gmail because it is nice and for free, but we don’t realise how much data gets stored and/or sold. If we google a certain item in a shop, we just accept the fact that it shows up in the advertisements later. It is just part of the deal.

    Evgeny Morozov is a writer and a researcher who looks into the dark side of the internet. We may have the feeling that the internet gives us infinite freedom, the opposite is quite true as well. Especially since a few big businesses are tracking down all our information. There is no alternative for Google, nor is anyone trying to develop it. Whole governments are depending on it and we seem to accept that we have less privacy. We should not accept it.

    – Cashmyra Rozendaal

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  5. Does that mean we just have to accept the fact privacy doesn’t exist anymore?
    I don’t think we should accept all of that. There are a lot of ways to not accept it, but then we have the problem that the thing we want to do doesn’t work: ‘because you didn’t accept the privacy conditions’.
    A colleague of mine knows a lot about privacy. He tells me al the time that I shouldn’t use WhatsApp, instead I need to go use Telegram. Whatsapp really breaches your privacy, he says. But if I take a look at the internet of the safety between these two, I see a lot of different results. For example, on PCM web (Hofmans, 2015) they say that it is extremely unsafe to have your own privacy policy. But then again iCulture (iCulture, 2015) says that there isn’t a really big difference between the two. And then again another says something else (Telegram versus Whatsapp, 2016).

    If you take a look at researches done on Wickr you also see that not everybody is sure about the security and privacy of this app. The technical point of view is safe according to revieuws (Quora, 2016). But the fact that the app isn’t open source means that we can’t see if it is all true. Besides that, there is another app that also seems to be popular and is open source (Perez, 2016).

    What I’m trying to say is: You just never know for sure.
    Every app and every advertisement has its on pro’s and cons, but in the end the are all trying the same. They try to sell it to you in the best way. Eventually we need to download and use other apps and when that gets popular, I think we already need to chose another one because they changed the privacy conditions again or some brand comes up with a better theory and story about the privacy.

    So yes, I think eventually privacy is already disappeared. I think the law around privacy conditions should be stricter and I hope that that would make a difference. But the government also likes the benefits of it. What do you think, can the government make a bigger change?

    Sources
    Hofmans, T. (2015, 01 01). Veilige Whatsapp kloon Telegram, verre van veilig . Opgeroepen op 01 04, 2016, van PCM Web: http://www.pcmweb.nl/nieuws/veilige-whatsapp-kloon-telegram-verre-van-veilig.html
    iCulture. (2015, 11 08). Telegram overstappen Whatsapp. Opgeroepen op 01 04, 2017, van iCulture: http://www.iculture.nl/gids/telegram-overstappen-whatsapp/
    Perez, K. (2016, 03 04). Secure messaging scorecard. Opgeroepen op 01 04, 2017, van White Rose: https://www.whiterose.us/eff-secure-messaging-scorecard/
    Quora. (2016, 04 01). How safe is Wickr. Opgeroepen op 01 04, 2017, van Quora: https://www.quora.com/How-safe-is-Wickr
    Telegram versus Whatsapp. (2016, 03 8). Opgeroepen op 01 04, 2017, van Prepaid simkaart: https://www.prepaidsimkaart.net/telegram-versus-whatsapp

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