Privacy and your ISP

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by Mover, Nov 22, 2006.

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  1. Mover

    Mover Registered Member

    I came across this quote from an old thread.

    So how do you guys try to manage and keep as much of your surfing habits, information sent, received, etc from your ISP ?
  2. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    I'm not keeping it away from my ISP. I don't care if they know what I do. Somewhere, someone, someday - will have a log of my surfing, so it may as well be my ISP.
  3. [suave]

    [suave] Registered Member

    I think it's an invasion of privacy.

    Don't we all, as humans, have the right to privacy?

    I'm no lawyer, but isn't what they are doing unconstitutional?

    Although I can see how it can be a good thing when it comes to investigations and things like that. But still... it doesn't feel right.

    Who has access to this information anyways?
  4. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert


    Unconstitutional - applies only to countries with constitution and then maybe.
    Privacy - don't use Internet.

    BTW, your phone calls are logged, your electricity usage is monitored, your credit card use is logged, what you watch on cables TV is logged - everything is traced somewhere. Think of Internet services as a hotel. If you were providing it to someone, wouldn't you want to know what happens. You need to log the traffic for many reasons - maintenance, statistics, law, insurance etc.

    As long as you aware of this, you will know what to share when and where and whom with. Furthermore, if you intend to use Internet for things that you do not want to be known in public, then you are probably doing stuff that is not quite ... right. Take porn for example. Do you have problem with people knowing that you download and watch porn? If you do, Internet is not for you, even though many people happily live in denial with this fact.

    I, for one, do things online as morally as I would do them in direct contact with people, meaning I would not deny things publicly and do them "in secret" online. Full transparency will keep you "safer".

    Real privacy does not exist online.

  5. Mover

    Mover Registered Member

    You have a right to privacy. If its right or wrong wasn't the topic
  6. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    You cannot expect privacy when you use 10-20 services along the way - and are expected to pay for them. Privacy does not mean lack of knowledge. Privacy means not abusing it. Your doctor knows your illnesses. But he does not disclose them to everyone. That's privacy. The same goes for ISP. They will not go about and spread lists of the sites you visit. If they did, that would be the breach of privacy. BTW, no one forces you to use Internet.
  7. mercurie

    mercurie A Friendly Creature

    This is pretty close to what I was going to post.

    I would add that the data collected is attached to your IP address (not Fred Smith went here on the internet at 7:30 A.M. some date) and that you are one "line" that is being data collected out of thousands. You are a speck of sand on a beach unless you attract attention for some reason. Your ISP "tracked" (to strong but for lack of a better word) surf habits are basically unobserved. It is just collected data sitting somewhere until someone asks for it. Later if needed your name or customer account can be matched to your IP address. And they better have a good reason to look at it. Not just anyone will have access to it.
  8. bryanjoe

    bryanjoe Registered Member

    why u want privacy?

    lately in my country, there is this a internet scam, those interested in the products transfer $$ to him, but didnt receive the goods. this bugger used various proxies thinking he can escape. he even posted asking them to "catch me if u can".

    got catch within 2 weeks... lol ..
    stupid idiot.:isay:
  9. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

    If you use something as public as the Internet you should have no expectations of privacy. any information transmited electronicaly is going to be logged somewhere. If you are not engaged in anything illegal it shouldn't really bother you all that much since privacy is something that actually disapeared with the electronics age and almost everything you have done for quite a few years is recorded somewhere. Everytime you leave your house to go to the store you are probably caught on at least a dozen surveilance cameras. For better or worse we are victims of our own technology.

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2006
  10. Mover

    Mover Registered Member

    Lack of privacy can lead to identity and a host of other problems. Thats why people go to great lengths in court to eliminate fingerprint records held by the police.

    Anyway, I wasn't looking into having privacy opinions here although it seems thats what most people want to talk about instead of the topic that I originally posted.

    Interesting discussion took place in this thread that I found isps
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2006
  11. MikeNash

    MikeNash Security Expert

    Hi BigC,

    I have to take issue with the "not engaged in anything illegal it shouldn't bother you that much" argument.

    On the assumption that you are not engaged in anything illegal, could you please post a copy of:

    * An unedited list of your favourites from IE (or firefox, if you prefer)
    --> Any porn sites in there? Not illegal, of course.

    * A copy of each email (not spam) you have sent or received in the last 6 weeks from any email account you use
    --> So, you think bill from accounts is an asshole, huh? AND the Eunarch support mailing list. Your mother in law did WHAT with the vicar??! My my. Not illegal, of course...

    * An interesting PM's you have sent/received.
    --> No comment here :)

    * A copy of a recent bank and credit card statement
    --> You have HOW much money, and you're spending it all WHERE>!>!!?!?! (Not that it's illegal of course)

    * Your telephone bill
    --> Who is that strange woman you keep calling? And why do you make a regular Friday lunchtime call to a gay brothel? (Not that it's illegal of course)

    Of course, that's not a serious request - and I don't for a moment believe that you in particular are in any way likely to have a mistress (male or otherwise) - but the point is that none of those things are illegal yet if your privacy was not respected any of these issues could cause you a problem.

    I seem to recall a story where AOL disclosed something to the US military about homosexuals in the ranks... and that they were dismissed.. of course, homosexuality is not illegal in the US either - but it could get you drummed out of your local church too....

    If you transact with everyone you *should* have a reasonable expectation of privacy. I expect you not to publically disclose my email address, or my password. I expect that if I PM a moderator, the contents of that PM will not be disclosed. The fact that it's technically possible for Wilders admins to read my PM's does not mean that they *do* (and before that draws this thread O/T - they don't, they won't it's been discussed before)

    I think Mrk summed it up nicely:

    So - while I personally don't give a hoot that my ISP can technically monitor every site I visit, I do expect them not to disclose it and I would get upset if this information was sold or diseminated by my ISP - regardless of whether or not I am doing anything illegal.

  12. tony62

    tony62 Registered Member

    Words of wisdom there my friend!!
  13. Genady Prishnikov

    Genady Prishnikov Registered Member

    Very well said! I HATE that "I have nothing to hide" argument. Would you let someone walk into your home and rifle through your desk drawers? If not, why not? After all, you have nothing to hide! The same goes for phone calls made in your home and the Internet sites you visit and the data on your computer in your home. The defeatist attitude towards privacy is the same as saying we know longer have freedom to come and go as we please without monitoring and surveillance in everything we do. In my old Russian homeland, the former Soviet Union, this was routine and the western nations rightly screamed loudly and called it totalitarian. Today, they accept the same in their own countries with barely a whimper. It is the possibility of MISUSE of information that should keep you wanting to fight for privacy of your own life and your own information, whether electronic or not. Please, don't ever say "privacy is gone". Privacy is the very hallmark of freedom. Unless you have experienced life without it, maybe you can't appreciate its importance.
  14. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

    I just contacted my ISP (a local business downtown) and asked whether or not he had access through his office computer to the data you list, and the privacy of each:

    No access.

    In his case, No; all email and URLs are deleted each night. No records are kept.
    If emails were stored, nothing would ever be revealed except under court order.

    No access.

    No access

    No access.


    Except for emails, the scenarios you list aren't relevant to 'Privacy and your ISP.'

    I also think that your [--> comments] are not becoming of a person wanting to achieve status and respect as a product developer.


  15. Genady Prishnikov

    Genady Prishnikov Registered Member

    Rich: I think you took his post wrong. I took it as being hypothetical and the "you" he was speaking of was not actually meant for BigC, or to suggest he actually visits sites as he described. It was a response to a post with real life types of situations where things might want to be kept private yet the information one might want to keep private is not illegal. At least that's how I took it. I found it made its point well, and even disagreeing I am guessing BigC will probably see it similarly and not take it like Mike meant it personally in any way. It's stretching it a little far over the top to think it's something that would/should damage his respect as a software developer.
  16. tony62

    tony62 Registered Member

    Doesn't it depend largely on country, where your ISP is located?

    America being the worst in world for a users rights in privacy?
  17. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

    Privacy = Freedom

    Just try to use secure encrypted connections wherever possible.
    And if possible, encrypt the contents of the communication as well.
    Enigmail for Thunderbird is outstanding.
    Use the strongest encryption that is practical for your system.
    Set your browser to prompt for cookies and only allow per session cookies where you need them.
    Purge your temp internet files often/occasionally.
    Using encrypted proxies like TOR, JAP, or other SOCKS and SSH proxies, you can set up the DNS to be looked up only at the exit node of the tunnel, so your ISP won't have a record of the DNS lookup or the traffic contents.
    Only the ISP for the exit node will have the DNS record matched to the IP of the exit node.
  18. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

    Yes, probably, not counting totalitarian governments.
    But the UK has it pretty bad too from what I've read.
  19. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

    That may be. Nonetheless, I stand by my remark about the inappropriateness of such comments - I should add, not becoming of anyone.

    Take the phone bill for example: it doesn't matter what is listed in a phone record, it is private and is no one's business unless subpoenaed under court order. So, why make a silly speculation as to what the contents of it might be?

    However, as I stated, none of this (except for emails) applies to the topic of this thread, which I am very interested in, and wish that posts would get back on the topic.

    I don't worry about it.

    I have discussed privacy at length with my ISP - a local company. The owner considers all the information that an ISP has access to, to be private, and does not store such information.

    If you are concerned about how your ISP handles your information, call and find out. You may want to change how you access the internet. See here:

    Consumer Watch: Is Your ISP Helping the Feds Spy on You?,126733-page,1-c,privacylegislation/article.html

    AOL's search screw-up should be more than just another wake-up call.,126783-page,1-c,privacylegislation/article.html

    In addition, we need to be vigilant and monitor any legislation; for example, any that would require ISPs to collect private information on behalf of the government. Or such that would give agencies access to this information without a warrant.


    Last edited: Nov 24, 2006
  20. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

    Rmus: i think you should pay attention to the entire text of a post, before making erronious conclusions. He never said anything inappropriate. It was obviously a hypothesis, a scenario, not directed at BigC. He was trying to make his point about privacy.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2006
  21. mercurie

    mercurie A Friendly Creature

    BigC made a good point..."any information transmited electronicaly is going to be logged somewhere." Even if not internet accessible it is on some pc hard drive or main frame hard drive some place just waiting for a crook or unethical clown to abuse their information access privileges. :(

    Keep a close eye on your situation. I for one am a big fan of credit report freezes. The banking lobby is fighting tooth and nail to prevent such freezes. It is going to eventually happen I think it is only a question of when. The sooner the better. Do support those who support this. ;) I am drifting a little off topic, but we are talking about privacy which the lack there of can lead to theft of ones good name and much :oops: :oops: .

    Here is a little more on that if you are interested. Read on down to the part about "freezes", but I found the whole thing of interest.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2006
  22. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

    Hi mercurie,

    /OffTopic on/

    I agree with you, but don't count on it any time soon. The consumer finance industry is the single biggest lobby in Washington. It dwarfs the oil industry and wields unbelievable power. As shown in your linked article, they are actively blocking this type of legislation so you cannot proactively freeze your credit unless you have already been victimized, if at all.

    Here is an article if you want to learn more about what is really going on:
    Secret History of the Credit Card

    /OffTopic off/
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2006
  23. Smokey

    Smokey Registered Member


    very true, and very well said.

    I can't imagine any useful addition to it: all what you said is real and correct.
  24. MikeNash

    MikeNash Security Expert

    Hi Rmus,

    I think you've misinterpreted my comments here. My comment was not that an ISP could have access to this data, but really a way of illustrating my disagreement with the "Nothing to hide" argument.

    The idea was to illustrate that some things which are perfectly legal you may wish to hide. By the very nature of such an illustration, I deliberately needed to pick some topics that might be sensitive. This seems to have caused you offense. If so, well, I'm obviously sorry you're upset by it but I stand by the remarks.

    And yes, they were NOT directed at BigC in *any* way personally in case it wasn't blindingly obvious from my original post.

    At the risk of further inflaming you, let me comment further:

    1) The phone bill comment.
    I used to work for a major mobile phone company, and we used to have customers ring up *screaming* at us if we sent an itemised bill. Why? Because, quite simply their wife had seen a number she didn't like (mistress, too many calls to a close female friend, whatever) on the itemised bill. In one case, we had someone call up threatening legal action over it. Now, it may be perfectly legal to call your female friend at 4pm every day on your mobile phone, but if you're up to no good you want to hide it - legal or not.

    2) A list of favorites
    Well, that's straightforward enough. People (clearly!) have different beliefs and values. What one person (deeply Christian) may find abhorrent a less religious person might enjoy (and, vice versa, probably). If someone were to see the sites you browse or enjoy it tells them a lot about you - and maybe its things they don't need or want to know (regardless of legality). Politics, Sex, Religion - your preference or belief may be legal, but if your boss knew you believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and he himself was a devout Muslim, it could get you fired.

    3) Interesting PMS/Emails
    Meant to illustrate that personal communication - the PM that a moderator sends someone saying "Hey, calm down" , or the guy sends to the moderator "Hey, this guy's a jerk" - while not illegal you would like to hide them.

    You hide things every day. It's like the guy that comes home from work and when his wife asks "Do these jeans make my butt look big?" and he replies with "No, it's all the chocolate you eat that makes your butt look big". Watch the movie "Liar Liar" with Jim Carey as a case in point. Or read your own emails (generic you, not Rmus you) and see for yourself if you would like everybody to read the content of them.

    4) Bank and Credit card statement
    Well, Nobody deserves or needs to know how, or on what I spend my money (or yours) or how much of it you have. But, if it were suddenly publically disclosed that I had a $50M bank account (I wish, I wish) then perhaps I'd hear from old friends, scam merchants. Either way, people would think differently of me - except of course if I kept this information secret. Not that having a large amount of money is illegal - but you or I may wish to hide it for perfectly legitimate reasons. Similarly, how you spend your money. What if you make a regular donation to a charity or cause that I don't like? What if we're good friends and you don't want me to think less of you (despite the fact that if we're really good friends, that's a non-argument). What if you have a painful, embarassing condition that is being treated? Do you want people to know about it?

    Lastly - if you send data over an ISP's network unencrypted, it *can* be logged and it *can* be read. It doesn't mean it will be, so the rest of your comments (except favorites and the likelihood that banking stuff is not done in the clear!) are incorrect. YOUR ISP doesn't do it, and takes pains to delete it. Great. But technically it can be accomplished.

    But, in the same vein I could technically go out this afternoon and whack someone over the head with a golf club (I have one, everyone has a head, I can swing it) - but it doesn't mean I am going to or likely to. In fact I'd wager that only a small proportion of golf clubs are used for whacking people over the head, despite the technical feasibility of such an event being able to occur.

    Well, I'm sorry you feel that way. I try to use humor to illustrate my points because it makes things less dry and easier to get the point over.

  25. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

    You take issue with what i stated but it is a fact that all of the information about anything you do in or through public utilities which include the internet, telephones, Teller machines or just about anything else you can mention is recorded and logged. And no I don't particularly like that it is being done but the chances of getting it stopped are somewhere between you winning the lottery or a snow ball surviving in hell. I know when not to beat my head against a wall. I just try to keep my trackable records clean. If you figure a way to prevent the tracking and logging of all of this info please share it with the rest of us.

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