US cryptographer sounds alarm over security

A top US cryptographer has warned that your internet connection might be grassing you up to every spook with access to a database.

Bruce Schneier, who penned the book Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World, said that advances within the security industry means that spooks no longer have to directly tap your phone to work out what you are doing.

Writting for CNN, he cited the cases where experienced computer users were able to be identified because the FBI could correlate data from lots of different sources.

Paula Broadwell, who was embroiled in an affair scandal with former CIA director David Petraeus, never logged in to her anonymous e-mail service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him.  But the FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels and found the common name.

Schneier said everything we do now involves computer data which is being saved and correlated. Big data companies make money by building up intimate profiles of our lives from lots of different places.

This makes the internet a surveillance tool which is hard to avoid.  He said that whatever steps are used to prevent this, such as searching from mobiles rather than computers, or using an alias on Facebook, none of it matters.

There are just too many ways to be tracked online to effectively cover your tracks, he said.

Whether we like it or not we are living in a world where a multinational like Google knows what type of porn you like and a mobile phone company knows exactly where you are all the time.