This week Sarah Gordon, senior research fellow at Symantec, warns that your personal information is on the web for anyone to see - and you've probably put it there yourself.
Do you remember when we made most of our transactions with cash, making them, for the most part, untraceable?
No one would know if you purchased three gallons of milk or a bottle of champagne. There were no Radio Frequency Identity Tags attached to anything, and public records - if they existed at all - were on paper and had to be manually searched.
This made the process of inference (determining classified information from a large number of unclassified records) quite difficult and very time consuming.
Most corporate communications were carried out via postal mail or in face-to-face meetings, and confidential documents were held in locked filing cabinets.
Technology has changed everything.
Data mining makes the process of inference cheap and easy. Websites and software can be designed to collect and use your data without your knowledge.
Email can be intercepted and read by various sorts of people, ranging from hackers to those with an interest in corporate activities.
Viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware export confidential data on a regular basis. A quick search for '[Company Name] Confidential' in any search engines will reveal just how many companies have forsaken the filing cabinet for the (not so secure) file system.
The fact is, once it's out there, your information can be sold to the highest bidder. And all too often you even help, by providing the information.
You may want to have control over disclosure of information about yourself and your transactions, but you aren't taking practical (and in many cases, free) steps to protect that privacy.
Let's take website privacy policies. They disclose what might be done with information you provide - name, address, e-mail address, browser/system information, buying habits.
Most organisations have privacy policies, but few people have read their own let alone those of all websites they visit.
Many of the same people say they also do not always read the licensing agreements of software before installing it - the agreements that let people know if the software may export any information to third parties.
It gets worse: an alarming number of people do not always encrypt sensitive emails before sending them.
We're not talking about just love poems or secret family recipes here; we're talking about sensitive corporate communications and various forms of proprietary information.
This all points to one fundamental question: why do we not do the things we know we are supposed to do?
Maybe we don't believe that what we do - or do not do - can make that much difference. Maybe we think no harm will be done if we click on that email just to see if it might really show us how to gain/lose weight, or read about someone's secrets.
Maybe we think that because we're using antivirus software and keeping our systems patched and up to date, that unusual website can't do any real harm.
Maybe we're only doing what we're told when we send that confidential data out in clear text, to meet a deadline or please the boss.
People tend to do what they think they are supposed to do. So perhaps despite the fact we all claim privacy is important, we don't really believe it.
If we do believe it, maybe its time to re-examine the culture of security and the practices we promote, for example, within our own organisations.
After all, it is not just important for security professionals to be aware of privacy issues and act sensibly, but all IT users in organisations.
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