English Islam Privacy Religion

Head Scarves? Islamic Veils? What about Western Trousers…

It is always amusing to see how much debate can be generated by a single piece of cloth (“Much ado about head scarves“, IHT, Feb 19).

But what I find even more amusing, is to hear in those debates opinions expressed by men in the “civilized West“…themselves having been forced to wear trousers every single day of their lives for the past four, five, six or even more decades.

Let’s see if and when anybody will start a Liberation Movement to give male human beings too, the chance of choosing the way they dress.

Blogging English Google Privacy

Privacy vs. Google

Master Plan – About the power of Google” is a 3m 14sec movie not-too-subtly accusing Google Inc. to be on the path to world domination.

Apparently recorded at the University of Ulm in Germany, it is a tad too professional to be a truly grass-root production. Anyway, what about its message?

Shall we be worried, very worried about the Power of Do-No-Evil Google?

Of course there is still disconnection as a solution to one’s privacy: abandon the Internet, move to a sparsely inhabited area, live off the land and hope not to deal with any Government anymore.

This would be absurd for most people. But for us “normal” web navigators and authors there is the additional issue that anything we write or do anywhere on the Internet can potentially be used against us, or in any case in ways we would not have envisaged at the beginning.

I can only think of two practical ways to fight back on the unrelenting push to get all our data recorded somewhere by somebody, be them Google (evil or not) or a camera saving our whereabouts and movement for posterity: become very visible, or very hidden.

In the first case, it is a matter of publishing one’s content in as many places on the web as possible. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem for anybody willing to go even just a tad beyond using the Internet reading e-mails and the news.

The point is that when a search about you returns a few thousands of entries, it is be very hard to discern anything out of the “noise”.

The other “smokescreen” is to hide behind a pseudonym or set of pseudonyms to use for all online activities.

In theory this is very effective: in practice it is an armour as solid as warm butter, ready to give way at the first silly mistake, such as referring to one’s real name together with the fake one; or, as it happened some time ago, creating a private, secret club only to boast about it in the open.

Of course there is also a third way: build an online persona that has little or nothing to do with yourself. But who’s paranoid enough to conduct such a charade for months if not years?

At the end of the day, it is a matter of trying to keep as much control as possible, whatever the futility of such an endeavour.

And why not? If we have to fall anyway, it will be far more satisfactory to do it whilst fighting.