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Privacy: Data Protection
by RRR/Oxyron

A lot of people all over the globe actually discuss about data protection wherever and whenever it is necessary these days. There are a lot of search engines or social networks gathering all kind of information about people so that George Orwell's vision in 1984 is not too far away anymore. May it be electronic passports, customer cards, social networks or software sending information back home, many people do not like to get "observed" anymore.

But what happens in our scene these days? Our current scene, and the demo scene on all other platforms, too, has its roots in the underground. Nobody can really deny that cracking and spreading software was the beginning of what we use to call scene these days. People were covering their real identities since cracking became illegal in a lot of countries back in time. The activities of the German lawyer Guenter Werner Freiherr von Gravenreuth (r.i.p.) have been recently put into our focus again after his unexpected sudden death. Sceners have chosen pseudonyms, so-called handles, and used anonymous P.O. boxes like e.g. the notorious PLKs (Postlagerkarten) in Germany.

These pseudonyms were supposed to hide real identities. But what happens today? Third persons are developing databases, collecting and storing even unconfirmed information and rumours about people they have just heard about. The victims of the wanna-be private investigators have no chance to prevent that those information are getting published. And the worst part of it they have no control about the stored information and can't delete them themselves, too.

The so-called scene was an underground movement in the very beginning. For all being involved in the cracking, hacking and phreaking scene it's no secret that some of those activities were and still are classified as illegal. In some countries the punishment for some of those activities is equal to terrorism today so people have an interest to hide those facts, even if that was done +/- 20 years ago.

However, it's definitely not in the interest of those people to find complete CVs being available for the public, complete with real names, addresses, etc. being added by third persons without permission. In social networks you have full control about your profiles and the information stored there, but how about databases and information sources like e.g. CSDB or Scenery 64 just to name a few? Other people are adding information and super users can even unlock protected profiles. In case of Scenery 64 there exist several mirrors, so that unwanted content of older versions can not be removed immediately.

With all those information and search engines everybody can combine the data for their needs. Human resource departments are using the Internet to check their applicants. With a sort of "criminal" scene report and compromising party pictures spoiling the reliability and the trustworthiness those databases will lower the chances of sceners looking out for serious jobs or e.g. getting promoted.

It's essential that profiles of sceners may only get started by the involved person and that this person, and nobody else, has full control about all entries attached to the profile. Furthermore it would be a fine idea to remove the real names, photos, social security numbers and personal information of all sceners you have not given their permission to have that information stored next to their scene profile. And even if 20-25 years ago someone published his real name in a small, closed target group called scene it shouldn't be an invitation or a justification for someone else to publish those information in the WWW these days.

Some people might claim that all those databases and photo albums are a sort of service for sceners. Other might pretend it's just a pain in the ass and that the access to that material should be restricted, at least for non-scene related persons. My opinion is I should have the right to care about the information published about me.

Today even political movements have grown to protect the privacy of people. A well known player is the so-called pirate party which is active in many countries these days.

It would be nice to see all maintainers and administrators of those databases start thinking about if they'd like to see information spread about them without the chance to control them. How about saving the civil rights and the self-determination of all information about the persons saved in their databases?

Best regards,

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