By CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The Petraeus sex scandal raises questions about privacy that could affect every American who goes online.
A lesson for all of us - what starts as a government search for crime on the web can turn into an invasion of the private lives of Americans. and don't think it couldn't happen to you.
In this case, what began as an investigation into alleged harassing e-mails from one woman to another wound up exposing an extramarital affair and bringing down the director of the CIA.
One electronic privacy expert tells The New York Times that cyber-investigations can rapidly become open-ended since there's such a huge amount of information available and it's so easy to search:
"If the CIA Director can get caught, it's pretty much open season on everyone else."
The ACLU questions what surveillance powers the FBI used to look into the private lives of Generals Petraeus and Allen. We still don't know, but it could include methods like subpoenas and search warrants.
And then there's this : Google acknowledges it passed information to authorities in response to 93 percent of government requests in the second half of 2011.
It's a tricky balance: National Security experts warn of a major cyber attack that could bring the country to its knees. But does that mean Americans must give up all rights to their privacy?
Some are especially concerned about the National Security Agency. Those would be the same folks who conducted warrantless wiretapping of Americans after the 9/11 attacks. Remember the Patriot Act?
Here’s my question to you: In light of the Petraeus scandal, is anything we do online really private?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
The internet is a wide open global cesspool gossip column, but electronic, exchanging messages at warp speed with ZERO security or privacy.
The average person can't control their urges or impulses to fully accept the fact that the internet is the largest spider web ever devised by God or man.
End of story.
Are you serious? There are still people who believe the worldwide web is private? Wow!!!!.
Jack: It is a sad day when a four-star general is the topic of discussion, because a sex driven episode with a female reservist. General Petraeus violated his oath and damaged his marriage. The general violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He was allowed to resign, but in some nation's, he would have been given a gun an told to use it on himself. Responsibility belongs to Petraeus who knows the rules and his role as a leader. There is no excuse for this behavior, and none will be given. A commander is responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen while in command.
George Bush and Cheney eliminated our rights to privacy and any need of warrants. Romney will never be the liar bush was. He denied "data mining" every day of the week.
Only an idiot given all that we have heard and seen would believe so!
Probably not online if you'r a public figure. For the average person it is. If I send an e-mail to a friend it's private because no one gives a tinkers damn what I do or say. There are encryption algorythms available for e-mails but I don't know how secure those are. One thing for sure is If your the DCI you know your telephone is bugged
The Internet is an almost open medium, even with description and it is run and linked to on a network first established at public expense. That being said, I suspect there was more evidence that Gen. Patraeus was having an affair than the email traffic. He was not fired for the affair, he resigned because it was fast becoming an open secret.
Short answer......no. Just think of those talented but maybe misguided
hackers who can find a way into any computer anywhere. Consider your
e-mail as "putting it in writing."
I'm sending you a letter with my thoughts on this subject.
There is little privacy in general and almost none on line. Anyone who thinks what he/she posts on line will remain private does not see the world as it is and probably is a true believer of the "stuff" coming from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.
There's an I-T (Info Technology) dpmt saying that people need to remember; once you hit "send" on an email or open a webpage, it's public and you've lost control. Reality is no one can be certain of privacy on line unless you don't ever go on line and even then, there is more than likely going to be info on you that companies have collected over the years.
Of course it isn't. Like I told my kids years ago, pretend that whatever they put on the internet is going to be viewed by me, their Mom.
Aside: Why isn't it getting more attention that we have an FBI agent who, because he didn't agree with the President politically, was trying to "bring him down," as it were? Does anyone else find that frightening as hell?
No, because of the "terror threat," President George W. Bush did away with the Fourth Amendment against illegal search and siezure and President Obama has gone along with it.
No Jack privacy is non existent when it comes to the internet. Even with the best spyware available a hacker can get your information any time they desire. The government can do the same thing. Once you strike those keys that information is vulnerable to retrieval.
Nope!!! Since the inception of "Homeland Security"....we have no privacy. Emails, texts, facebook, twitter and all social media is recorded and scrutinized by our Homeland Security. If you want "privacy".....talk in person, not electronically. These generals should have know better, especially Petraeus.
If someone with the right authority or technical know-how wants to spy on you they can. So, watch what your type. I always told my kids when they were younger, that anything you write or put on the computer can be seen by billions of people, so think before you put somethin on there you don't want anyone to know about.There is another little trick the hackers use when they want to be amusing or annoying. They can clone your screen name if you have a small L in it. Small L, looks the same as capital i on the computer. Small l, Big L. Small i, big I. Notice the small l and big I are identical. So they copy your screen name and just use the big i for the small L and their cloned name of you looks exactly the same.The solution is not to use a small L in your screen name. Doug, Pepperell, MA.
Jack, I'd love to answer.......but I think we're being watched........
The Patriot Act was the camel's nose under the tent.
See which party provided the most votes to pass it...
This the Age of Aquarius the Age of Enlightment. If this is just a Sex Scandel who cares? I don't. If it was delayed to help Obama get re-elected that may be more of an issue.
You have gotta be kidding... Jack since Bush 2 allowed the USA to be attacked on 911, 2001, almost anything anyone does on either the telephone or online is being watched or listened in on.. Our right to privacy is gone, just because of Bush and Cheney. Free enterprise suffers by someone listening in and stealing your ideas if speak about it over the phone or write about it via the computer. There is a solution to this problem and it Calls for everyone to drop their phone service and internet providers, until President Obama lifts the spying on patriotic USA citizens. I'm an idea man and I warn other problem solvers and Idea people, regarding this matter. Don't telephone your ideas and don't use the computer, unless you want them stolen. In regards to Petraeus, I suffer from the same weakness. Love me some beautiful young womens, I just can't resist !
Forget the Petraeus scandal, Jack, Nothing we have ever done online is really private. Once something is on the internet, it goes on forever. It will only be a matter of time before someone figures out how to hack it. Now empirically based on recent events, if you happen to run a spy agency who specializes in hacking things, and your paramour is being investigated by another agnecy which specializes in hacking things, that timeframe is clearly going to be a lot shorter.
One thing about "snail mail" is the reality that, once you seal the envelope, what's inside is secure. Apparently the same can't be said for e-mail and what goes on behind the scenes on the internet. That's why I keep an IBM Selectric typewriter, and a supply of stamps and envelopes at the ready beside my computer. It's too bad Petraeus and Allen didn't do the same.
Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona
A better question would be: is there anything we do private? The Orwellian nightmare is here, and we really have "upped it" with the internet. Where do we go from here? Not far, I'm afraid. We keep slipping on our own indiscrections, and every one knows about it.
The internet is in the "PUBLIC" domain and there is no privacy when you are out in public.
In some cases, no. In my case, I couldn't get the public to pay attention to me at high noon in the town square if I was giving away 100 dollar bills. That's even if I gave a 2 week notice.
Probably not. But it looks like delving into other folks' email can have unforeseen consequences. I am reminded of the TV ad with the teenager/mayhem in the pink minivan. Basically, a cat spat between two silly broads fighting over one guy that morphed into a scenario involving the FBI, CIA, the Justice Department and the Administration. Monica Lewinski, eat your heart out!
Nothing we do online is private. There is always someone able to retrieve the information. Texts are not private either. In this day and age it is naive to think your online communications are private. Kristen Idaho Falls
Jack, it seems as if nothing we do either on-line or in public is safe from becoming an Onion headline. How about "Victoria's Secret Sheds American Indian Underwear – photos to follow", or "Patreaus and Biographer Redfine "Embedded Troops""? McCain, Graham fight Obama over Susan Rice. Here we go again...
Of course not Jack. As soon as you hit Send your email is available to anyone smart enough to access it.
When you are a elected politician, celebrity, and a four-star general people will always be looking into your private life. A clear example of this is Murdochs newspapers in London hacking telephones and e-mails. When you are four-star general and graduated from West Point you should know better. Personally I cannot give a rat's rear end about Petraeus private life and consider it a matter between him and his wife. But the news media loves a story like this and there lies the problem. Back in general Eisenhower they minded their own business.
You did not need to use the qualifier, “online” in your question. Since the so-called Patriot Act, none of us has any shred of privacy left. We are being video taped absolutely everywhere we go from the first intersection we cross after leaving our homes until we return, our identities tracked by facial recognition cameras everywhere. Every word we say on any phone is being recorded and stored at the NSA and that phone is pinpointing our location every second it is powered up. Every transaction, even in cash, is going into hundreds of private databases. And anyone who thinks their e-mail is private or that the delete key actually deletes an e-mail is not computer literate.
It hasn't been for decades. Network admins can usually see any e-mail. Never mind the keyboard loggers used to keep employees on the straight and narrow. Well run companies run backups, some keep them a really long time. If you don't want it known, don't put it in writing. You probably shouldn't say it aloud either. The computers have eyes and ears these days. Actually nobody really cares about most of what you do, but they still have to scan everything to look for the things they do care about (i.e. corporate espionage, hackers). And if something seems unusual, or a human looking at logs sees something interesting, you will be noticed. Maybe it is something they will ignore, or maybe not – it depends on company policy. At a minimum use your personal smartphone and email app. The government is still looking at most everything for national security issues and some criminal activity, and your little joke may not be so funny when the FBI shows up wanting an explanation. In WWII the phrase was "loose lips sink ships". You may torpedo yourself with an indiscreet, or thoughtless, or drunken post. As people learn every day.
Big Brother has been with us for years and continues to creep even more into our daily and private lives with every passing minute. The People no longer control government. Government now has control of the people. We have allowed it to happen with our apathy toward and naivete in our trust of those in power and our acceptance of Corporate America's influence on Congress by lobbyists. Couple this with a dependence on war and the Military to drive the economy and Washington and we have a complete loss of privacy and choice. Big Brother is no longer science fiction.
Really Jack ... is there anyone dumb enough to actually believe anything on public or private networks is secure?
no Jack, you always leave a trail and hopefully it never leads to a trial.
No nothing people beware.
Technology is making a us nation full of cowards, with overinflated egos as long as we are behind a computer screen. Nothing is private online and it shouldn't be because we are overly confident that we can get away with or never face consequences in the real world.
I'm not the most tech savvy, but I have always thought of the Internet more as a big bulletin board, if you put some thing on it, then chances are someone somewhere is going to read it. So no I don't really believe "online" is private even if it says secure.
In case you forgot, George W. Bush took away our rights to privacy shortly after 9/11, authorizing Homeland Security to listen and look at everything we do as long as they claim that it's "a matter of national security". They can even arrest us without charge, ship us to an interrogation center, even torture us, all without benefit of court warrants or counsel. Your phone calls, your finances, your internet use, even your library use – it's all available now to the gov't whenever they want it. Look out, Jack, if you see black helicopters heading in your direction, RUN FOR IT!
No. And in this day and age anyone who would be stupid enough to think that they are "secure" should not be in charge of the CIA. We have a bunch of bozos in charge of our country.........
No it isn't. Unless there's a crime here or a compromise of national security, the it's none of our business. However, I can't help but ask myself how safe I feel if our best and brightest really think they're emails cannot be traced...by any 4th grader let alone the FBI.
Well I guess I shouldn't comment here anymore.
I think that this Jill Kelley woman being able to get a "friend" at the FBI to hack into Paula Broadwell's computer WITHOUT a WARRANT definately violates the Constitutions 4th Amendment prohibition against unlawful search and seizure. is ANY Americans privacy SAFE anymore?
for ANYONE concerned with Civil Liberties, this should be a BIGGER SCANDAL than the affair itself.
Good Question . Here's why . Have you ever heard of people that is in Business to "Fix" your computer, if you have "anything" wrong with it at all ? IF they can go into your computer and fix what is wrong with it, without ANY of Your Passwords, then we as a society, are in trouble.
No and by the way it is illegal for government employees to use a goverment computer for private business. Government computers are monitored especially if you work for the cia.
Brings Vegas to mind ... whatever happens in Vegas ..... Well whatever you put online stays online for ALL to see forever!
Business at the US Postal Service should increase after people give serious thought to your question.
No Jack! Once it is out there, it is out there forever. Remember, three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Anything stupid that a person does will someday come around to haunt them.
What, you thought that anything we did is private? Given the technology in the world, we are not even private in our bedrooms. We might as well be living in tents. Get used to it.
Privacy on the internet?. How about your backyard (hummingbirds with microcams, and soon insects!) does your local law enforcement want surveillance aircraft and mini choppers? I think folks would be in awe where a digicam can be inserted ! Have the wisdom to change the things you cannot and the savvy to change your password...good luck !
Our privacy was taken away by G. Bush and D. Cheney.
It seems like Petraius and Broadwell knew this and chose to do their thing anyway. They both broke the law and will have to take their punishment.
The internet is like the old crank phone party lines. Nother was personal. You could hear the clicks when maybe a dozen people were listening to your conversation. Lesson learned.
It's private until you get caught up in a scandal or someone comes snooping around trying to find nefarious information or you are involved in criminal acts. The age old axiom applies; Don't do in private that you'd would be afraid of getting caught doing in public.
Seriously? Of course nothing on email is private. We knew that in the corporate world decades ago. Funny the CIA Director didn't.
Carol in Northampton, Ma
The Patriot Act killed our last expectation of privacy. Assuming, of course, that it wasn't gone long before that and we just didn't know it.
Dan from Pgh, PA
Hi Jack. Of course nothing we do online is or could be considered private. There is no way to ensure your privacy other than not putting your personal information online. You put it out there, it's fairgame.
There have always been rumors about the NSA's ability to spy on electronic communications–email, telephone calls, etc.–so I have never presumed that my communications are private. And, frankly, it doesn't really bother me. I'm unimportant in the grand scheme of governmental things so I figure that it's highly unlikely that I'll ever be investigated by the NSA, FBI, or others. I'm much more concerned that a hacker will be able to take over my email and use it for nefarious purposes.
Of course not. Never write anything in e-mail or on the Internet that you wouldn't want published on the front page of the NY Times.
The loss of privacy has been coming for a long time. I always maintain one rule when writing on the internet:
Would I want my emails or texts or BLOGs read on the air by Wolf Blitzer? If the answer is "no" I refrain form writing those thoughts on-line (unlike the "shirtless" FBI guy in the Patreaus case). .
Did it really take a couple of generals who were thinking with their privates, to get us to think about privacy on the internet. To answer your question: no.
Sitting down and writing a letter and mailing it at the post office may be more private. All you need is a piece of paper, a pen or pencil, an envelope, and a postal stamp. That is if you can write.
I think the wheels are falling of the wagon. Our civil liberties are disappearing, we are close to bankruptcy, the world now must look to France for the defense of freedom our government is fragmented and in chaos and our President leads from behind. Go figure.
Please. Did you just notice with the Petraeus scandal that our expectation of any kind of privacy, especially anything we say or write online or by phone is GONE? We will never get it back either. If you don't know this by now, or really years ago, you must live under a rock.
we should be careful about what we say or paste on the internet because no matter you do to, those in charge we always bring it out. i am very sorry for the former Boss of CIA, he himself looked for his downfall. he should not blame anybody. 60 yaer old man, can he zip his pant and be faithful to his wife?
William in Saint Paul, MN
Have people been living in an egg shell to believe any different?
Want to know all of your fears-come-true about email? Read the book "Digital Fortress" by Dan Brown. Its a thinly veiled account of how the NSA scans every email every day.
Should we expect privacy on the internet? After all, their are terrorist organizations and some countries that want to hit us with a cyber attack. If the FBI didn't get Patraes's emails, China or Iran could have gotten them and used them as leverage.
I am sure that whatever we do online, the government or any secret agency has the technology to know what it is who its from.
It's a world-wide web, Jack.
Hey, Jack have a great eye for the pulse of American concerns. ( thats between you and me and our government and the hackers from China and who ever else that wants to know. ) Once it is out there its everys knowledge. Keep up the great work!!
This sort of thing has been going on long before the internet. When women like this get going, hell hath no fury. And if the government is interested in my boring life, go ahead, expose me. They can even come in and sort my laundry for me. I just don't care.
I doubt if anything we do anywhere is private. They hack our computers, tap our phones, connect GPS transmitters to our cars, use drones to spy into our bedrooms and use satellites to eaves drop on our cell phones. We have security cameras mounted in stores, on sides of buildings and hanging from street lights. I can support security, but spying and invasion of privacy are two different things. We need to draw a line in the sand to differentiate between security and spying. Privacy is now something we read about in the history books.
(From Santa Barbara, CA)
As a retired FBI Agent, it disturbs me that this question is still being asked. There are so many checks, counter-checks, legal reviews and approvals the FBI must deal with before any interceptions can be made of private phone or computer lines, it is absurd to think that any agent could wiretap or intercept anyone without receiving such approvals - nor can the FBI as an agency do it without the same approvals. This is not the 1940s or 1950s when no such rules existed and the FBI could do pretty much what it wanted. Those days are long gone, and the only people today who need to worry about their communications being intercepted by the FBI are those who are committing certain types of crimes or endangering our national security. Let's get to the real issue here - these complaints are coming from the sore losers of the last election!
Tom, Santa Barbara, CA
No. The NSA is our online Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo).The Dept of Homeland Security name should be an alarm bell that our freedoms are in jeopardy. DHS's true mission has nothing to do with protecting the "homeland". It is all about protecting the government's power, and increasing that power. Elections have had consequences for 100 years. Our freedoms are all but gone.
Hell No! Jack, When I woke up this morning, in this great land of U.S.S.R, , only hoping someday I would make it to the USA, I once read a book by George Orwell, which scared the hell out it me, only to realize I was just being paranoid. Jack, I am totally free, we are all totally free, as long as you don't notice this collar and lease that is on each one of us.
I once thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken
Anything you put online is fair game, don't even think about gong in the closet to hide something. But it also lets us catch certain people that are out to break the law or put our country at risk.
** In light of the Petraeus scandal, is anything we do online really private? **
The answer to your question Jack, is obvious. A better question for your viewers would be "What does it mean for the security of our nation, when the top, #1 CIA guy thinks G-Mail is a safe place to keep secrets?"
jUST LOOK what the feds are doing to activist in northwest.they are raiding computers and actinglike they are terrorist when they throw them in jail for grand jury investigations for breaking a window at 9th circuit after they (3 judge panel) threw out court case regarding m/v selendang ayu, when the court refused to read the F.B.I. report , that would have fixed the national contingency plan.But police chief over reacted during may day vandalism and now every ones computers from the activists community who care about whats going on in local nieghborhoods is treated like al qaeda while underworld criminal gangs are given a pass on same tactic of grandjury investigations cuz chief of seattle police sympathize with drug pushers and pimps cuz they gotta pay the fuedal landlord .
If it is not open to government invasion, it soon may be. Unless everyone contacts their state senator (today) and implores him to vote against Barack Obama's cyber security bill, it's all over but the shouting.
This bill is not an anti-internet computer hacking or cyber terrorism bill. It is a government power grab that encourages private companies to share my personal online information with the federal government, and you MUST oppose it.
This measure is so broadly written that it gives government bureaucrats nearly unlimited power to collect our private information. I am not a terrorist. I am not a computer thief or a hacker. I am an ordinary patriotic American, and the federal government should not be allowed to spy on me (or you).
It's private until you break the law or are believed to have broken the law, then all bets are off. The government has to prove that there is probable cause to get a judge to issue an order to allow them to wiretap and go through your email, texts, instant messages, etc. Until that point, you have every reason to believe that your communications are private. And if you're really paranoid, you can always encrypt everything.
Lets see. The Houston Space Center, military basis and other federal installations would have to be moved to other states who might appreciate the jobs and boost to their economy. Then the Texas oil companies will have to negotiate leases etc to move their oil out of or into the state which should generate more money for other struggling states. Texas would be responsible for securing it's own board with Mexico saving the rest of us money. Texas retires would no longer be US citizens so that would get them off the Medicare roles saving the rest of us more money.
Sounds like a great deal for the USA to me.
Folks have a false sense of privacy in the digital age. Anytime you use email, post on Facebook, do a Google search, send a text or make a phone call, you leave a digital trail in the cloud that can be tracked, traced and exposed. Sure, the average persons activities will get buried in terabytes of daily internet data but in the case of Petraeus as CIA director with access to the nations top secrets, he's going to be under a microscope security & communication wise. I'm guessing that even his private electronic activity would be closely monitored for any suspicious activity.
I find the question , In light of the Petraeus scandal, is anything we do online really private ? to be a example of a perfect oxymoron. World Wide Web or any type of connotations that refers to world wide can not be representative of privacy. Whenever I transmit any type of text or documents over the Internet I do not expect any privacy to be attached to that email or any electronically transmitted text I send over the Internet. If I truly want privacy and security I will write a long hand letter , put it in an envelope , put a stamp on it and mail it. Worked for my great grand father , my grandfather, my father, and for all the founding fathers and pioneers of this country , so it will and it has worked for me.
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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