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Giving it all up to Big Brother

Personal data being gathered on the worldwide web means bigger profits for the private sector and is also being shared with the police, argues Steve Rambam, founder and CEO of Pallorium Inc., an international online investigative service.

At a time when electronic gadgets and hi-tech innovations dominate our lives, violating privacy and mining people’s personal data is easier than ever. The damage that this 24-hour surveillance could do to society and its freedoms is overwhelming.By using computers to access the worldwide web, people unwittingly reveal large amounts of personal information. “Your location, your likes, your dislikes, your religion, your sexual orientation, how you vote, where you live, who your friends are, who your family is, what music you listen to, what books you read – all these things are a window into your soul,” acknowledges Steve Rambam.The truth is, people care less and less about privacy and the majority of data being compiled on each of us today is self-contributed, argues Rambam.Today you can find out everything you need to know about a person for free by going to their Facebook page. Just a few years ago, this kind of information would have cost you no less than $10,000. The same applies to all social networks.Rambam’s sinister revelations have not put him off having his own social network profile. However, he says, “I post just enough to let people know that I’m alive – possibly once a month.”Rambam says he is “very careful to have all location ware programs turned off so it does not re-plot where I physically am at the moment.”WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange once told RT that the American social networks provide personal information to secret services on request, and Steve Rambam says the reality is even more brutal.“They do not need to provide anything – it is right there.”

Law enforcement simply goes online to check Facebook pages, Twitter or YouTube feeds – all without the need for permission or authorization. Still, the investigator says, “All of these sites do co-operate with law enforcement – and I think they should.”At the top of Rambam’s list of online data prospectors is the popular search engine, Google.“Google in fact has a relationship with the CIA and a very close relation with the NSI, Google has a back door that is made available to the secret service and to the FBI. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but it is something people should be aware of,” explains Rambam.The investigator himself says his Pallorium Company would never provide any data it has to anyone but law enforcement or licensed private investigators.Companies like Facebook, Google or MySpace are “aggregating data on each of us bit by bit and before you know it, your entire life is on a disk.”For example, Facebook is valuable because it provides information about your contacts and friends and by defining who your friends are, it is possible to get closer to what person you are, believes Steve Rambam.Information is constantly being added to people’s profiles because they do not stop to think about the ramifications of posting crucial details about their lives, the investigator argues.But it was probably the creation of the cellphone that opened the floodgates, he says, naming the device as “the greatest invasion of privacy,” because by tracking the phone it is possible to get practically any information, opening an individual’s entire life.Steve Rambam is absolutely sure that if the databases had been properly analyzed in a timely manner, 9/11 would not have happened. This is because some of the hijackers were known to CIA while the others could easily have been linked through shared friends, credit cards, flights, phone calls, etc.The key fact about data aggregating is that it is not the government that collects information on citizens – it is private industry that does so, simply because “your eyeballs are worth money.” They want to know the maximum about you “to sell you stuff.”“This is pure, naked capitalism,” concludes Rambam.