Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Nothing to Hide, Plenty to Fear

Longtime security and privacy researcher Richard M. Smith tells Farber’s IP list about Philip Scott Lyons, a Tukwila, Washington firefighter. Lyons was accused of arson because he’d bought the same type of fire starters at Safeway. Or, that’s what Safeway’s “Club Card” records show. How or why they were obtained isn’t clear.

The charge was dropped after “another person accepted responsibility for the fire,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Jim Townsend said Thursday. “This person made statements to numerous people and statements officially” to Mountlake Terrace police.

Stories in: The Seattle Times, KOMO-TV and he’s been cleared.

Added slightly later: The title of this post refers to the common quip that someone has ‘nothing to hide,’ and thus doesn’t care about their privacy. Even if you have nothing to hide, the electronic datastreams that are believed to be true may contain lies about you that cause you to be suspended from work for six months.

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