Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


A Life, Observed

A blogger who I’d recently discovered has retired:

I’ve always had my two lives separated – my offline world and my online one. That’s the way I wanted it and that’s the way I set it up and I’ve got my own reasons for it. And someone decided to ruin all the fun and be a smug ass about it and go to incredibly great lengths to find out where I “live” online. And they managed to do it, and now they’re all snide about it.

(The blog and its archive have gone while I edited this post. Google isn’t showing a cache, and its gone from my cache. The longest excerpt I can find is on PSoTD.)

I’m sad, but I respect her decision. I tried blogging anonymously for a while. It was tough to get attention. I made a conscious choice to tie this blog to the same name I use in the security industry.

Soj made a conscious decision to use a nickname. The ability to explore ways of thinking without having to commit to them or answer for them is important. And privacy is what allows that. If (for example) security expert Bruce Schneier wanted to re-evaluate the case for national ID cards, he would probably not use his blog for that. He might want words he writes or says as he explores an idea to be private.

As we move to a society where we’re recorded in public, in taxis, in subways, restaurants, or in our homes, our ability enjoy the benefits of privacy disappears. (Think home cameras just spy on the nanny? Think again.)

Some people will definitely feel safer as their lives are recorded. The rest of us will be all the poorer for not having Soj Flog the Simian anymore, or thousands of other projects, which, chilled, never see the light of day.

(Thanks are due a number of folks for suggesting links for that last paragraph, especially R for mentioning Banksy.)

2 comments on "A Life, Observed"

  • Saar Drimer says:

    Realistically, is there such a thing as “anonymous blogging”? I don’t think so. If you want to make it hard, you need to be an expert… and even if you are, and you have other web presence, you will fault in the content that you publish. Style, topics, wording, links and such give away much information and the clever “investigator” will eventually make a connection to your identity or whereabouts.
    Correct me if I’m wrong here.
    When I started blogging not too long ago, I realized that and am blogging with my name plastered on everything. On this note, I think that the real meaningful commentary carry a real, identified person behind it.

  • Saar Drimer says:

    “should carry…”

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