December 27, 2012, 6:00 AM — Due to an apparent rift in the space-time continuum caused by a Near Earth Object passing in close proximity to the TARDIS, a blog post written almost exactly one year from today has mysteriously appeared in the ITworld content management system. We can make no claim as to its veracity, but reprint it here as a curiosity – and possibly a warning. — Editors
Well, 2013 was predicted to be a watershed year for the Internet and personal privacy, and it certainly lived up to its billing. But there were more than a few scandalous moments along the way. These are, without a doubt, the biggest privacy stories of 2013.
There was perhaps no more important story in 2013 than the hacking of the United States Congress by Anonymous and its various cohorts. By exposing deeply personal details about each and every elected official on Capitol Hill, the Anons revealed just how much data is collected on ordinary Americans – and how powerless most of us are to do anything about it.
More than a dozen House members were forced to resign after their browser histories revealed visits to illegal porn sites and Bit Torrent hubs; six US Senators are currently undergoing ethics investigations after the Anons traced their locations via cell phones, exposing several extra-marital affairs, as well as regular visits to casinos and houses of ill repute.
All those shenanigans had a positive result, though: the Comprehensive Restore America’s Privacy act of 2013, which placed strict limits on the types and amount of data that could be collected and how long it can be retained. The CRAP Act passed both houses by an overwhelming margin and was signed into law by President Obama last March.
Easily the next biggest story was the massive malware attack on the US power grid, which caused scattered widespread power outages across North America starting last June. The malware was delivered by operatives assumed to be under the control of Iranian or Chinese intelligence agencies. In September, the Pentagon announced sweeping measures designed to harden our nation’s cyber infrastructure by the year 2024, and certainly no later than 2037.