The online crusader

You may have never heard of Christopher Soghoian but if you ever run into him, be sure to thank him for protecting your privacy.

The 30-year-old technologist and PhD candidate was recently highlighted in a Wired Magazine article for his tenacious crusade in the name of online privacy. While many of us are busy sending text messages, updating our Facebook status and sharing documents on the cloud, Soghoian is hard at work trying to hack into these sites.

His aim is not to steal personal information or assume another identity, but rather to prove to large online entities how easy it might be for someone of a lesser moral caliber to do just that.

He tests the security of sites like Google, Facebook and even the federal government, documenting the breaches and publicizing the risk all in the name of protecting everyday online users like you and me. In many cases, his efforts have resulted in changes to privacy policies and standards.

Soghoian’s most recent project,, is made possible by a George Soros Open Society Foundations fellowship. The website will be a user friendly source of information on how telecom companies and ISP servers measure up when it comes to protecting the online identity and privacy of their users. As quoted in Wired Magazine, Soghoian says, “Visitors will be able to know how long providers are retaining their text messages and whether they provide law enforcement easy access to your location data.” He went onto say, “People have a right to know what companies aren’t telling them. My hope is that after a year, once I have the data up and it’s proving to be useful, I can give it to the ACLU or someone like that to run.”



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