The FBI and Secret Service have successfully infiltrated the underground world of computer hackers in the United States, and now 25 percent of these hackers are — for fear of a long prison sentence — secretly informing the government about their peers. In fact, the community is riddled with paranoia and mistrust as it is not clear who is part of this "army of informants."

First, the short version: Privacy? "Fuggedaboudit!"

You can encrypt your messages, lock your laptop and password-protect your various accounts till your fingers fall off. You can purchase “gee-whiz” software packages to control spam and spyware, construct endless filters to screen unwanted e-mail and phone calls. You can install parent-control devices on your TV, inputting “prohibited” keywords till you’re blue in the face. You can report abuse and “scrub” old computers.

Apple, Inc. finds itself amidst controversy once again, this time provoking the criticism of privacy watchdogs which are demanding an explanation as to why its iPhones and iPads are secretly collecting location data on their users. Other mobile service companies maintain similar records but require a court order to release the information.

Does the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that the government obtain a warrant to search one’s effects based on probable cause apply to e-mail communications? It all depends on where those e-mails are being stored.

iphoneIt didn’t take long for the folks at Apple to cave in. Following an aggressive petition campaign by homosexual activists, the computer giant made the decision to pull an iPhone app from its store that had been launched by Exodus International, a compassionate outreach to individuals seeking to leave the homosexual lifestyle.