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Thread: Data Gathering

  1. #1
    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    Data Gathering

    Feel free to move this if it fits better somewhere else.

    The posts of the day have me thinking about Data Gathering. How Big Brother (whether you define that as government or something else), seems to take an almost prurient interest in gathering as much nunya information about everyone as possible.

    Once upon a time I was fearful and affronted by this. I was protective and paranoid. My word, I can't take a breath without some "personalized" thing being shoved in my face by a complete stranger. But lately, I seem to have come to this fatalistic conclusion: oh, do your worst. I'm not buying your crap no matter how much you market me. Not buying crap is the cornerstone of my life now. Just stop stealing my time.

    Do you feel a need to protect your privacy? How concerned are you about identity theft or some other really negative consequence of not being vigilant, and what do you do about it?

  2. #2
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I get freaked out about it sometimes... the latest time was when I was on a boat in Lake Champlain asking my future son-in-law how his flight attendant mother was. She flies for Southwest. Shortly after that discussion, sponsored ads for Southwest popped up on my Facebook. Apparently, my phone was in my pocket, and Facebook eavesdrops on your conversations. Now THAT'S scary.

    OTOH, this is now, and I have nothing to hide.

    OTOH, my DIL is a cybersecurity expert for a Fortune 500 company and she's perfect for the job because she's ALWAYS been suspicious of technology/privacy. Just two days ago, we were at the beach (in January in Jersey--crazy) and my grandsons are SO CUTE (obnoxious grandmother plug) that a passerby asked if she could take a picture of my GS. My DIL immediately said, Thanks for asking, but I don't think so.

    She has threatened a priest who took a picture of her son without asking. She has forbade the local ice-cream parlor from taking a picture of her children to post on Facebook.

    She seems extreme, but at this point, with this technology having really matured and woven itself into our daily lives the way it has, I totally respect her for it. I used to think she was a nut.

    Anyone, and I'm including some people on this forum, could easily hack all of my details--my spending patterns, my family members , my age, everywhere I've lived--and they can track me down and market to me, influence me, spread stuff online about me (MyLife has a "reputation score").

    I no longer tag or post pictures of friends or family.
    I have a piece of duct tape covering my webcam.

    but otherwise, I do purchase online, and I "like" all kinds of businesses on social media making me an easy target for marketing. Oh well.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  3. #3
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    I'm fatalistic, though I think the real concern is how this stuff can be used politically (cambridge analytical style), selling something way more subtle pushing stuff for sale, a world view or something, or even manipulating existing world views to certain ends. And how it could be used repressively as well. So I think it's kind of naive to only see it about selling stuff.

    But yea stuff is mostly meh, good luck with that. And I suspect the most effective ways of selling stuff are those older than dirt anyway, like sending a catalog from somewhere you have bought stuff previously.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    You can't escape it, but you can do a few things to tamp it down. Use DuckDuckGo as your search engine. Firefox seems to be the best browser for privacy--at least I thought so when I started using it a couple of years ago. Bite the bullet and pay for good antivirus software (I use Norton), including a VPN.

    I still comfort myself with the idea that the big corporations care nothing about me as an individual, just my demographic profile--that is, my age, income range, education level, etc.

    Unfortunately, the only real solution to all this is legislation, which is way, way behind the curve. The GDPR in Europe seems like a step in the right direction. We need laws that state very clearly that you own your personal data and can demand that private companies erase all of it on demand. (I'm not holding my breath.)

  5. #5
    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    I peeled the Intel Inside sticker off my computer and put it over the webcam. Lol. Take that, Microsoft.

    ANM ... I've kind of given up on the influencing angle. I hate to be such a non-participant, but I honestly can't tell real info from fake unless there's something preposterous about it, I know I suffer from confirmation bias even though I try to be objective, and I tend to put more trust in John Oliver and the people on this website to provide me with ideas than any idea I feel is being "sold" to me by people I don't know, who all seem to have an angle. So I guess my feeling is I have no idea how to protect myself, other than non-participation.

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    Great topic, kib. I am like Catherine's dil in not wanting photos of my family on things like Facebook. I deleted my Facebook account. I have experienced the phenomenon of the eavedropping phone and targeted marketing. I am less likely to post here after seeing posts that set off my "spidey sense"--when we get new folks who seem to be doing market research or trying to build some sort of social network, or performing social experiments.

    It's sad to me personally, as I do like posting on boards like this one, but I'm not sure it's worth it, sometimes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Someone asked me why I didn’t post my vacation pictures on Facebook until we got home. I don’t want someone to break in. I don’t post a ton there anyways. Your DIL is smart because kid’s pictures have been used in a bad way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Someone asked me why I didn’t post my vacation pictures on Facebook until we got home. I don’t want someone to break in. I don’t post a ton there anyways. Your DIL is smart because kid’s pictures have been used in a bad way.
    Exactly. Iíve come to think that social media makes narcissism more dangerous, and encourages us to manufacture perhaps not entirely honest images of ourselves for public consumption.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    Using my personal information from things like tracking cookies or other methods for marketing purposes barely registers as a concern for me, but I do have a few simple things in place to keep things down. I clear my browsing history and cookies routinely using a freeware program. I also use an ad blocker program for routine browsing. Don't use Facebook and have no intention to ever. And mostly limit online purchases to a couple or few online sellers (including Amazon). Marketing is a part of life that you can't much get away from anywhere and if my web activity is used for some sort of marketing research or to target ads, it's just slightly annoying.

    I'm sure there are a multitude of other more illicit activities using the internet and/or computer hacking. Perhaps ignorance is bliss because I'm not so sure what all of those might be. I am however sensitive about hacking into my computer to gain access to financial information, stealing credit card information, or identity theft. That might be a whole 'nother topic. Back when phishing was just getting started I suckered into one and was a victim of identity theft. It turned out to be rather minor but an eye opener. I could probably do better in that area to protect things.

  10. #10
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    Or even licit stuff. I understand a special prosecutor is currently combing through Jussie Smolletís internet life as part of an investigation of the deal he got from the city persecutor.

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