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personal data and privacy

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by BBW, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Two, for me, very thought provoking articles in yesterday's New York Times Week in Review section:

    Should Personal Data Be Personal, by Somini Sengupta The lead in:

    And this article Facebook Is Using You, by Lori Andrews, which is more of an opinion piece:
    There are a lot of hair raising points made in both of these articles especially, it seems, for those of us in the USA but I'm sure there are many countries across the globe that use data mining for their own ends. Food for thought. I'm certainly going to make sure our daughter reads these articles. Hmm, if I email them via the NY Times website...what will that do to her data trail if she uses Google mail?
     
  2. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    scary thoughts indeed... I think data you delete from your profile should preferable also be deleted from the company's harddrives... thanks for these articles!

    I never knew I could request to see what a company knows about me, but thankfully I'm fairly careful about my online conversations... although I suppose if you add it all up, over the years I might still have said and posted lots of stuff I wouldn't want others to have access to.
     
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  3. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Our federal govt is running an awareness campaign based on "what goes on line stays on line".
     
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  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I find facebook disquieting in any number of ways. I'm on it, but I look at it as mostly a necessary evil and I use it very sparingly.

    But, in fairness, in this digital world, there is SO MUCH information "out there" about any one of us, whether the way google follows us or any of the zillion merchants we've likely bought from online or data that our banks and financial institutions maintain that may be protected but is likely still pretty vulnerable, that I don't honestly find facebook any more specifically frightening than the overall trend and pattern. Bottom line, if we choose to play in the digital universe, with all of its benefits, we give up a LOT in terms of privacy. I haven't seen a coin yet that doesn't have two sides and this one is no different. For all of the personal vulnerability one feels from the information collected on us, the same technologies did help enable/facilitate the Arab Spring and various other political movements and it is, at some level, a democratizing force.

    I realized this years ago when I was researching a piece of cycling gear I was thinking of buying and ads for it, and competing products, started showing up in the margins of every web-page I visited and I started getting tons of junk email on the same basic products with sales and other information. And it continued up until I bought the actual product, at which point the ads all switched to trying to sell me complimentary gear to go along with it. It was, and continues to be, amazing to me how sophisticated the software must be that's tracking my every thought, or at least those thoughts that could be exploited commercially. And of course it happens today with camera gear. I'm sure that after Wednesday I'll be hounded by every conceivable ad for the new Olympus body and it won't let up until I buy one.

    Resistance is probably futile. Either be on the grid or be off of it - that's the only choice I see here. And I'm clearly on it.

    -Ray
     
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  5. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    I had the same experience, and since then, I've blocked all cookies except the ones I absolutely need - unfortunately, it's impossible to use facebook, the bank or hotmail without them, and I accepted the single cookie that SeriousCompacts sent me in order to log in automatically, and some similar cookies, but the rest I reject.

    I found it very nice that SC sent me only one... just for fun, in Firefox, set your cookie policy to "request permission to install cookies", and visit the Apple website (first delete any Apple cookies that may already be installed). I think I had to click away around 30 frikken cookies before I could see the main page! I just turned around immediately and left Apple and its websites well alone since then :smile:
     
  6. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    This is probably the biggest reason I don't use facebook, period. I got onto my girlfriend a while back because she put on facebook we were going on vacation. Granted, the only people who can see her wall are people who she allows in. But just weeks before a friend of hers had her house broken into because that girl posted she was going out of town. Even with people might trust to see that information, they might tell someone else in casual passing and that person isn't as trusting. I also see what many people do post on facebook, and my own thoughts on some of it is that those things said should be kept private. I think it is a sad state of affairs when a married couple almost gets divoriced not because of what each person had said on facebook, but because personal and private issues are aired to all their friends.

    I love technology. I love software. I write software for a living. At the same time, software in the wrong hands or used unethically can create lots of problems.

    Something like facebook that was ran by a non-profit company might make more sense. With a company looking to make money, however, it seems more dubious. Information can be bought and sold.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    I don't use Facebook. I did for about a week a long time ago because many of my clients kept referring to it, but simply did not like the experience. Facebook is a house of cards.

    There is a lot of talk about personal data. There was a recent concern over Dropbox. The basic message is, if your data is connected to the Internet in any way consider it not secure.

    You have control over what you put on Facebook. Imagine all of the data that you do not control, such as your DMV records or credit information...

    But this is the world that we live in today.
     
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  8. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    I really appreciate hearing from everyone. I have a friend that barely uses the Internet at all. She only recently decided to go online at home. She would never consider using online banking. I have another friend that has been using the Internet for years, uses online shopping, emails, uses it for business as in sending documents, etc., and uses Google mail, but says she will not use online banking.

    It's a crazy mixed up world... I do use my bank's website and I use Paypal... I've read that in the USA a business bank account is not protected against fraudulent charges but a personal one is... There's so much to read and to know...that it could drive you crazy. However, to not pay attention seems foolish.
     
  9. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Last week I read a commentary where an online company (anonymously) analyzed the passwords their customers used. More than 70% used the same 6 passwords, and all of those were passwords like 123456 or abc123 or simply password.

    I use strong passwords and many different ones at various sites. That is a strain on my brain, but thank goodness there is 1Password!
     
  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Right - I keep forgetting about 1Password! Thank you, Andrew!

    I figure all this multiple password stuff is good for my brain.:wink:
     
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I've been using online banking and billpay for well over 20 years now. I had one small mix up over a payment once that was quickly and easily resolved. It is possibly the single greatest online convenience, along with online shopping, of any. I can't imagine what it would take to get me to stop using it. I use PayPal as well.

    -Ray
     
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  12. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Just as my mom does Sudoku to keep her mind fresh, others of us try to remember online passwords :wink:
     
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  13. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
  14. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I joined facebook to connect with family in other countries.. however after seeing within a years time some of my personal information leak into other areas of the internet connecting me to various things, and mind you I wasn't one to put down information.. but it was via connection to relatives and their quips, it disturbed me and I closed it. I am aware it will hold onto things forever and I knew it sold the info before reading that.. I think the service sucks really. I refuse to use it.. I know a lot of people that do or have quit. It's galleries for photos is nothing like what is available elsewhere, it's method of contact just not that superior and it seems like every month there is some kind of security breach that they shrug over as if the privacy of their clients isn't important. Well it's not to them. Add to that the stalkings, the way the gov't and other companies is monitoring it, even doctors and dentists are gaining access to see if you are brushing your teeth or sticking to your diet.. it's very Big Brother. Yes I am now disconnected from family I regularly coversed with there but they also have my skype and email if they want me.

    BTW, Trying to erase that information from sites only locked me into an eternal loop of actually confirming my identity. Listings, directories.. etc. If they say "Is this you? Sign in and take control over your public information".. don't believe it. All it does is confirm your information but you don't get to delete or alter anything. Now I'm not one given to illicit behavior.. all I do is visit photo forums and post images but still.. I did not agree to share my more personal information and Facebook passed me around like a cheap... mhm.

    A few years ago when the internet was.. newer I guess.. I was doing my income taxes and needed a statement I didn't have. I had not signed up to access this company online.. so of course needed to in order to see my account. I was shocked, literally shocked at what little information I had to put in.. my name and my email.. that's all, to gain access to my account. Anyone could have done it. There was no deeper verification like drivers licence or ss# or even birthdate. After that I decided that in some cases, it's better I am the one to make first contact than someone else. Unlike many though I don't save passwords, I don't routinely access these sites, I do have a firewall and antivirus etc.. Still anyone could be pilfered.

    Technology has brought us all a lot closer to each other but it's also made us numbers and can be very impersonal or extremely invasive. I have mixed emotions but I don't see where one will be able to live in a vacuum much longer as many transactions will become a matter of signing on.. you know like job applications where you no longer meet people face to face until after they select you. It's all done on data. Bleh...:s
     
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  15. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Its also interesting that my girlfriend makes fun of me because I'm on various forums to discuss all sorts of interst. The fundamental difference is that most forum website owner/operators that I visit do not profit(heck, some barely break even) off of my personal information. The information is also not as near centralized as facebook is. There is also a certain level of anamonymity(if one chooses) with forums such as these.
     
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  16. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Stephen
    Broadly speaking, I agree: if you are active online you have given up a degree of privacy. This is, in some ways, no different than pre-online days, when neighbours would see where you shop, and may know the sort of things you buy etc.

    The major difference with something like FaceBook is that you intentionally sign up and use it to share information about you, what you do, and the people with whom you connect. This is a major step beyond belonging to forums, online banking etc.

    I have a FB account but rarely use it. I have it because my work involves a great deal of social media and I need to keep up to date. My wife is an avid FB user, and has used it beautifully to reconnect with friends and colleagues around the world (we've lived in a lot of different places). Increasingly though, she has become uncomfortable with some of the privacy challenges.

    FB user demographics are fascinating. The fastest growing segment is the over 35s, and particularly female. Young people are changing. My older kid (24) is of the FB generation: her use is waning. My younger one (13) is not interested, and less than half her friends have accounts. Some of this is due to parental privacy fears, but a great deal is because they have moved on to other things - which are not necessarily more private.
     
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  17. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    One of the neat "tricks" that Google, Zuckerberg & so on manage is to convince so many people that they're just a bunch of cool guys doing everybody a favour and having a bit of fun along the way ... whereas, of course, in reality, to them we (and our "consumer profile") are no more than commodities to be bought and sold ...
     
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  18. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    I still use facebook and google plus (not so much, the latter) and in my heyday on facebook posted an unutterable quantity of drivel, and played games which were just hideous and which I eventually abandoned, save for fishwrangler. I was very concerned about things I had thought I had deleted but had not, and so set about finding everything I ever posted, and getting rid of it.

    This has been partially effective, with the assistance of an app on android called exfoliate and for me, it got rid of massive amounts of dross. The rest, I did manually.

    Exfoliate is here

    What exfoliate can do is delete everything you've posted up to about 3 years, on your profile/pages/photographs etc... it can also delete stuff off your friends pages but NOT those you have subsequently unfriended. Fortunately I havent ever posted drivel on anyone else's pages, kept it on my own.

    Two days later after exfoliation and manual removals, I had a totally clean proflle, no photographs etc. one post turned up again randomly and I got rid of that. I downloaded the info that was left to facebook and it was one page of nothing. Deleting *does* work but you do have to go back over several times to get everything, and remember, anything you posted to people who have been unfriended (god... where did *that* verb come from!!!) will remain forever, unless you become friends again and can then go ahead and delete via exfoliate... Its worth getting an android phone *just* for that app, even if you dont use it for anything else (Thats what I did)

    The link again: https://market.android.com/details?...wxLDEsImNvbS53b3JiLmFuZHJvaWQuZXhmb2xpYXRlIl0.
     
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  19. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I wonder if it is worth it to restore my FB to use Exfoliate. I deleted everything.. I really didn't have a lot. And I wonder about the FB side of things, is it still stored there? That would mean it's just not visible but still available to be sold. The other thing I never did was delete my friends. I felt it a bit harsh disconnecting from my father. Silly isn't that? He constantly complains about FB but he keeps it just to stay in touch with people.. it works for him I guess given his age and not getting around so much, i just wish he could find a less hostile site.
     
  20. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    If you didnt actually delete your account (which you can do, otherwise under normal circumstances its just suspended) you can do that.

    I had nearly completely withdrawn from facebook and removed most of my friends. I've never been able to comprehend the need to have all these "friends" on facebook when you might see them nearly every day, or talk on the phone. I do get the usefulness of facebook in keeping in touch with friends and rellies who are overseas... but even that is a bit of a furphy, because hey... what did we do before facebook? we emailed. We did IM, we did IRC, we did a whole lot of things that didnt require we bare our souls to the universe.

    I understand that we are out there. I was once a linguistics post-grad student and was on a mail list for linguists... the ownership of all that material has passed to the public domain, it seems, and a thorough search reveals my linguistic naivete as was back then. damn. There's no way of avoiding it. But that information of itself isnt commercially useful. The fact that I might "like" Pentax cameras, or a particular kind of coffee is. And its that type of information that has made Zuckerberg a very rich guy. Ditto all the information that passes through gmail and google. Too late to change it, but not too late to leave if thats the way you want to go. Sadly my email address at gmail is too entrenched now so I've given up giving up. Also, without getting rid of your email address, you cannot get rid of your google plus. To lose that, you have to lose everything (and start over, I guess).

    There was a lot about the internet that I really liked before the Web was invented because until then, there was no commercial exploitation. Try to avoid it now... pfffft! Bring back archie and veronica! Bring back terminals! LOL.