Your Privacy and Data are Different Things

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by AlphaAtlas, Feb 6, 2019.

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  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Scandals from social media companies and tech giants seem to make the headlines every day, and stories of data breaches or serious vulnerabilities follow right behind them. The publicity is prompting lots of talk about the value of privacy, but a recent article from NBC highlights a critical point in that argument: data is not the same thing as privacy. A smartphone that spies on its owner may represent a breach of privacy, for example, but Aza Raskin points out that tech company don't even need to cross that line to send creepy ads. He says "isn't it more creepy that they can predict what you're talking about without listening in? It's this little model of you. You are super predictable to these platforms. It’s about persuasion and prediction, not privacy." In other words, maybe consumers should be less worried about how tech companies are breaching their privacy, at instead take a closer look at just what predictive models and applications they're building with the mountain of data they already have.

    "Privacy as we normally think of it doesn’t matter," said Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology. "What these companies are doing is building little models, little avatars, little voodoo dolls of you. Your doll sits in the cloud, and they'll throw 100,000 videos at it to see what's effective to get you to stick around, or what ad with what messaging is uniquely good at getting you to do something."
     
  2. haste.

    haste. [H]ard|Gawd

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    Strange argument. To think that data and privacy are not directly interconnected even taking into consideration the amount of plaintext information being transmitted (this included) which allows the function of creating these profiles/models through querying that data is a little silly.
     
  3. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    Yeah it "doesn't matter" because we put out so much information of ourselves willingly everything from a Facebook account to whatever youtube videos we watch, and to be fair you can't consider that a breach of privacy any more than you can call it a breach of privacy when someone in a store recognizes you like to go down the Ice Cream aisle first.

    That said, there is a difference between you entering data on facebook and a EULA that states "if you want to use this super cool app you give us permission to look at everything else that doesn't even relate to this app"
     
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  4. NoOther

    NoOther [H]ardness Supreme

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    Because they aren't directly interconnected. But we also have to understand that not all data is "data" in this discussion. Data specifically identifiable to an individual is still protected under privacy. But data about habits or preferences isn't specifically identifiable to an individual. After all, many people may share the same habits and preferences. Also, realize this "data" has been used for centuries on people. The fact that companies can gather it quicker, store more, and use machine learning to target tendencies is just another evolution of it. Is it creepy? A bit. Should we make it illegal or protect against it? I don't see how you could really make that enforceable. Whose to say what method of gathering information about customers is good and what isn't? And even if you decided that, large corporations with a log of money and access could still gather other information and still develop algorithms and use ML to target people.
     
  5. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The point that needs to be highlighted is the inescapable fact that these companies who provide services to us, routinely lose our data.

    As long as this condition continues, people are perfectly justified in complaining about whatever it is the customer wishes to make complaint over.

    You lost my shit ! And your Mom dresses you funny, now shut up and take it like a man. You sure as shit own it.
     
  6. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Since we're generating the data for them I think we should get kickbacks whenever they sell it or ad revenue is generated based on it.
     
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  7. Wiffle

    Wiffle Limp Gawd

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    I think these big corps are missing the entire point. People simply don't want to be individually singled out by this stuff. Privacy is a fallacy that people build up because they don't want unnecessary attention drawn to them or their actions... if people were less hyper-critical about every little thing someone else is doing and focused more on their own bullshit actions then the world as a whole would have no need for privacy. From a personal standpoint, my only desire for privacy is to keep away from those who "data collect" tidbits about my life, and then make up some bullshit lie so they can throw me under the bus and improve their own social standing or fulfill some retarded vendetta against me. Once people stop doing crap like that, privacy goes the way of the dodo bird. In fact, privacy is the antitheses to a utopian society. Secrets sink ships.

    The problem is with how data collection happens and is used, and that sometimes the data is flat out wrong, and worse yet it can be manipulated. A computer program will still run with the data, errors and all, and this is a huge problem. Its like a bunch of old ladies playing the rumor monger game... a little bit of truth gets mixed in with a whole bowl of turds. Society is the computer program, and if you feed it a bowl of turds, it will run with it like it was true.

    If people thought Police Profiling was bad, just wait till you are profiled based on your internet activity... Its less of a violation of privacy and more of a violation of human rights. An employer can't deny you a job because of your gender/race/etc... but companies like Facebook are totally allowed to racially profile you and lambast you with "racially relevant" content that would normally be considered "racist", and an employer can deny you a job because they don't like the content of your social media feeds, racial or not. You accept it all because it is "relevant" to you. Its a fact of nature that people prefer to view others that are similar to themselves... but you have to allow that nature to happen on its own, not force it upon someone or even "suggest" it.

    Its not that data collection is inherently bad either, it can do a ton of good. I am of the mind where 24/7 monitoring of my being is okay, especially if I can query the data to figure out simple things like what foods improve my mood, productivity, and general well being. Data collection for personal use and improvement is probably a better use of technology than building a profile so a company can sell you something.

    I think if there has to be a line drawn, individualized profiling is wrong unless the individual allows it. Collecting background data to figure out if certain products will sell to certain demographics is perfectly acceptable as long as its not individualized to a specific person. Then again some people are simply too specific in their everyday lives, and will stick out like a sore thumb regardless of what protections are put in place.

    For the record, I am not classified as human. I am a meat popsicle.
     
  8. NoOther

    NoOther [H]ardness Supreme

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    Essentially they are, the kickback is generally the lower prices for their services, or the fact that their services are "free".
     
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  9. NoOther

    NoOther [H]ardness Supreme

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    I disagree, I think most people don't even care.

    These points are good. It has certainly been shown that computer algorithms still struggle trying to understand people. Though most of these algorithms they are using for target based ads are much more simplistic in nature. They aren't necessarily trying to understand "you" they are collecting data and extrapolating based on that data. The more data you give them, the better they get, the less, the more ridiculous they get. For instance, a friend of mine on FB was just noting how the ads targeting her are pretty crazy, but that is mostly because she has opted out of all data sharing and keeps saying ads don't relate to her. So now FB just throws out wild guesses for targeted ads based on the simple fact that she is female. It has to drop back to all the data it has gathered on the females that have shared data with them and make a guess as to how that relates to her. It is pretty funny to see what FB sends her now.

    The data collection is not inherently bad, nor is it inherently immoral, nor is it inherently intrusive. Most of the data is stuff we are freely giving them and isn't anything they may not get just from casual observation from afar. It is just that with digital data and so much information easily and quickly ingested they can gather more, faster and send it through algorithms that can correlate and process at ridiculous speeds. If you give them enough data, they can be scarily accurate about what you may be interested in. The intent is also to send you ads for things you actually want. So it isn't that they are trying to force you to buy things, they are just trying to match seller with willing buyer. This isn't a problem for me. The problem is with people who aren't taught moderation and self control.

    I don't think individual profiling is wrong. If you are giving them the data, what is wrong with them trying to find something to advertise to you that you might actually want, rather than advertising something you have zero interest in?

    You are assuming your work can see your feed, how would they do that?
     
  10. Furious_Styles

    Furious_Styles Gawd

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    Seems to me the kickback is hugely biased in one direction.
     
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  11. TordanGow

    TordanGow Gawd

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    Not-to-play.jpg

    You can always just not use their service. I don't have a facebook, etc. account. I've intentionally opted out. Possibly more importantly, I've not signed or agreed to any EULA/service agreements that force arbitration. If you use these "free services" you've also likely signed your rights away.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
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  12. NickM

    NickM Limp Gawd

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    You serious Clark?
     
  13. NoOther

    NoOther [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yes, my work has no way to see my feed. Remember, what you post, people can see. Your feed is what "other" people post that it is showing you. Other people don't see your "feed". So unless you browse FB at work, your work really has no way of seeing your feed. Incidentally there are also many ways to adjust your feed.
     
  14. Wiffle

    Wiffle Limp Gawd

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    That's what search engines are for. When I am in want, I will go looking for it. I don't want someone looking for me to sell me something I "might" need. I will get it when I know I need it. Nobody liked door to door salesmen who sold vacuums and Tupperware to easily exploitable stay at home mothers, and it is very akin to what social media sites do just in a far less obtrusive manner. But I am a little weird in this regard, and suggesting to me I need something when I don't think I need it is a great way to piss me off. I generally live by the rule that if someone is actively trying to sell me something, I most likely don't need it. Advertising itself creates a form of demand, and it is designed to play on the psychological aspects of the human brain. Businesses surround you with candy bars and small knick knacks at the checkout counter for good reason.

    I don't use any social media myself, so my wording may be confusing. By feed, I mean what you are feeding into the system, likes dislikes comments etc. Aside from using exploits or traffic monitoring, obviously you can't view what social media sites are feeding to someone else. But connect the dots enough, and you can garner a great deal of information about anyone.

    What I am talking about is the stuff you personally do that gets used against you. It happens all the time, but its usually an error of the individual who assumes every "friend" request is totally legit. Its not your "workplace" that spies on you, its usually a supervisor or someone who doesn't like you or thinks you are up to something, then they get sneaky and pull crap like making fake accounts and getting you to "friend" them so they can view what you are saying or posting and try to get you fired. I live in California, and their are tons of labor laws that are in place to prevent stuff like this from happening, but its usually the state or federal jobs that are notorious for pulling crap like that. If caught, they get a slap on the wrist, then go back to doing it a couple months later to another person. If you fight against such an action, you always keep your job, but who wants to work at a place where you have to watch your back from your own co-workers? The only ones who suffer from such actions are those too tired or too uneducated to fight. Terrible employees always keep their jobs, and the truly troublesome ones get "promoted" out of the departments.
     
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  15. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I can't say that this isn't true for you. But I'm throwing the card on applying this to everyone else. Privacy has been an issue since long before the founding of the Republic. That is why it was addressed in the 4th Amendment to our Constitution. More accurately is that unreasonable search and seizure was addressed by the 4th, but that has become almost synonymous with privacy.

    Now I agree that people should be less hyper-critical, that they should take the chip off their shoulders, etc. But I don't think that there is ever going to be a lessening for the need for privacy in this world. Still, there are things that we have no reasonable reason to expect to be private. Things that are just not protected, are out there and no longer yours to claim.

    Man, if your wive is going to send you a sexy video of herself, tell her to go buy a damned camera and a thumb drive and teach her about PGP. Don't take videos and pictures with your phone, your phone is not secure, it's not private. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. (General Statement not directed at you specifically).

    Privacy is important to people, on-line your village is the entire world. If you really want to keep things private then be a private person and not an idiot with technology. Yes, we need the laws rewritten, several of them. We also need people to accept some things about the world and how people act.
     
  16. NoOther

    NoOther [H]ardness Supreme

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    While certainly true, my point isn't in favor of advertising as much as in favor of actually something that is slightly more useful advertising. Basically your choices are to get advertising that doesn't align with any of your interests, or get advertising that at least might have some value to you. It isn't a choice between advertising or no advertising, you are going to get advertising no matter what. There is actually nothing unique about targeted advertising either, all advertising is targeted in some way.

    Perhaps, if they could see all my likes or comments. But they can't necessarily see those either. If you haven't friended them, they aren't going to see your likes or your likely your comments. Nor would they be able to see who you friended. And even if they did, they would have to have to build a really strong case on such flimsy evidence as likes or even certain comments, much less the simple notion that you have "friended" someone. There are a lot of controls on who can see what, that you can apply these days. Also companies are loathe to make many decisions based on your private life, it is more apt to be what you say while working or representing the company.

    As for the last paragraph, you would have to show me some kind of proof that this "happens all the time", especially with government organizations. It's no doubt that government organizations like to keep tabs on their employees, but they actually have more strict laws against doing that kind of activity than commercial companies do. And any supervisor that does this is going to get axed or fined, especially if they are a government employee. The government has a zero tolerance policy for that kind of behavior.
     
  17. NoOther

    NoOther [H]ardness Supreme

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    Is it? Do you really think your individual information is worth that much to them? I have news for you, it isn't. It is the accumulation of information that is important. Also, you have the option to not use the services... So I really don't see any bias at all.
     
  18. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Essentially, I agree. The advertising industry is way out of control and I think the government is way past due for setting limits on their activity. I think it's simply not healthy for the country and the citizenry.

    Besides, that targeted advertising is wrong as much as it's right, because it's done in a lazy manner.

    First thing to outlaw, advertisers paying for clicks. Practice needs to stop. Instead, let advertisers get paid a slice of the sale, so easy to do with online sales. Why should a company have to pay for a click, when the "buyer" didn't buy?

    I have three Google Cromecasts, my kid sister asked me about them and I looked to see what they cost right now. Now I get targeted adds for Chromecasts and shit, I'm not interested in buying them.

    But how many of you have downloaded an app that is supposed to help you find a better price for an item that you do want to buy. Now that's effective promotion. Instead of advertisers trying to guess or deduce what I want, and have false positives throw off their model and ruin the effectiveness of their advertising scheme. They should promote good tools for people to use to identify what they want, and then they should make it easier to find it for a great price, or with great customer support of the customer feels like they need that.

    I want a new monitor, help me find which one is the one, with a couple of honorable mentions, and set the price alerts and help me get it bought, make the sale happen, don't play stupid guessing games.

    When people don't truly understand the technology, they get very unrealistic ideas of how to best employ that technology for their needs.
     
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  19. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I think it should be illegal to make a profile on a person, without exception, regardless of if the data is collected through profiling or some sort of interest prediction algorithm.

    If they want to advertise to me based on the context of the page I am viewing, I'd rather not see it (because I find it distracting) but I don't have a major philosophical issue with it.

    As soon as someone tries to maintain a profile on me, I have an issue with it.

    As soon as data exists, it is a target both for internal abuse and for external attacks.
     
  20. DNMock

    DNMock Limp Gawd

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    You got that all wrong, I'm afraid. Advertising is trying to do one of two things normally, and they are frighteningly effective at it:

    1. cast as many lines as possible to increase the number of impulse buyers.
    2. Plant the suggestive seed that you want/need their product.

    They couldn't care less about what you actually want or need.
     
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  21. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    That is a non argument. Se we should stop worrying about them having access to our data, because they already have enough data to predict human behavior? Is this an attempt at misdirection?
     
  22. Furious_Styles

    Furious_Styles Gawd

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    I do. And in aggregate if more people felt like me and did not share with them, then in aggregate they would have much, much less to work with. I don't use the services anymore but the problem is the damage has already been done in a certain respect.
     
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  23. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I go to Newegg to look at a motherboard, because there is usually a quick link to the manufacturer's web page on that board, and I can get to the user manual in order to help trouble-shoot his problem. I know others here have done this.

    Then, after helping the person with their problem, I free myself to go check on something that is one of my interests ...... and somewhere on the page there are now advertisements for motherboards when it used to be full of ads for monitors. This is targeted advertising, they think that I may want to buy a motherboard because I went looking at one. Now they are going to feed me advertisements for motherboards at every turn when I have no intention to buy one at all at this time.

    No, they don't care what I want, but they do want me to buy and they will use any clue to try and spark that purchase to include using my on-line behavior to direct advertisement specifically to me.

    Is there some other way you would like to twist my words to say I have it all wrong?
     
  24. NoOther

    NoOther [H]ardness Supreme

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    How is your personal information that important to them if you also admit that you need an aggregate of people to feel like you and not share? That is admitting that your individual information is not that important to them... Also, you realize they are giving you services for your data. In addition you can limit much of the data they can get from you. So really the idea of a bias is circumspect at best.
     
  25. NoOther

    NoOther [H]ardness Supreme

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    This is actually a very incomplete picture. Yes, they may show you some ads for motherboards because you were just looking for them, but this is also no different from when you go into a store and a salesmen sees you looking at motherboards and then assumes that is what you are interested in. When you go looking at other products, many algorithms get updated with that data. When you purchase stuff, the algorithm gets updated. Eventually it collects enough information to start making more educated guesses on what you may want. This is nothing new, it has been done forever. There is also nothing inherently wrong with it, and very little the government could do to curtail it. It would take massive unnecessary regulation to try and end the practice. Why spend money on that? The reality is, targeted advertising only matters if you lack self control. And if you lack self control, there really isn't much helping you as you are likely to spend money on something else just as frivolously.
     
  26. DNMock

    DNMock Limp Gawd

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    Here is what you said:





    Your words, not mine. I'm not trying to twist anything here. Either you failed to properly communicate what you were saying properly, or I'm failing to understand it. Even if it's the latter of those two, fault still goes on you for not saying it in a way that the lowest common denominator can understand (which I'm not so arrogant as to think I may not just be that lowest common denominator here).
     
  27. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    We should be passing laws forcing them to delete it and alter their business models, or spend time in federal "pound me up the ass" prison.

    That is what we should be doing.
     
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  28. Wiffle

    Wiffle Limp Gawd

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    All this discussion on privacy has me thinking of "The Culture" and how privacy is handled in a fictional society where certain entities are capable of seeing anything and everything. These entities generally consider it "impolite" to go looking around without consent, although there is nothing there to stop them from doing it. If you don't agree with their methods, they won't stop you from voicing your dissent and may even comply on an individual basis. But they won't put up with you actively disrupting everything they have going on either.

    Its a two edged. My only reason for "privacy" is because I have a strange way of talking and expressing thoughts that for lack of a better reason just seems to bother a lot of people and/or it gets misconstrued as something else. So I don't say much unless I feel I can correctly articulate the ideas I wish to convey. My post count supports this. My respect for others "privacy" stems only from the fact that people are easier to deal with when their panties aren't in a twist, and violating that "privacy" is a great way to piss in someones morning coffee.

    Really I guess it all boils down to "treat others like you want them to treat you"... and with that said, where is all the data collection on these big mega corps? They get so secretive when its about them, but anyone else they don't give a hoot. Unless you plan on investing millions of dollars with them, they won't give you that information, or worse yet, what they give you is doctored enough to make you believe that investing with them is a great idea. At the end of the day, a business is only there to make money, and as such it sees everyone and everything as a source of potential income. Ethically, you cannot trust a for-profit entity to not abuse something like large scale data collection... in fact they are only collecting the data because its out there and they want to exploit it to make more money. On the same token, data collection is very helpful for learning and educating yourself to become more effective with whatever you are doing.

    But if you did that, half the internet would disappear overnight! :dead:

    But at the same time certain websites, like the [H], do potentially stand to gain more revenue from a "slice of the pie" model. I personally have purchased thousands of dollars in hardware based on recommendations from this site, and if [H] were to receive a cut of that, I am sure it would surmount the pennies they currently get from me being a click statistic.
     
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  29. Furious_Styles

    Furious_Styles Gawd

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    I think you missed my point. Of course 1 out of a million people is not important. But if more people like me stopped sharing/using their services, it could be a very significant amount. I however can only control what I do...
     
  30. haste.

    haste. [H]ard|Gawd

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    I assume you are referring to machine learning. So that isnt utilizing data and is somehow disconnected? I'm not going to say I'm even an amateur on ml but still understand the necessity of information flow... if you want to not call that data I guess I interrupt it differently.

    Edit: responded directly to your comment directed at me without reading through the thread; after doing so I dont think we are that far off on our opinions. I think our disagreement is more semantics or interruption of the question presented.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  31. Delicieuxz

    Delicieuxz Gawd

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    No. Most people are clueless about what's happening and the extents of things that are being done. But, when they become aware of some of the bigger picture, most people are upset by it - and rightly so.


    It should be illegal for data that isn't essential to compute a requested function to be collected in the first place. Laws shouldn't be taking effect only after the fact of data being harvested. Once it's harvested, it's aggregated and 'anonymized' and put into all different sorts of charts and things so that even if a person deletes their profile and the data companies have on them, their data still exists in companies' overall vaults and reports.

    Since people's data is their own (and it is their own), no company is entitled to take it in the first place or to profit themselves off of it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
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  32. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Most people don't care about recycling and safe disposal of waste. So should we give up on that, too?
     
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  33. c3k

    c3k [H]ard|Gawd

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    If some device/application NEEDS some of my data to function, then it MUST tell me EXPLICITLY an PRECISELY what data it needs, and why.

    (Why do some bluetooth apps demand my location service be turned on? That does not seem like a requirement for a bluetooth transmitter to pair to another device.)

    Any data so-collected MUST be DELETED when I request that it be deleted. My request should be incorporated into the app. No data may be transmitted beyond the original gatherer unless I explicitly approve each and every data transfer BEFORE it takes place.

    My data is mine...not for someone TO mine.
     
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  34. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    Sounds a lot like Hydra's little setup in The Winter Soldier, doesn't it?

    The movie is becoming more and more prophetic as the years go by. Well, except for the shield wielding superhero and giant flying carriers parts. We're on our own for preventing or fighting this, and it isn't going to be fixed with one big battle.
     
  35. theBrownLlama

    theBrownLlama Gawd

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    that guy is an idiot. Who the hell is paying him for such drivel.

    modeling a customer has been going on since the newspaper ad was created

    heck, it;s been going on since the act of market heckling is conjured up.

    it is the end of anonymity and the breach of expected privacy that made the model looks 99% (hyperbole, maybe) accurate
     
  36. theBrownLlama

    theBrownLlama Gawd

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    not done forever. Cause that would be akin to a guy following you around and recording everything you say and buy before the net was mainstream. If that happened, the guy would be told to take a hike, or worse.

    this is new, new being that is it only prevalent when the internet became owned by a handful of people. So less than 20 years....that's new. Now we can't exactly tell them to piss off can we ?

    and since the net is owned by a handful of people , legislation can be effective in tackling this issue. ( if they stop taking their lobby money)
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
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  37. SJetski71

    SJetski71 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Mr Raskin, my little voodoo doll in the cloud is the one extending it's middle digit.
     
  38. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

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    I have data that is private. If you acquire it without my permission, you're breaching my privacy.

    Er go, this is complete bullshit.
     
  39. darckhart

    darckhart Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    225
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    IDK why people think simply not signing up and using a service means they've escaped. EVERYTHING is interconnected. Do your friends use facebook? Do they use it on their phone? Are you a contact in their phone? Have you been captured in a photo at some point in time that they've posted? Do they mention your real name in various discussions on the platform? Do you exchange emails with them? Do your friend use many other social media services? You're already caught in the web. There's already a profile of you. That's just the way internet works now...
     
    clockdogg and lcpiper like this.
  40. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    10,261
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    You can't quote my words in a vacuum when you are part of the discussion;
    This is pointless, we are arguing in a stupid circle and frankly, it's for a pointless reason.

    I'll explain, you said the advertisers don't care what I want or need, I said they do. The truth is they do not really care because what they really care about is making money and not much more than that. They get paid by performing a service for their customer, that simple. The more effective they are, the better chances that they will be obviously successful for their customer, and hopefully gain more customers making more money. Therefore, although they don't care what I want or need, they do care that I buy, and that their customer makes the sale.

    So I'll pause here for a moment and see if you have a problem with this part of the equation. Sort this part out first, then proceed if you care to.
     
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