Is privacy dead in an online world?

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by Krusty, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. reasonablePrivacy

    reasonablePrivacy Registered Member

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    It is better to not inform "them" that you have some valuable information.
     
  2. RockLobster

    RockLobster Registered Member

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    I am of the opinion if you have not detected obvious surveillance, intrusion, it is because they already have pwnage.
    Its like a game of poker.
    Whatever privacy tools you play, they will up the anti.
    There is no point at which they will fold.
    The only way to win the game is if your adversary doesn't know your playing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  3. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    By privacy, if you mean one or more of the following:
    • the state of being free from unwanted or undue intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs;
    • freedom from damaging publicity, public scrutiny, secret surveillance, or unauthorized disclosure of one’s personal data or information, as by a government, corporation, or individual:
    then, the Death of Privacy has been a fact of life prior to the online world.

    In the USA, if you:
    • have a social security card
    • file a tax return
    • have a library card
    • use credit cards for purchases
    • have rewards cards at stores
    • have a bank account
    • have purchased anything on credit (auto, home, etc)
    • _____________ (fill in the blank)

    then a profile of you is to be had for anyone proves a need to know, even if you do not want them to know. And to be had by anyone else who illegally gets the above information.

    The Credit reporting agencies have a long history that predates the internet.

    From a New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/23/business/equifax-data-breach.html

    "Equifax's roots as a behind-the-scenes data collector stretch back to 1899, when it began as the Retail Credit Company. Grocers and other retailers kept notes on their customers to determine who could be trusted to run tabs and pay them. Two brothers in Atlanta went door to door to collect that information. They compiled it into a publication called "The Merchant's Guide" and sold annual subscriptions for $25.

    Ordinary people are not Equifax's customers. They are the company's product. The "Big Three" credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, collect 4.5 billion pieces of data each month to feed into their credit reports.

    "From birth to death, the record grows. Decades' worth of addresses and identifying information, including drivers' licenses and Social Security numbers. Utility accounts like telephone and cable subscriptions. Criminal records, medical debt, as well as rental and eviction histories.

    "Equifax's records on any given individual, scattered throughout dozens of databases, typically stretch across hundreds or thousands of pages."​

    "New analytic products have been a priority. Equifax has a team of mathematicians who mine its data to develop algorithms predicting how consumers will behave. Those insights are sold to companies like lenders."​

    The internet has provided more opportunities:

    "At a financial conference last year, Mr. Smith [former CEO] described a new system that searched four billion public tweets for keywords like "car" and "automotive lease." It paired the tweets with a person's Equifax credit file. In real time, the credit bureau could identify potential buyers and provide its customer, a company selling car leases, with everything it wanted to know about those people."​

    The Internet, unfortunately, has made it easier for unauthorized access to this data.

    ----
    rich
     
  4. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    It's a pity more people don't subscribe to this, but they've largely traded privacy for all the on tap bells and whistles, exacerbating the problem. Meanwhile you do what you can. You CAN lessen the odds of nosy companies tying certain activities you do to other data held about you.

    That about sums it up. As I've said above though, I still think there's value to be had by adopting certain practices rather than letting the world know everything about you on places like Facebook. I guess some of us wanting to keep privacy intact, is tied up in principles. To others, that's an unpopular stand.
     
  5. illumination

    illumination Registered Member

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    There is no such thing as online privacy. Concerning personal/intimate details, they can only scoop up what you are willing to divulge.
     
  6. RockLobster

    RockLobster Registered Member

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    I don't agree. Prior to the online world government agencies and law enforcement only had the resources to gather intelligence on those they strongly believed were engaged in criminal activity.
    This meant a warrant had to be issued by a judge because otherwise they would be wasting those limited resources because any evidence they found would be inadmissable in court.
    Everyone else did not have their communications intercepted and stored.
    This is very different today. In the online world EVERY communication, everything you say, everything you read about everything you purchase is stored and they can use and apply complex algorithms on all that data to create a psychological profile.
    You can be sure almost everyone today is profiled in that way and the likelihood that you would steal, commit sexual offences, be prone to violence, get hysterical or irrational under pressure, is openly gay or bisexual, is secretly gay or bisexual, is likely to cheat on your partner, get depressed, be neurotic, commit murder, lie to your boss, slack off at work, use drugs, be racist, be bigoted, do not like authority etc etc etc has already been evaluated.
    That is what we mean when we talk about privacy or the lack of in the online world and anyone who thinks they have nothing to hide,
    think again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  7. RockLobster

    RockLobster Registered Member

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    Further to that, of course this is just the beginning, at some point in the future you can be sure your profile score will be bandied around like your credit score and there will be people that sabotage other peoples profiles and all kinds of other unforseen consequences will arise out of this. Imagine the conversations...

    "Can you imagine dating some one with a profile of less than 400?"
    "OMG no way, they better be at least a 480"
    "Well I saw Sandra out with that guy from sales and I know hes only a 350, I have a friend in HR she checked him out last week!"
    "Ewwwwww a 350!! Sandra is such a tramp she always dates losers!!"
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  8. reasonablePrivacy

    reasonablePrivacy Registered Member

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    IIRC in China they are already experimenting with tying social media profile to credit score.
     
  9. deBoetie

    deBoetie Registered Member

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    Even worse, you have the perfect trifecta of problems with databases linked to official exercise of power:
    • garbage data (at least 10% of Home Office data in UK is wrong), Someone Else's Problem;
    • opaque data mining algorithms that can't explain their justifications, humans too bored or unskilled to put it right;
    • zero accountability for failures, zero recompense for harm resulting from incorrect assignments.

    These things will increasingly affect everything one does in contact with power and official money - right of residence, ability to travel, ability to get work, to drive, to get money, getting harassed by stops etc.
     
  10. reasonablePrivacy

    reasonablePrivacy Registered Member

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    Actually when it comes to AI based on neural networks it turns out that it is caused be its nature. You don't write complete alghorithms in code. You design neural network and then feed data to teach it. Even people designing neural networks with deep theoretical understanding of AI and math are not 100% sure how it will behave after feeding a large set of data to them. And if one employee feeds inappropriate data to AI, AI could become biased,prejudiced and this can be hard to detect.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 7:24 AM
  11. deBoetie

    deBoetie Registered Member

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    Agree, the neural network approach based on large - and often effectively biased - large datasets for training and update - has the huge advantage of self-learning, but the huge disadvantage of lack of self-awareness. Which make them extremely dangerous when dealing with peoples' lives and innocence. It's one thing getting the wrong advertisement, but unacceptable when used as a replacement for human judgement.

    There's quite a lot of evidence from the policing trials which demonstrate data bias and what amounts to confirmation bias (the AI sent a lot of cops to these areas because there's a lot of reported crime, and - lo and behold! - there is more reported crime in those areas!) Ironic because some of this AI was supposed to reduce rather than reinforce bias.
     
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