Privacy could be the next thing


Came across a video by a ginger friend we all know


Privacy has always been something I have always worried about but I am keen to know where our opinions lie.


This stuff is always in my thoughts. Good talk by the way @sil . I lie somewhere between normal user and tinfoil hat wearer.

I myself think Facebook is to useful of a tool to completely rid myself of it. It is my only social account with my real info in it. There are many friends from my time in service that I stay connected to on there. I use it as my address book also, so I don’t have to store contact info in extra places for people. But I also have it locked down as far as they will let me. I do have a google account, but it’s not associated to my real self in anyway.

I posted earlier that I was in the process of trying to monetize personal privacy consulting of a sort, it’s still in the works. But basically I will be getting people on secure paid email services, teaching them to lock down their Facebook to their comfort level, choose the right extensions for their browser, set them up with a NAS and get them off google drive/dropbox if they wish. Could also push services like spideroak or pdrive.

Also teaching them how to lock their phones down as much as they are again comfortable with…maybe here in the US, get them on a carrier that gives them more control.

Finally, I would help facilitate moving to Linux if a client wished…

Either way it is a work in progress, but I think it has potential.



Happy to discuss my thoughts here in further detail. The text of the talk is at if you prefer reading to listening.


@sil Two interesting areas mentioned in your talk.

Differential Data Collection: This pretty much does work in the way you describe but of course makes no sense with such a small sample size but given a large enough sample it does work, the larger the sample the better. So taking say a sample size of 10000 people then about half of these (5000) would have made a random choice and about half of these would have voted yes (2500). So it is a simple matter of subtracting 2500 from each of the votes and the remaining votes should pretty close to the real proportions of either opinion.

Personally I would like to recommendations removed entirely but we have to understand the business model.

I can easily imagine Netflix going down the no recommendations route because it is a subscription service and so I don’t why they need to record who watched what, only how many times something is watched. This should give them enough information to decide what programs to buy next.

Amazon could go down a similar route but this is less likely as they care much more about individual sales and so want to advertise products I am more likely to buy every time I make a purchase and they need to specifically my shopping history to do that.

The Google search engine business model however, is funded through advertising so needs to track your search history to give you targeted adverts. There is no point in Google showing me an ad for say an iPad or a Rolex watch because I would never buy one. Google know this and that they can get more money in from the advertisers if they selectively target the adds to individual users.

Not mentioned at all in your talk is encryption. I fully understand your talk was time limited so you couldn’t cover everything. I do however feel we should be encouraging users to insist on end to end encryption on direct personal communications such as email. Obviously this doesn’t apply to anything public such as my posts here on Bad Voltage as once they are on the site anybody can read them so there is no point encrypting the transmission.


@sil I really liked your use of the Sherlock clip to illustrate cumulative collection and the social aversion to the topic in general. Well done :slight_smile:

What can we do?

Educate and align oneself. Perhaps of most interest to this audience would be the EFF (deep links collection is awesome!), the GNUnet, and prismbreak.

Obviously, I don’t think this is exclusively a technological issue though. It effects everyone, it’s a social issue (as is all software is really, but related to our privacy even moreso). There are many Christian groups, etc. etc. already standing up to big data and of course there is a wealth of information out there if one were to look. One of the most active privacy advocates is Dr.Katherine Albrecht and her twitter is here if you care to take a quick poke about because it acts almost like a central hub of the movement. I think it’s awesome that the community that can make the tools that can enable abuse are examining that now. Thanks @WarrenHill and @sil for starting the conversation here :slight_smile:

What do I do personally? Well, regarding the “gubment” aspect of privacy, I’ve already given up a lot voluntarily in exchange for CSIS clearances to increase my earning potential years ago…and that’s all I’m going to say about that. I’m actually far more concerned about corporations and what they build on me/my personally identifiable information (one of the sobering topics people’ll discover as they look into this is that of ‘redlining’ and other ways PII is abused) which is why I lie on a survey service. Of course, getting paid for giving up “my” data helps but I find the value is more in the peppering effect I’m able to achieve. Does big data still know I have a serious diet pepsi sour keys candy problem? Yup. But they also have indicators that I’m also a normal responsible adult in other ways (HA!). Honestly, I don’t know if this social engineering is actually helping my ‘profile’, but hey, free amazon gift cards and if I’m gonna ‘whore’ my data anyhow (knowingly or unknowingly), I might as well be a ‘high class call girl’ :wink: In a strange way, it’s made me even more privacy conscious. What used to give me an odd unsettling feeling now prompts indignation that a website, etc. would request my information without even offering to pay me. I also don’t social media with the exception of here and reddit. That’s more of a personal thing though. I see most social media as nothing more than long form texting. I HATE texting! (… and I really don’t know why, I just do). Apart from directing my purchases/consumer behaviour when I can to favour privacy conscious companies (i.e. purism, startpage, etc.) and supporting the organizations who advocate for us, that’s about all I do personally. Not much I’m afraid :frowning: I should work on that.

Again, I think the crux of this issue is social, but technologically I think decentralization (federation, etc.)is key. Here’s Chris Webber to explain a bit further why centralization sucks while living out a super hero narration fantasy and promoting GNUmediagoblin :slight_smile:


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