[ExI] experiments on privacy: was: RE: privacy

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Wed Mar 20 18:49:52 UTC 2019

Quoting Spike and Bill Wallace:

> From: spike at rainier66.com <spike at rainier66.com>

>> ?BillW of course if you shop online for anything, you will be  
>> pummeled mercilessly for weeks by purveyors of that product.   
>> Nothing particularly creepy about that: the reason the WWW grew and  
>> prospered is that there are skerjillions of ways to hawk one?s  
>> wares there.  So there was a lotta lotta money behind its explosive  
>> growth.  Cool!
>> ?What I want to know now is if one enters the name of a product  
>> into the Google line without hitting Return, will it figure out  
>> what I was looking to buy?  I have a Google window open right now.   
>> I enter ?Wool sweater for sale? but I did not hit Enter.  I will  
>> leave it there for a few minutes, then delete it without ever  
>> entering any site or search list.  Then I will see if I get wool  
>> sweater spam.  spike
> OK cool, it?s what I already knew: if you Google on something you  
> want to buy, your ad-driven sites will send you ads for that.  No  
> mystery, that?s how they make their living and why they give you  
> free information on stuff you care about, no problem.  I entered  
> wool sweater for sale, a few minutes later accidentally hit return,  
> OK we know what happens.  Then I entered Pickup truck tires for  
> sale, didn?t hit return, didn?t get ads (so far.)
> OK no surprises.
> Now I want to find out how much the great internet marketplace can  
> learn from my Google searches and my clickstreams, and I want to  
> repeat the phone hotspot experiment, see if I can replicate what  
> happened before.  It might have been a coincidence, or the phone  
> might have figured out my location (near one of the biggest wind  
> generation areas) and sent me ads based on that, guessing that I  
> went there to see the turbines.  I might even be able to explain the  
> hoodie ads that way too: I was near-ish to some textile mills.   
> Shrugs.

Welcome to the surveillance economy where YOU are the commodity. If  
you have an android, Google tracks your location by default. Here is a  
good list of personal data that Google and Facebook collect on you:

Any time you install a phone app that requests microphone or camera  
access, you ought to assume that such app is listening or watching  
you. Both Edward Snowden, James Comey, and other notable people have  
recommended keeping a piece of tape over any camera connected to the  
Internet when you are not using it.

After parsing the data for information that can be used to market to  
you, most of the information is just stored both on your phone and on  
the cloud, until one becomes a "person of interest" to law  
enforcement. After that, all bets are off.

> Here?s what we should do: design some experiments find out what the  
> market can find out about us.
> Ideas?

That's an interesting idea, Spike. I will think about it. Like I said,  
much of the information is unlikely to be brought to a human's  
attention unless you get "flagged" for whatever reason. Although, I  
doubt that surveillance tech like Stingray or Triggerfish can be kept  
out of the hands of hackers. So in addition to law enforcement, one  
may have to worry about being spied on by scriptkiddies and such.

If you buy a fancy toaster that connects to the Internet, assume it is  
spying on you or can be remotely controlled to burn your toast.

Stuart LaForge

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