Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

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TheRedHare
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Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by TheRedHare » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:15 pm

I know that the government pretty much knows all about us that this point (1984?), but what do you guys think of using large corporations like Google collecting all your data and using it to market things to you. Some people seem to not mind, and others do everything in their power to live under a rock and try not to reveal any of their private information to corporations.

Are you guys fine with these corporations making things more convenient and stream line, thus making technology seem more like magic....or are you guys more conservative and prefer to keep things as separate as possible.

This is mostly targeted towards tech stuff, and data instead of physical privacy.

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bryan
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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by bryan » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:59 pm

There's a balance. Though more people care 0% than people who care 100% (like Richard Stallman).

It could be a net win for you to let Facebook, spotify, last.fm, songkick etc know all the music you enjoy. Same idea for location data for google maps, yelp, foursquare. Maybe/maybe not a net loss to let Geico know? What about your credit card purchases (is that cash back worth it if your USAA Visa shares purchase data to other USAA entities)? What about your 23andMe DNA test?

And then you have to worry about your data leaving the corp umbrella (either while that corp is alive or if they are selling the whole corp).. if foursquare is allowed to sell/give data to Geico, etc. Certainly there are some privacy laws, but obviously some of these laws are already being broken (see Europe). I honestly don't know what's allowed or not or what corner cases exist.

Let's not forget there is this well-known thing called a credit report that has become pretty standard.

It could be a good argument for buying central sources of personal data like GOOG, APPL, AMZN.. I expect these bigger sources to attempt to internally profit from your data by making better experiences for you and avoid leaking any of your data to other corps. Smaller sources may have "sell user data" as part of their roadmap.

Current example I am considering is https://tax.creditkarma.com. Apparently it's a free tax service for anyone (versus all the free services advertised that aren't actually free if you need to do a 1040 instead of 1040EZ, or free federal but pay state, or more expensive tiers based on types of income you have). How the heck do they pull that off? One can speculate..

George the original one
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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by George the original one » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:41 pm

I fall into the camp under the rock where possible. However, I don't go too far out of my way to make that happen. Facebook & eBay are evil, Google & Amazon are benign. Yahoo is irresponsible.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by halfmoon » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:52 pm

bryan wrote:Current example I am considering is https://tax.creditkarma.com.
Creditkarma.com is a pretty good free tool for watching your credit score and changes in the factors that affect it. I use the site as another way to monitor potentially fraudulent activity. You can do this with free credit reports at annualcreditreport.com, but creditkarma allows more frequent reports and a quicker process (after the initial signup).

Just out of curiosity, I tried following the above link to free tax filing and signed in. I suddenly needed to set up security questions (not a bad idea) and provide a cell phone number. If I didn't want to do the latter, I needed to call a representative. I declined.

Creditkarma funds its free credit scores/reports by website marketing of credit cards and loans tailored to your credit profile. I ignore the offers; no big deal. It's a little like bankrate.com; just take what you want from it and disregard the rest.

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TheRedHare
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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by TheRedHare » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:04 pm

Yeah, good point made about the music, and credit scores. Somethings are very convenient to have, like google maps, and Spotify. But others can be a little more malicious like Facebook. I also stand on the balanced side.

Richard Stallman is quite an interesting character. I've watched a few videos of his talks as well as a documentary he was in talking about the creation of the Free Software Movement. He does tend to get a little on my nerves at times though. I wonder what he uses to check his credit rating lol.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by vexed87 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:48 am

I was shocked when I learnt about the extent of data Google were keeping about me, I made a post on it recently but there were no takers for discussion. For me, certain services are worth it. Its very much a personal thing, however the major problem for me isn't what the companies are doing with our data to make life easier, or how they will share it legitimately. It is about what happens when that data falls into the wrong hands somewhere down the line.

Google and Facebook may be pro-privacy with regard to government attempts to obtain back doors or obtain info on citizens they previously had no hopes of collecting. Even if the industry applies its best security tech and the most robust information governance practices known to man, who's to say 5 or 10 years down the line we learn about a back door or exploit or some ne'er-do-well slips up, or simply a rogue government demands your data at gunpoint and the industry caves.

Think about the speed and ferocity of a Gestapo's attempt to round up the Jewish community if the Nazi government had access to the kind of data that governments of today do. It doesn't take much imagination to see a 1984 style situation developing over troubled times and people start disappearing in the middle of the night. Of course, if governments want to do this stuff, they'll do it with or without big data, but their job would be so much easier with it. Don't say it can't happen. Changes to privacy are usually incremental and barely noticeable, but when you look back at how far you have travelled, it can be quite worrying.

I don't really post on social media any more, and if I do, it's usually topical or current and gets deleted a week or two after so it's not on the net for all posterity to see. Its usually just petitions, or other social stuff that only my inner circle would care to see. I don't add new people on Facebook, delete my cookies/history after every browsing session by default to avoid add tracking etc. I notice I only get customised adds etc when I'm logged in to stuff. I use Tor for the stuff I want to leave no trace of. All my media is encrypted now. I literally have nothing to hide, aside from my financial details, but I protect my data as best I can because it's sensible.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by TheRedHare » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:59 am

Changes to privacy are usually incremental and barely noticeable, but when you look back at how far you have travelled, it can be quite worrying.
I have also noticed this. With the increased amount of networking speed, companies are able to take on more and more data. 1. because they can and 2. because they need it in order to maintain our ever increasing consumer society.

I also think that it's scary on the amount of data these large corporations have on me, and there is no telling when government decides they need that data and can simply demand it from the corporation at there own will. Then again, if the government really wanted to know something about you it wouldn't be hard for them to do so. Hell, they could even track me down through these blog posts.

It could also be a way to get everyone's information in a non threatening way (the government demands all your pics of every meal you've ever had) in order to protect society at large. For instance, by pushing everything towards social media, and website accounts people's thoughts and motives are put out on the internet which can be monitored. People that don't have any information about them on the internet are more of a risk because the government doesn't have any data to go off of other than your SSN, DoB, etc.

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vexed87
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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by vexed87 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:00 am

Well, there are practical limits to what a government can do with the resources they have to hand. First, they would have to identify that your data was relevant in some way. Have you been flagged for a crime? Ok, then select and retrieve wide array of data and try to piece it together and build a meaningful picture of the target. Obviously that's great for a developing an insight into terrorists etc, however if they were smart they long since went dark. Its likely that data will be used against ordinary people who are a little more lax about what they share online.

For a more realistic scenario, take gold confiscation as an example. There's precedent of course, the Executive Order 6102 in 1933 demanded citizens hand in their monetary gold. For the uninitiated, ownership of monetary gold was criminalised so that the dollar could be manipulated without impediment by the federal reserve. It wouldn't be feasible for the govt. to knock on every door to confiscate gold, without knowing you had any they relied on citizens to volunteer their bullion. Anyone with basic understanding of why the gold standard was important knew that the value was about to rise dramatically. How many really obliged? Would you? In 1933, the govt would have to tear every household apart with no real assurance that gold would be found, bearing in mind most households won't have more than a few grams and it wouldn't have been worth the trouble. It wasn't feasible to send anyone out unless there was reason for suspicion, or you had a big mouth and people knew you had a stash, therefore they had to rely on volunteers!

Now with electronic records, its technically feasible for a govt. to demand a retailer or ISP to provide the IP address of anyone who read a copy of the Permanent Portfolio on a kindle, or request a list of people who have googled "where to hide my gold" or similar. There's also the possibility of holding merchants responsible and demanding they produce a list of historical orders for bullion to some undetermined point in the past. We know security agencies don't act within the confines of the law. Would you trust government to protect you, even if by law you are now the enemy?

In the UK, the snoopers charter ISPs recently passed into law, ISPs now have to maintain records of all websites we have visited for 5 years. If there was reasonable suspicion, a modern govt. could then direct an enforcement agency direct to the "criminal's" home to apprehend them and their gold stash. Sure, technically you are a criminal for hoarding an outlawed commodity, fair play to the govt, they would be acting within the confines of the law if they enacted a similar law now. We were happy when the privacy laws worked in our favour, but what happens when they are turned against honest folk who are trying to prevent systematic theft by the govt. and bankers?

How will you feel when our freedoms are taken away? Information that was once considered harmless could later be used against us. It doesn't have to be gold. It can be almost anything given the scope of invasion of privacy, or rather, voluntary submission in the name of convenience, we are more exposed to abuse than ever.

/tinfoil hat off

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Riggerjack
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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:49 am

If Google wants mah datahs, they can pry em from my cold, stiff fingers. ( typing with one finger on each hand makes em stiff.)

Honestly, I don't worry about it much. But then I log onto FB about three times a year. I imagine my search history would trigger a raised eyebrow, but not more than that. Pandora does know more about my music than anyone should, but I can't find a threat there. I assume all my traffic is monitored by big brother, and while that bothers me, I can't find the motivation to try to hide it.

There are a few reasons for this.

I'm lazy. That's a big one. Security takes effort, and diligence. And I'm just not willing to put out the effort.

Also, security requires knowledge. The act of getting that knowledge, and the steps of beginning to get serious about hiding searches should (if our watchdogs have even the slightest bit of competence) trigger closer scrutiny.

If I ran a section of the NSA, I would be all about setting up servers for a "secure traffic corridor" (TOR comes to mind), if only to have an enriched ore to search. I don't know enough about security protocols to know if this is possible, but I do know that's where I would concentrate, if I were in internet surveillance.

I often wonder if those trying to hide, trigger flags to call attention to themselves.

I don't think this is paranoid, it is just efficient.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by DSKla » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:00 pm

I don't like them having my data, but I don't do anything they would find interesting. It's like when the guy at the next urinal glances over. I'm not crazy about it, but sure, I guess you can watch me take a leak if that's your thing. If I start caring, I'll avoid public restrooms.

Even if I were into activities I wouldn't want publicized, they have boned themselves by collecting such a mass of data that I doubt they can sort through it well enough to catch even blatant criminals in some cases. It's more useful after the fact. The noise is too loud for them to use it very well. Even Google ads wastes time showing me ads for things I just purchased instead of things I might want, and apparently the algo has no idea.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by TheRedHare » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:22 pm

Riggerjack wrote: I assume all my traffic is monitored by big brother, and while that bothers me, I can't find the motivation to try to hide it.
.
Not sure if it would help all that much, but have you tried Duck Duck Go as a search engine? Or TOR?

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TheRedHare
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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by TheRedHare » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:27 pm

The noise is too loud for them to use it very well. Even Google ads wastes time showing me ads for things I just purchased instead of things I might want, and apparently the algo has no idea
I've also wondered about this. I mean, when they talk about big data I'm thinking about who monitors that crap...they probably have some automated system every time some redneck googles "how to make napalm" or "how to make a bomb" because there's just no way they are going to be actively monitoring these things. They do probably store it for safe keeping until you do something, and then big brother can go back and pull out all the things you've searched.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by bryan » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:29 pm

@Riggerjack, well, it could be that folks that listen to Death Metal are 25% more likely to become ____. Or it could be some leakage of your IP address which is always nice to have to cross-reference to other things.

@vexed87, Bitcoin jumps to mind. I expect the explanation will be that they must insist on people paying their capital gains taxes, but in reality they are trying to control capital movements.

@DSKla, they very specifically design tools to filter/funnel to get some relevant data. Since before Snowden. "Problem" was it's super secret stuff and not to be shared with orgs that could really be put to use like the IRS, FBI, DEA, local cops, etc. That's changing..

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by halfmoon » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:06 pm

DSKla wrote:It's like when the guy at the next urinal glances over. I'm not crazy about it, but sure, I guess you can watch me take a leak if that's your thing. If I start caring, I'll avoid public restrooms.
It's funny that you wrote this, because I was thinking of restrooms from a slightly different angle.I go by the assumption that every public restroom (and dressing room) has a camera in it. Doesn't mean that I'm going to avoid restrooms, but I probably wouldn't shoot heroin or field-strip an AR-15 in one. It's kind of like internet browsing. If Google or the NSA feel the need to see what paths I idly stroll, so be it. Very few fun things are truly free. If I had dark secrets or plans, however, I certainly wouldn't do related searches on my own computer.

Could also be that I'm just not that interesting.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by luxagraf » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:37 pm

I write about these things quite a bit and the conclusion I've come to after talking way to too many "experts" (some good, some not) is that security and privacy exist on a spectrum. They vary significantly on the network from place to place just like they do in real life. Since neither one were thoughts in anyone's head when these networks were developed, getting anywhere toward the secure/private end of the spectrum takes considerable effort much of the time. The question is do you get any return for your effort?

For Google, I don't use any of their products and I configure my browser to block all cookies and scripts save a few sites I whitelist. To me that's not much effort and it keep google from knowing anything about me. It has the added bonus of making sites faster and ads disappear too. I probably leak some data (like the add-ons I use to block that stuff, which is enough to finger print me, but beyond that level I don't see the return on the effort. I have Tor installed and I have access to a relatively secure VPN but I don't use either one very often because they take more effort (they make browsing considerably slower) and I don't see much return. On the other hand I use Signal precisely because it's so damn easy there's no reason not to.

I also think it's worth noting that, Jason Bourne fantasies aside, pretty much every security expert I've ever talked to has said if you are targeted by a nation state, you can more or less forget about it. Close the computer and walk away because you will never win against resources of that level.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:17 pm

I also think it's worth noting that, Jason Bourne fantasies aside, pretty much every security expert I've ever talked to has said if you are targeted by a nation state, you can more or less forget about it. Close the computer and walk away because you will never win against resources of that level.
This. There is no winning against the state.

All the data is gathered to make the case after the fact. There is no defense against the data in the file. The only winning move is not to be a target.

Plus, I grew up on the wrong side of the law. I can't put into words the freedom I feel knowing there is nothing on me. Call me sold out, indoctrinated, tamed, domesticated (yes, heard them all from old friends and family), but it is easy enough to win playing by the rules, there is no reason to cheat.

That said, we have enough rules and regulations that anyone who thinks they can comply with them all, is either deluding themselves, or sedated, and I'm not sure being sedated is compliant.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by Dragline » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:28 pm

This all reminds me of a long dormant idea of applying for dual citizenship with another country. Preferably one with relatively poor infrastructure and places to hide.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by bryan » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:31 pm

>> if you are targeted by a nation state, you can more or less forget about it.
> This. There is no winning against the state.

This sentiment is not complete.. it's all about the cost of effort by the attacker and security is all about making it more expensive. The sentiment comes down to the nation state having a blank check if there is a consensus from within to target you. You have to be a bad hombre to get to that level of attention (again, things are changing..).

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Dragline
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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by Dragline » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:45 pm

Or work for the EPA, apparently. No more social media for you. The official state censorship has begun.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:22 pm

This. There is no winning against the state.

This sentiment is not complete.. it's all about the cost of effort by the attacker and security is all about making it more expensive. The sentiment comes down to the nation state having a blank check if there is a consensus from within to target you. You have to be a bad hombre to get to that level of attention (again, things are changing..).
Yeah. Ask Randy Weaver about that. If an ex ranger in his own private Idaho can't defend himself, what chance do you think you have?

This isn't new. The feds have had a blank check since at least Prohibition.

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Dragline
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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by Dragline » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:54 pm

Apparently, they are about to be dispatched to Chicago tomorrow, according to Der Gropenfuhrer tonight, who just promised to "send in the Feds."

Martial law, coming to a town near you. What Obama failed to do in 8 years, we're now seeing in three days.

But "give it a chance". You might like it.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by Chad » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:05 am

Dragline wrote:This all reminds me of a long dormant idea of applying for dual citizenship with another country. Preferably one with relatively poor infrastructure and places to hide.
The amusing thing is Mr. Thiel, the odd Silicon Valley supporter for the current President, was just in the news for buying a whole bunch of property in New Zealand. This has caused a stir in the New Zealand government as everyone is wondering how he got his citizenship.

He is doing his billionaire prepping for the end of times.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by luxagraf » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:32 am

bryan wrote:You have to be a bad hombre to get to that level of attention (again, things are changing..).
No you don't. You just have to be doing something the state doesn't want you to do.

And that's always a shifting target. What's perfectly acceptable today can make you public enemy number 1 tomorrow. For example I've been asked twice to cover certain security related public events and I have declined because I didn't want to have my attendance there a publicly searchable fact. Sure, you could argue that I'd just be there as a journalist, which is a solid defense right now, but will it be next year? Five years from now?

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by luxagraf » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:40 am

For anyone reading this who'd like to know more about realistic security and various threats, this is one of the best guides I've seen for beginners:

https://hackblossom.org/cybersecurity/

edit: except for the advice to use lastpass, don't do that.

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Re: Thoughts on data privacy: Are you okay with Google knowing everything about you.

Post by halfmoon » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:37 am

Thanks for posting the link, luxagraf. After reading through it, I'm MUCH more paranoid! :shock:

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