Monday, April 23, 2018

The dark side of our lack of online and electronic privacy

I've spoken often before about the dangers of surrendering our privacy to pervasive monitoring and intrusive advertising by companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and so on.  I've also mentioned the risks posed by smartphone apps that demand to know your location, often for no discernible reason.  Of course, they're selling your personal information to advertisers and other interested parties.  However, most people appear not to care about that - something I still find inexplicable.

Karl Denninger warns that such lack of privacy may play into the hands of more than just predatory advertisers.

It wouldn't be hard at all to pervert "ad targeting" to collect a database of people who are extremely likely to be, say, military members.

Or their families.

Or cops.

Or virtually any other tightly-correlated group of people.

You can get very precise given the volume of data and tools today.

So you set up a company that allegedly wants to "advertise" to said people, you buy ads with that targeting and those who "click" or otherwise "interact" you now have pinpointed.  In a short while you can correlate them through other sources and now you know who they are in real life, not just as numbers in a machine.

You know exactly where they work, where they live (down to the actual street address), where they worship (if they worship), where their children go to school and where they shop.

That little device in your teen's pocket, never mind yours, delivers your location on an exact basis, within tens of feet, 24x7 every single day.

The problem is that the bad guy isn't a company trying to sell laundry detergent or timeshares.

They're jihadists.  Or Antifas.  Or any other group -- or individual -- with motive and money -- and these days, not all that much money either.  A few million is more than enough.

Still think all this tracking is no big deal, eh?

There's more at the link.

He's right, folks.  This threat is real.  My readers in law enforcement and the military, as well as other sensitive occupations, may want to take note, and make adjustments accordingly.



Steve Sky said...

That's already been occurring. The bad guys don't need to go to the effort to correlate the data, that's already been done. All they need to do is click on the appropriate map.

Sam L. said...

The saddest two word: Too Late.

BFR said...


You keep addressing all of the symptoms of the disease, but you never culminate in a diagnosis.

Continually chasing the symptoms will never heal the patient. You can provide palliatives, anti-emetics, anti-inflammatory medications, and even conduct excisions and amputations. None of those are definitive. Until you achieve an accurate diagnosis you are forestalling the inevitable.

Steve Sky said...

Related to this, and also to the Internet of Things (IOT), Amazon is preparing to build & market a 'home robot called Vesta', which will be your companion, while it is recording your life for Amazon. This is based on the success of Alexa being adopted by homeowners.

I file it under my, No way, No how, list. I won't let Alexa listen to my life. I certainly won't allow Vesta go around recording it. George Orwell was only a few decades in advance in his prediction of the Telescreens.

McChuck said...

So, what I'm seeing here is an opportunity. Turn this on its head, and use it to identify and target the hard core Leftists. Antifa, BLM, Occupiers, BAMN - all their foot soldiers.

We just need some tech savvy people with deep pockets to fund and manage it. For, you know, just in case.

AnvilTiger said...

There is a simple solution. Never, ever, click on an ad. Helps to block the ads in the first place: uBlock Origin, NoScript, and Ghostery are all excellent tools for the browser. Also use DuckDuckGo for web searches, and get an email address that is not gmail or yahoo - something like ProtonMail.