Expert opinion on data privacy


We are all familiar with how different people take data privacy. Some disable Javascript in their browsers and cold drop hand written letters made out of home grown birch trees (also known as going full Stalman). Others got a bluetooth enabled toothbrush and looking to by an extra home assistant for the inside of their fridge.

Whenever it is my turn to explain why giving away your data is bad, I go for most direct cause and effect chains for the person. For example the above mentioned bluetooth enabled toothbrush collects the data and sends it to medical insurance companies. This is something that can directly affect someone’s rate and therefore financially impact them. Similar story with devices that you can plug into your car for reduced rate from your insurance provider.

However, those examples are far and few in between. The threat from these kinds of breaches of privacy is abstract and most people will have hard time imagining the implications of potential identity theft on their lives.

We have people who’s job it is to take small clues about person’s life and paint a bigger picture. Those are private investigators and detectives. This is addressed primarily @wendell and anyone who can contribute to this idea.

Could we organize a brief of data that we know (directly or indirectly) is being collected by various popular services and give it to those people for their opinion? I would like to know how much useful information they can derive from seemingly unspecific data. My suspicion is that a whole lot more information about an individual can be extracted when you add any additional circumstantial data to the mix. For instance, if you can collect anonymized data about a person that contains their rough location and they go offline unexpectedly during a local blackout, you can narrow down their location even further. This could be a trend among tech youtubers if they choose to talk to their local PIs and police detectives about this topic. There might be many things specific to their areas that would be an eye opening for many people.

Please share your “go to” stories about data privacy and any opinions regarding the main topic.


this is already happening in the security community mate.
EFF and others are doing there best to scan providers to see what they are hoovering up, and trying to hold them to account for it.

and your not wrong your data is PERSONALLY identifiable. google and others say they remove/obfuscate the data but it can still if you have enough of it, be used to profile you. what you dont think they match up your bank details with your email and phone number?.. :wink:
erm you gave em that data when you bought that 12inch knobbler of ebay for a joke?.. of course they can identify you…

as for talking to the cops… most want MORE access, and even warrantless. despite it doesn’t serve the interests of the public at large…

the simple truth is unless we demand laws to stop the data gathering it will continue and it will be able to identify you even quicker.


My laptop has a bios virus and starts spewing data to china if I put it on non-tethered wifi.

Protect your shit.

If more information means more power, how about people start sharing the info so everyone is equally capable. Fucks sake.

Its name is Intel management engine


Then I want to see tech Youtubers present it. For general public.

It is identifiable. Even if it is obfuscated, gathering more data will point back at you. That is not the point. I want to know what else can be said about the person given this data. It is like that case where marketers were able to figure out that someone was pregnant before the person knew themselves. They started sending them baby products ads ahead of time. This kind of information.

Again, more data can help solve crimes at a cost of privacy. We all know that. But there are individuals who use this information to come to more interesting conclusions. Would love to learn about those.

The point is not WHAT is being collected but HOW it turns around and affects people’s lives. The social dilema film sheds some light on the issue as to how a person can be swayed politically if you feed them the right information. Proof is meh tho.

No it’s name is Chi Show.

Funny enough, my Razer phone pings an address in China to determine if it is online. If I block that domain, it thinks it is not connected to the internet and Gapps stop working.


I agree… A lot of people just don’t care. The free to them game is more important than all of the metrics, personal info, and stats the company collects.

Big tech will still collect info even if you don’t participate. Balancing convenience, security, and privacy is very difficult. Lately I’ve been trying to educate myself on how.

I do like the idea of practicing obscurity while freely poisoning their datasets with nonsense. It wouldn’t be perfect but would make it harder for them to sort through the garbage to build an accurate profile. I feel like a big problem will be when more and more companies starting to rely on your online secret profile for security; since so many people have no problem taking that survey for a free “10% off coupon to participating locations only”.

IMHO fundamentally it is the problem they don’t understand. They don’t understand how it affects them today and how it may affect them if management in charge of that data changes. Heck, even people who are security concious often don’t understand the whole scope of problems it may bring. It’s fine.
But the trigger for change is to provide compelling evidence to consumer so that they begin to care. This is the thing that alters the market.

Even if there was some way to convince a large population to take back their private data, I fear it will only get worse. Today kids are practically born with a screen glued to their face. Unless parents are somehow going to figure out how to get their kids to care about privacy, the flow of their personal data straight into databases is going to be immeasurable.

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the rant below is Not expert opinion


Reminds me of the video rental thing.

A politician running for some attorney general place, did not really care about privacy.
Then the press leaked his video rental history, which led to legislation making it illegal.

His history was not even that sordid, apparently…

Besides data about one’s habits, there is also Medical data that is being gathered, packaged and sold.

Presumably one day there will be huge databases akin to today’s credit databases about people, which advertisers will sell access to., and combine together to cover people’s Identities, Habits, and history, as well as personal connections, and Their data.

[oh wait, there already is…]

what else can be said… anything you want it to say. if you have the money and know which company to buy the information off…

just because cambridge analytica was exposed.
dont think for a minute they went out of business they just change owners on paper and rebrand. they still profited off the data breach as far as i can tell.
this means there are no real consequences if you have a couple of high profile investors/a government official backing you.
you just pay the fine and move on…
but you or i do what they did, its 60 years in a dark hole.

really mate if the proverbial “THEY” wanted to profile you its pretty simple.
advertisers use data sold by search engines and other tech hoovers.
anything you type is pretty much taken and stored fed into your personal ai routines and a profile built.
this profile can be sold in part or as a whole to whom ever they choose apparently even law enforcement. which might seem like a good idea. but has turned out less so.
if its government, they can look you up on multiple databases from your tax to your employment, to your education.
they dont want your porn history ( some one else will though ) unless your a political dissident, then it will be used to discredit you. if they were that way inclined… or they will flat out make stuff up, if your worth the effort (snowden)

but really if it was a government coming after you. your phone number is pretty much all they need now. according to americas military who actually drop bombs from drones on to phones they think badguy’s own… and bidens just sanctioned military drone use in america to guard against domestic terrorists?.

PSST! (come here, listen… you ready for it?..) that means THEY WILL BE DROPPING BOMBS ON YOU if you allow this.

like i said mate. big tech and governments are gathering all the data because it gives knowlage about you. as to what they do with it… well you can see, things like vaccine passports’… ERM! NO!..
and the likes of twitter… we looked at your posts recently and we have decided your political view or your other NOT OUR IDIOLOGY! post you made… has gotten you banned. oh you got banned off facebook too… oh and youtube demonetised you all in the same day? for different reasons…
are you getting the picture yet…
the data isnt being used its being MISSUSED!.

now do you need any more horror storys? :smiley:

It is immesurable currently. The point is not to get kids away from devices but to have control over where that data goes and how it is used. The purpose of creating interviews with those people is to create a demand for better solutions on the market. To create the need for competition.

Not only that. Advertisers are kind of late to the party on this one. Credit bureaus and insurance companies have been doing this for much much longer.

Video rental analogy is kinda accurate. Another one was the dick pic approach to privacy by John Oliver.

So you think stories about “them” dropping bombs on you and shadow banning your twitter are effective tools to convince people not to share their data? For real?

I will agree on one thing tho. Feeding a system just because you are on its side will bite you in the ass the moment your opinion changes. But that is an ideology question.

Wow it’s almost like I hate android or something

Oh wait

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You didn’t read what I said. I didn’t say to take away their devices or get them away from using them. That would be impossible as most schools have fully adopted digital devices as part of the curriculum even BEFORE the human malware shut things down. I said figuring out how to get kids to care about privacy is the problem.

Isn’t that part of the culture? Parents being more aware about the issue, creating preassures for tech market to create competing product that addresses that concern. As a result taking care of your digital privacy becomes a norm (at least within a family) and market can provide products that are catered to privacy conceous users. In other words, it becomes a norm for the kid and there are alternative products to help with that.

I’d say it’s also an issue of finding out the user’s priorities: Convenience or privacy. While Facebook has been a total monster when it comes to user privacy, millions of users have been made dependent on such a service to keep in touch with friends and family, and dropping Facebook would likely disconnect any social relationships that they would have. While Google does collect information with its free services, disabling Google Maps means you either get another GPS app (which might also collect your data), get a paid for GPS, or just use hard copy maps.

From my POV, one of the reasons why Signal has been able to take off as a E2E encrypted messaging app is because it was so damn easy to use. I couldn’t get anyone to pick up PGP to get a similar means to protect their email communications.

The folks I know of that are willing to put up with inconvenience and hardships to protect their data are mainly other professionals, hacker family, and other privacy conscious types. American consumers predominantly don’t really want to put a bunch of work into protect their data, and want it to be a given. I don’t really see something like this happening without additional laws like HIPAA & CCPA, and even then consumers would need to be willing to exercise any rights that new legalese would provide.

Privacy should never be a currency. It is not impossible to make a paid app where privacy is a priority. It is a choice by big tech to not do so. My point is that users may not understand the value of their privacy and that is why their choice is uninformed or even disinformed.
Granted, you cannot make a perfectly private version of every app. Your uber drive would still need to know where you go and so on.
Signal is a perfect example of privacy first app done right. It is doable to make other apps to be as good and even better in many ways.