Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryData Privacy

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The Internet’s Structure Builds In Privacy Flaws

The Domain Name resolver knows every service you visit, and every service those services rely on, as you move around the internet

How can you create a directory that anyone can access and yet keep what everyone is asking for private? Short of moving to a paper-based DNS system (think, a stack of New York City-size telephone directories), there isn’t a good answer within the present system.

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Many Parents Ignore Risks of Posting Kids’ Data Online

The lifelong digital footprint, which starts before birth, makes identity theft much easier
The recently discovered “design flaw” in Facebook’s Messenger app, aimed at kids, was a wake-up call. Keeping a child’s data out of the wrong hands is just part of good parenting today. Read More ›
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You Think You Have Nothing To Hide?

Then why are Big Tech moguls making billions from what you and others tell them?

The bottom line is this: if you think you don’t have anything to hide, then you don’t understand how the modern data economy really works, nor the impact of being caught in a riptide of public opinion.

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Chinese Technocracy Surges Ahead with AI Surveillance

So what do the reservations expressed, about “the soul” and “love,” really mean?

Both big tech entrepreneurs Kai-Fu Lee and Jack Ma seem to believe in souls but do not believe that souls can be trusted with freedom, the way governments can.

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Is Data Privacy a Luxury Now?

In an age of constant connectedness and digital monitoring, access to privacy is becoming the new digital divide. Can you afford it?

The people most likely to know how to protect their privacy are the well-informed. In an information society in the free world, as an information analyst notes, “well-informed” tends to correlate with well-educated (which in turn correlates with being better off).

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Why You Can’t Just Ask Social Media To Forget You

While we now have a clear picture of the challenges current social media pose to peoples and cultures, what to do is unclear

Stan Horaczek explains how you can download what social media and information brokers know about you but, he cautions, “Set aside lots of time and extra hard-drive space.”

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George Gilder: Cloud Computing Is Reaching Its Limits

The “cloud” isn’t something ethereal “up there,” Gilder reminds us; it is giant factory floors of computers

Gilder, tech philosopher and author of Life after Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy, argues that the regime of huge data centers, all parked by bodies of water, is coming to an end.

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Random Thoughts on Recent AI Headlines: Google Gives Away “Free” Cookies…

Also, why AI can't predict the stock market or deal with windblown plastic bags

A good rule of thumb is that unexpected outcomes increase exponentially as a function of AI complexity.

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Ad Exec Quit the Industry Over Big Tech’s Relentless Snooping

He was shocked by the brazen attitude to invasion of privacy
As George Gilder warns, if social media are not charging us for the service, it is because we are the product. Their surveillance, in order to maintain profitability, becomes the price we pay for being the product. Read More ›
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Will Facebook’s New Focus on “Community” Groups Prevent Abuses?

When you look a little closer at the proposal, you will see that the answer is no

Facebook's move to a more group-focused interface gives the appearance of stronger privacy and community orientation but the structure and logic of social media ensure that these are appearances rather than realities.

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A Scientist’s Nightmare: Doxxed on Twitter

The surprisingly good news is that online riots may be hurting the Twitter brand
The market for senseless outrage is not as large as expected and the online riots may actually be hurting the Twitter brand. Many sources say that Twitter has been losing accounts for years. Read More ›
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I spy AI. And AI spies on me…

The true threat posed by AI is the greatly reduced cost and risk of mass surveillance and manipulation

Some people are quite sure that the world would be a better place if they knew more about our business and policed it better. Mass snooping creeps up unnoticed and becomes a way of life. Then it explodes.

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Your Phone Is Selling Your Secrets

You’d be shocked to know what it tells people who want your money

Big tech companies have an ambiguous relationship with online invasions of privacy. The companies may be able to make much more money selling information about you than you would pay them to use their medium.

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Your Phone Knows Everything Now

And in a world where no data is anonymous, yours may be sold to the highest bidder
Your location can be a useful guide to your buying habits, whether or not you want to buy anything or think anyone has any business snooping on you to find out. Read More ›
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Canada demands intimate banking data from a half million citizens

The goal of the program, recently uncovered by media, is to develop a “new institutional personal information bank” for government use.

A Canadian TV station  recently provided a dramatic insight into how far Western governments are prepared to go, using advanced data gathering techniques, to surveil the lives of citizens: Statistics Canada is asking banks across the country for financial transaction data and personal information of 500,000 Canadians without their knowledge. Global News has learned. Documents obtained by Global News show the national statistical agency plans to collect “individual-level financial transactions data” and sensitive information, like social insurance numbers (SIN), from Canadian financial institutions to develop a “new institutional personal information bank.” Andrew Russell and David Akin, “EXCLUSIVE: Stats Canada requesting banking information of 500,000 Canadians without their knowledge” at Global News Further investigation showed that the government agency has already Read More ›

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Life after Google: More private and more profitable?

Reviewing Gilder’s Life after Google, Ralph Benko asks, If our attention is worth billions, shouldn’t we market it?
In a more open market, the user’s time and attention would no longer be a free service of nature. One expects incentives to follow naturally from more competition for the user’s attention.
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The $60 Billion-Dollar Medical Data Market is Coming Under Scrutiny

As a patient, you do not own the data and are not as anonymous as you think
Data management companies can come to know a great deal about you; they just don’t know your name—unless, of course, there is a breach of some kind. Time Magazine reported in 2017 that “Researchers have already re-identified people from anonymized profiles from hospital exit records, lists of Netflix customers, AOL online searchers, even GPS data of New York City taxi rides.” One would expect detailed medical data to be even more revelatory. Read More ›
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Google is collecting data on schoolkids

Some say it’s okay because the firm supplies a lot of free software and hardware to schools
Many parents may not be content to let matters rest there; they might prefer to pay taxes for school equipment and have less surveillance in our lives overall. Read More ›
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Our anonymity may be an illusion

Because we talk about ourselves so much online, few leaked pieces may even be required to identify us. 
Dr. Dinerstein: In what is now a classic study, researchers used de-identified credit card data for 1.1 million people, in 10,000 stores over a three-month period. Using just four pieces of “outside” data they could identify 90% of the shoppers. Read More ›
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AI can mean ultimate Big Surveillance

That’s what we should really worry about

The celebrity worry about superintelligent AI taking over and getting rid of us humans distracts our attention from a real-world fact: Artificial intelligence (AI) maximizes the opportunities while crashing the costs of corporate and government surveillance. Both have grown massively in recent years, with predictable results. The surveillants don’t by any means want to get rid of us. They want to take over and run our lives, ostensibly for our own good but certainly for theirs.

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