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Are you an information whore?

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  • Are you an information whore?

    The Internet has abstracted giving information away to the highest levels. That's made it a great breeding ground for experiments in collective information sharing and openness.

    I get the idea most people around here would rather go to great lengths to safeguard any personally identifying information. Thanks to strong crypto, privacy can still exist in this world of open information.

    Social bookmarking sites certainly give you a weird glimpse of yourself, and furthermore let you share that with the public at large. There you sit, some sort of linkmongering information node lingering in the interweb. But hey, think about what that collection of links reveals about you, especially if anyone knows who you are. Quite a bit, I'd suspect.

    Then there's bending over and submitting to the Google, which I've certainly done. I'm a user of Gmail, GTalk, and Google Docs. I suspect they know more about me than I know about myself! But hey, we can trust them not to be evil, right?

    I've decided to consciously go the route of openness and sometimes scare and surprise myself with how much information I emit. I sometimes wonder if, down the road, that information will somehow get back to me and cause me harm. I hope not but I'm sure some of it will.

    I think the problem with being an information whore is it's typically attributed to someone who spreads lots of personally identifying information without having a clue what they're doing.
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  • #2
    Re: Are you an information whore?

    I know people that use stupid pseudonyms on social networking sites like Facebook, and I really don't see the point.

    Hence, on such a site I'll stop short of posting my address and phone number, though occasionally on forums I list the state I live in. I won't hesitate to post my real name or a picture (though any discussion about the former is pretty rare), since there's very little of value that anyone with malicious intent could possibly gain from those things alone, especially as my name is relatively common (my last name is in the top 150 most common last names in the US). And, even if they could, why would anyone want to steal my identity? I have no money.

    I wouldn't classify myself as an information whore, because I've certainly thought about the amount of personal information I put out on the good ol' series of tubes. I've just come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter very much in my case.
    One Nation Under Surveillance
    "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength."

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    • #3
      Re: Are you an information whore?

      Originally posted by Samurai Drifter View Post
      I've just come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter very much in my case.
      I feel much the same - I put out a lot of info, and consider myself to be a poor target now.

      But I wonder - what about when I've got a good credit score, some assets, perhaps financial or social clout in the future? Will the crumbs I've left all over the internet matter? I have old addresses and phone number off of resumes, and all sorts of personal interests etc laying around.

      It also has made me paranoid of all of the memes that are so prolific on the blogging and social networking sites. I wonder if anyone has taken the time to ask all of those typical verification questions (mother's maiden name, name of first pet, first street you lived on etc) and linked them all together based on a user's email or IP or username... seems you could build quite a profile on some people if you spread them out enough and gave it time to populate...

      I always try to follow "don't be a target" - but I wonder if I'm presenting myself as low-hanging fruit?
      Stypica - The Autonimous Tominus
      Gullible people only use 10% of their brain...

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      • #4
        Re: Are you an information whore?

        these things are suitable for us or us-like internet provided countries. weblife as a trend of whole life is not so well-spread in post-soviet space and conjugated territory.
        features mentioned above are mainly exclusive but not common

        PGP Key ID:0x6113CBE6
        PGP Fingerprint:92AE C7A5 26B6 DD99 5688 84AD 5524 D919 6113 CBE6

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        • #5
          Re: Are you an information whore?

          Originally posted by Stypica View Post
          I wonder if anyone has taken the time to ask all of those typical verification questions (mother's maiden name, name of first pet, first street you lived on etc) and linked them all together based on a user's email or IP or username... seems you could build quite a profile on some people if you spread them out enough and gave it time to populate...
          I certainly fall under the paranoid category. I use different email/IM/communication addresses/providers for different aspects of my life and I keep them separate. I reveal as little information as possible when it is being posted publically (although there have been slip-ups). When it comes to personal questions, I always lie and keep a local database of answers to such questions.

          That being said, I don't believe that anyone will ever be able to link those personal questions and/or IP accesses together across disparate sites. The communication channels and motivations simply aren't there. The effort required would be pretty massive while the reward would be fairly insignificant.

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          • #6
            Re: Are you an information whore?

            Originally posted by Voltage Spike View Post
            That being said, I don't believe that anyone will ever be able to link those personal questions and/or IP accesses together across disparate sites. The communication channels and motivations simply aren't there. The effort required would be pretty massive while the reward would be fairly insignificant.
            I think Google would love nothing more than to data mine as many connections as possible from seemingly irrelevant information.

            It's already been shown you can identify people by their word usage patterns. You can identify individual Internet users by their "clickprint".

            My basic attitude towards the whole thing is that anonymity is going to go away thanks to improved data mining, or at least people who want to remain secretive or anonymous will have to work a lot harder to thwart increasingly powerful automated data collection and association systems.
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            • #7
              Re: Are you an information whore?

              I am not as elaborate or intuitive on the matter of data mining; for the mere fact I haven't researched the new technology, but I do have some input on the point of security and covering up any information.

              If you're trying to hide all of your information; anonymity has to be your best friend, imo you can't even be yourself if you want to maintain a true anonymous persona.

              I think bascule is right about "anonymity is going to go away thanks to improved data mining"

              Who would you guys say is the largest group of data miners; and what do they offer the government/public with their information?
              A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on.
              -
              William S. Burroughs

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              • #8
                Re: Are you an information whore?

                Originally posted by enven View Post
                Who would you guys say is the largest group of data miners; and what do they offer the government/public with their information?
                Google, and helping people find the information they're interested in
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                [ redacted ]

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