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Old 04-04-2016, 02:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Yukinomiya City, Fukushima Prefecture
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About that privacy stuff

I know I'm speaking to a userbase who really don't think much of privacy anymore. I can't really understand it myself - aside from illegal things, having no privacy is like being metaphorically (or even literally) naked. In the metaphorical case, anything you could potentially be embarrassed about, or discriminated against because, is public knowledge. In the literal case, you could be Erin Andrews as seen through a keyhole.

I bring this up because last night at work, a co-worker had NPR on, and I heard this lady talking about "the beauty of modern technology". This lady had a confidential website where individuals ask for questions about things. She and her husband then made the startling realization that they could turn the responses asked through their service into "data". They began correlating and tracing search queries, and were able to make connections.

There were two major correlations that upset me:

-they were able to identify secretly gay Mormons/LDS in Utah, and would contact community leaders that those individuals were suffering because of the oppressive environment
-they were able to identify teens with certain diseases, say, PTH dysfunction, and contacted school administrators to be supportive of the students during class periods when these problems surfaced

Let alone that the second one seems like a HIPPA (legal) violation to me, am I the only one who thinks that secrets about your body and person should not be disclosed by third parties to the people you're trying to keep it a secret from?? Assuming these people knew what they were doing and their correlations were accurate, this seems like a major confidentiality breach to me disguised as caretrolling. They throw in some superficially good intentions (which are not under scrutiny) as an excuse to leak private information.

What horrified me the most about this program wasn't that there were privacy violations here. I'm already desensitized to this due to the stranglehold Google Analytics has over the internet, and the NSA wiretapping. The numbing part of this program was NPR promoted, aired and glorified it. To me, this is the ultimate form of brainwashing, selling propaganda to the ignorant about how taking away their freedom and privacy is a wonderful thing.

It's disappointing to me that such extreme examples have to be offered for people to buy into the need for privacy. It's to the point that even black hat hackers can't evade the long reach of the law botnet - like what happened with AnonSec - because no matter how powerful a programmer you might be, you're still trapped in The Matrix.
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