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Personal data farming & trading. What is there to be afraid of? watch

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    Facebook/twitter/linkedin, might find themselves unencumbered legally in selling any data they might have collected from my posts/followings, etc.

    I don't perceive any direct impact on my beliefs, nor on my pocket.

    Front page of Guardian(today), other high profile articles on the same in other broadsheets, press in general, & leading items on BBC.

    Seems to be a continuation of a project fear against the use of social media sites.

    Maybe someone can enlighten me? What should I be afraid of?

    What is there about FB,twitter, etc that we should fear?
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    Facebook and twitter have become politically charged. They'll shut down any accounts that they smell "isms" out of. And that includes accounts that were used to create accounts on other sites.
    Similarly, posting what you think is a joke will likely get you into trouble because somebody got offended. And people with all the time in the world can track you down with whatever info you gave away. Freedom of speech my arse.
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    As above, these platforms are no longer simple service providers, they've grown into something far bigger with strange loyalties,

    Personal data is all fun and games till someone gets hold of it with a view to exploiting you. The wrong tweet can end a career/family in minutes now.
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    (Original post by StriderHort)
    As above, these platforms are no longer simple service providers, they've grown into something far bigger with strange loyalties,

    Personal data is all fun and games till someone gets hold of it with a view to exploiting you.
    How is it that they are going to exploit me?
    That's one of the several inferences that people make about this situation. I don't believe it. They (you) have been conned by the project fear. Convince me otherwise. Tell me how I can be exploited by 'them'.
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    (Original post by begbie68)
    How is it that they are going to exploit me?
    That's one of the several inferences that people make about this situation. I don't believe it. They (you) have been conned by the project fear. Convince me otherwise. Tell me how I can be exploited by 'them'.
    I don't quite follow the rhetoric tbh, you seem to be attributing a conspiracy theory to me than I didn't state. I'm sitting on facebook as I type this, i'm not exactly Project Fear, I just don't add info to it that im not happy being public...since it;s up to them whether it;s public or not.

    I didn't say 'them' I said ANYONE who might have an interest in making your life difficult/poorer, you can't think of any situations where you wouldn't be happy to have your supposedly private data out of your control?

    Like when you find out someone has taken out a truckload of credit in your name because they've had access to all your personal info to fill in the forms because facebook flogged your profile and PMs, then the bank tells you you're liable for the loss as the amount of person info used was highly suspicious?

    Or when you get called into the office at work and hit with disciplinary issues over something you posted privately and/or thought you'd deleted? You aren't quite sure how your boss saw that PM to a friend calling him a c*nt, but he sure has thanks to some dodgy workplace monitoring plugin.

    Or the more enterprising burglar who asks dodgyfacebookdataprovider for, oh lets see, a list of people within 10 miles who are elderly/on holiday, have no known contact with an alarm company and no family living within 5 miles...
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    how can somebody clone my identity through FB alone?
    ridiculous.

    (Original post by StriderHort)
    I didn't say 'them' I said ANYONE who might have an interest in making your life difficult/poorer, you can't think of any situations where you wouldn't be happy to have your supposedly private data out of your control?
    Quite frankly. No. In fact, I have more of an issue with people who have been given my details for various purposes, yet fail to effectively use that data.

    As for facing direct disciplinary action at work over something I said privately. Also ridiculous. On what basis can I get disciplined for expressing my opinion to a mate?

    Being burgled while on holiday because of FB? Again: another crazy notion. None of my friends, colleagues, or family (who are on FB/twitter/linkedin, etc) have been burgled. Most of them holiday frequently. And most of them are fairly active on social media.
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    (Original post by hello_shawn)
    Freedom of speech my arse.
    This completely idiotic interpretation of 'freedom of speech' smacks of stupidity and ignorance. And is becoming more and more common.

    You have the right to say (almost) whatever you want.

    You do not - and never have had - the right to use someone else's tools to say anything you like.

    Every site you sign up to has terms and conditions limiting what you can say and how you can use their site. If you've not read these and fall foul of the rules it's your fault, not theirs.
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    (Original post by begbie68)
    how can somebody clone my identity through FB alone?
    ridiculous.


    Quite frankly. No. In fact, I have more of an issue with people who have been given my details for various purposes, yet fail to effectively use that data.

    As for facing direct disciplinary action at work over something I said privately. Also ridiculous. On what basis can I get disciplined for expressing my opinion to a mate?

    Being burgled while on holiday because of FB? Again: another crazy notion. None of my friends, colleagues, or family (who are on FB/twitter/linkedin, etc) have been burgled. Most of them holiday frequently. And most of them are fairly active on social media.
    Ok everything is ridiculous, everything is crazy because it hasn't happened to you, I shan't waste my time trying to explain otherwise.
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    (Original post by StriderHort)
    Ok everything is ridiculous, everything is crazy because it hasn't happened to you, I shan't waste my time trying to explain otherwise.
    That's not what I meant.
    Clearly I think that your suggestions on how someone malicious might be able to use data farmed from social media are far-fetched. I gave you the example of my FB-using, regular-holidaying contacts as some sort of evidence to show how far-fetched/unlikely your suggestion is.

    And I understand that the fact it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't happen in the future. But I can't envisage it happening as you say. Such ideas/fears were publicised 10-15 years ago when FB/social media was a new phenomenon.
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    (Original post by begbie68)
    That's not what I meant.
    Clearly I think that your suggestions on how someone malicious might be able to use data farmed from social media are far-fetched. I gave you the example of my FB-using, regular-holidaying contacts as some sort of evidence to show how far-fetched/unlikely your suggestion is.

    And I understand that the fact it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't happen in the future. But I can't envisage it happening as you say. Such ideas/fears were publicised 10-15 years ago when FB/social media was a new phenomenon.
    It's not far fetched, it's happened.

    It might well be rare, but that doesn't mean it can't happen again.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    It's not far fetched, it's happened.

    It might well be rare, but that doesn't mean it can't happen again.
    so you're telling me that a bunch of thieving scrotes tapped up a data mining firm for a list of holiday makers, paid the data miners a wad of cash, and then went and rekkied the marks and did away with enough swag to make it worthwhile?

    seriously?
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    (Original post by begbie68)
    How is it that they are going to exploit me?
    Theoretical examples that can be backed up by proof that I'm too lazy to find:

    Facebook and other social media build a profile on you. They sell that data to advertisers. You are targeted in a very strong, very effective advertisnig campaign that causes you to make a purchase or do something you wouldn't otherwise do. You have been exploited. This is already happening because targeted advertising is a thing.

    A profile is built in you, continuing information in the public domain. It is sold on and used to conduct identity theft. You have been exploited. Again, already happening.

    Similar to above but instead of your data being sold, the entire database is hacked. Your personal data is now in the hands of malicious individuals. And again, already happening.

    AI is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. We aren't there yet, but at some point you'll be able to hand an AI a personal data file and it will be able to imitate an individual.

    You install a smart fire alarm. It has a light which turns on when it's dark and senses movement. Your kids go to the toilet in the middle of the night, causing the light to come on. The fire alarm beacons back and the manufacturer knows when your kids are going to the toilet. Exploited? No. Creepy? Absolutely.

    Are all of these likely? No. The fire alarm scenario is the least likely (although similar things do happen). However it does represent the wider issue. It's not always about whether something bad happens with the data, but more about why that data is shared at all.
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    (Original post by begbie68)
    so you're telling me that a bunch of thieving scrotes tapped up a data mining firm for a list of holiday makers, paid the data miners a wad of cash, and then went and rekkied the marks and did away with enough swag to make it worthwhile?

    seriously?
    Yup

    'House robbed after facebook posting' - 77million hits.

    How posting updates on social media could ruin your home cover

    Family's home burglarized after posting vacation status on Facebook

    The one simple act that puts you at greater risk of being burgled

    Infographic: 80% of robbers check Twitter, Facebook, Google Street View - Stats show that robbers check social networks to see if you're home.

    Do you see where i'm going with this? all this data is innocent enough till the wrong people get a hold of it, and we already know this data is sold with little consequence, and as insurers are pointing out, if people overshare on social media their cover is blown, it's deemed their own fault....how will the insurer know you've posted these things on facebook? because they've bought the same data.


    EDIT - apparently details change hands on the darknet and such v cheaply, esp if bought in bulk, few quid a name maybe, doesn't have to be wads of cash.
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    StriderHort

    What you're talking about here is a burglar happening to see or find out about a posting on FB. That's a different scenario to the one you presented before & isn't replying to the question in OP.
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    (Original post by StriderHort)
    EDIT - apparently details change hands on the darknet and such v cheaply, esp if bought in bulk, few quid a name maybe, doesn't have to be wads of cash.
    I'd honestly consider that to be expensive. You can get credit card dumps with hundreds of thousands of details for a couple of hundred. Naturally the fuller the profile, the more a profile is worth though. But as you say, wads of cash are not necessary.
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    (Original post by Acsel)
    Theoretical examples that can be backed up by proof that I'm too lazy to find:
    I think this is what I'm querying. Is there some actual, indisputable proof?
    Otherwise, we continue to believe that there might be, then project fear has won.

    In the same way, you're saying that advertising works. And maybe there are some stats that can be manipulated by the Ad Men (and women!) to say that advertising works in the way that you say it does.

    My opinion on advertising is that it informs me on options/opportunities about which I might otherwise not be aware. I'm grateful for that. But the decision on whether to follow through with a purchase is mine. Always after finding out relevant facts independently from the campaign materials. My views/opinions on branding is as much swayed by advertising away from a brand as it is towards a brand.
    I cannot speak for anybody else's views on advertising, or political campaigns, but I have a sceptical view of them. And I assume that other sane, intelligent people would follow a similar course of action.

    I understand hacking concerns. But my question was about farming and trading. Not hacking. That's a different situation & an obvious danger.

    As for a smart alarm, similar thing to smart meters, - again, those are different questions. Creepy definitely. And part of a data-farming whole picture, but not something to be fearful of in an exploitation way by themselves. P----d off though, because I'm being charged £200+ (per year?!) for a smart meter that i won't have and don't want/need. But again, that's different to the OP.
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    (Original post by begbie68)
    StriderHort

    What you're talking about here is a burglar happening to see or find out about a posting on FB. That's a different scenario to the one you presented before & isn't replying to the question in OP.
    I'm talking about them getting that data one way or another because you are no longer in control of it, wther they've seen it as a friend of a friend or been passed/bought it from someone else ...your data is being used to exploit you and is absolutely sold.

    All gathered data goes into databases and they can be given very specific queries one persons 'I'd like to see the best targeted demographic for my product marketing please' can easily become 'I'd like to search precise victims please'

    Houses are just a go to example , plenty more and as Acsel pointed out, identify theft is the big one, get someones social media profile and you can likely work out their personal details, address, other accounts, habits, family names, pet names, where they went to school, where they work....y'know, all those little extra details that are normally used to verify someones identify.

    One example springs to mind, about decade ago Jeremy Clarkson boasted that all this worrying about data was nonsense and ridiculous, and posted his bank account number and sort code boasting there was nothing you could do with them, he got hit with identify theft the very next day because he's left a crapload of other data lying about the place for them to complete the application Jeremy Clarkson's bank account hacked to prove a point
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    (Original post by Acsel)
    I'd honestly consider that to be expensive. You can get credit card dumps with hundreds of thousands of details for a couple of hundred. Naturally the fuller the profile, the more a profile is worth though. But as you say, wads of cash are not necessary.
    Likely true, yeah I was thinking along the lines that more detailed info might have a premium, but as said, we're not talking about a lot of money here.

    The small amount of time i spent looking at dark web sales and stuff years back did open my eyes a bit "100 credit card files of known suckers that don't check their statements, PM for free sample" *shudder*
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    (Original post by begbie68)
    I think this is what I'm querying. Is there some actual, indisputable proof?
    Otherwise, we continue to believe that there might be, then project fear has won.
    This is where things get a bit murky.

    Let's look at the Adobe hack as an example. Millions of credentials were leaked and it was a well known thing. Because so much data was leaked, it was reported on a massive scale. But what about individuals affected by it? The news won't report them. If you search for people affected, you'll see stories of the millions but it's very difficult to find someone who experienced loss as a result. That sort of stuff simply isn't reported.

    Then consider just how many data breaches there have been. Assuming your details are leaked, how are you supposed to know if you were compromised in one attack rather than another? Maybe 10 people all buy your data on the dark web. How are you supposed to trace who did it and where the leak originated?

    On top of that, consider things like banking. It is not in the banks interest to tell you that they've been hacked. They'll fix it behind the scenes and avoid publicity. So we can't possibly know.

    Now of course, that doesn't mean there's no proof. Google's entire business model is built on selling data and you can request all the information they have on you. That's common knowledge. And have you ever received a spam call and wondered how they got your number? Those are more real world examples.

    You won't outright find an article that says "My data was sold by Cambridge Analytica and now I have this problem". It's not nearly that simple and in many cases, there are other safeguards in place. But you can go on the dark web right now, and see databases of personal data for sale.

    It's an incredibly complex and modern problem that simply can't be boiled down to "here's some perfect proof". But I can guarantee you there are people who have had their identities stolen, their accounts emptied and so on. It's just very difficult to actually trace that back and say "oh it was because of this particular leak".

    (Original post by begbie68)
    In the same way, you're saying that advertising works. And maybe there are some stats that can be manipulated by the Ad Men (and women!) to say that advertising works in the way that you say it does.
    The problem with this line of thinking is that it basically becomes conspiracy theory crafting. You don't necessarily have to take things at face value but you can think through it logically. For example, I can go on Facebook right now and buy advertising space. I can run an advert that targets a specific demographic. I can choose things like age, location, likes and dislikes and so on. I can make this exceptionally tailored advert and Facebook will show it to the right people. To do that, they have to have profile data. Now we can either say that Facebook has profile data, the ads can be shown to those people and the system works. Or we can say that Facebook is lying and their entire advert business model is a scam.

    On a wider scale, there are plenty of stories about how people will search for something and 5 minutes later get an advert about it. Some would say it's a coincidence. Really, it's proof that advertising profiles work.

    (Original post by begbie68)
    My opinion on advertising is that it informs me on options/opportunities about which I might otherwise not be aware. I'm grateful for that. But the decision on whether to follow through with a purchase is mine. Always after finding out relevant facts independently from the campaign materials. My views/opinions on branding is as much swayed by advertising away from a brand as it is towards a brand.
    I cannot speak for anybody else's views on advertising, or political campaigns, but I have a sceptical view of them. And I assume that other sane, intelligent people would follow a similar course of action.
    And to an extent I agree. I don't hate all advertising. In some cases I've seen advertising that has improved my life. And I'm sure we both appreciate that advertising is a mixed bag.

    But you aren't going to represent everyone. Sure, some people will make rational decisions. Others will not. Do we consider advertising that takes advantage of compulsive buyers to be an ethically sound thing? Even those of us who make rational decisions don't do so 100% of the time.

    But a few other things to consider. A profile knows that you are a rational person and doesn't just display any old advertising to you. After some time, the profile knows what works and what doesn't. A detailed enough profile can therefore serve you adverts that you follow through on, 100% of the time. Or if you never click on adverts, they don't waste time advertising to you at all. There are plenty of less rational people to target instead.

    Additionally, I've assumed we are only talking about "safe" advertising. Subliminal messaging, psychological advertising, it can go far deeper. At a basic level, consider how a supermarket lays out it's stock so that you have to walk through aisles to get to what you want. Subconsciously you may buy more things. Clever online advertising can do the same sort of things and it's not as simple as "I'll just be skeptical and never click things".

    (Original post by begbie68)
    I understand hacking concerns. But my question was about farming and trading. Not hacking. That's a different situation & an obvious danger.
    I don't think you can have one without the other. Because hacking cases go hand in hand with data farming. Even if we assume that data farming is totally risk free and only serves to benefit people, hacking is still a risk. If you don't collect a ton of data, there's nothing to hack. Not to mention, since data changes hands, it's difficult to really draw the line between data being sold and data being hacked. In theory, anyone could have access to your data.

    (Original post by begbie68)
    As for a smart alarm, similar thing to smart meters, - again, those are different questions. Creepy definitely. And part of a data-farming whole picture, but not something to be fearful of in an exploitation way by themselves. P----d off though, because I'm being charged £200+ (per year?!) for a smart meter that i won't have and don't want/need. But again, that's different to the OP.
    Depends on your point of view, although it was more to make a point than anything. But let's look at it another way. Do you only fear data farming if it can be exploited? Why do you not value your personal data, or why aren't you bothered by random companies knowing more about you than you do?

    For the record, I'm actually closer to your viewpoint than the "protect all your personal data" ideology. I think there's needs to be a balance because there are drawbacks and negatives. For example, I have a rewards card at my local supermarket. I literally get free money out of doing things I'd do anyway. A friend of mine refused to sign up for one because he doesn't want to share his personal data. We weighed the risks differently.

    You describe it as a project of fear. But that fear is justified because there are real risks involved. Not being able to demonstrate them in a handy news article doesn't mean they aren't there. The entire premise is that we should be proactive rather than reactive. Because let's say that one day, your personal details are sold and you do actually suffer from it. Maybe you are a victim of fraud, or you fall for some advertising or something.

    At the end of the day, we are all weighing the risks and benefits differently. I totally agree, my personal data is not actually that valuable (at least not at the moment). In some cases, there are tangible benefits I get by sharing my personal data, such as targeted advertising that works. But the other side of that argument is why exactly should my personal data be freely available to someone else? And that's what really sums it up. Some people simply aren't happy with their details being shared with big companies. Others don't mind it. But those of us who are overprotective are unlikely to ever suffer a problem. Those who do share, may not be as fortunate.
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    (Original post by StriderHort)
    Likely true, yeah I was thinking along the lines that more detailed info might have a premium, but as said, we're not talking about a lot of money here.

    The small amount of time i spent looking at dark web sales and stuff years back did open my eyes a bit "100 credit card files of known suckers that don't check their statements, PM for free sample" *shudder*
    It's concerning what you can actually find. Of course just like any other site, you need to be wary of scams. Someone might buy a database of 100,000 records for £200, in the hope that a dozen or so actually work. Realistically speaking, a lot of the data is junk and the risk isn't as big as some might think. A lot of people are simply hoping to make a quick buck selling the record, regardless of whether there's any potential in it. The data industry as a whole is a good example of where it's best to sell shovels rather than dig for gold.
 
 
 
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