The Privacy Fiction
As much as I value and protect my own privacy, when the roles are reversed, I like to be Big Brother at every step of the way. Perhaps, that is why I go to some extremes when it comes to protecting my personal information, because I’m very aware the kind of “Big Data” collection and what will yield from data mining the habits of people on every aspect of their lives. As it turns out, defending the one is not sufficient, because you cannot police the entire [social] network.
Researchers from University of Heidelberg in Germany, have published their latest studies and findings, which fundamentally state that the intimate details not disclosed by an individual, “can nonetheless be inferred with high probability [of accuracy],” if the person’s network is sufficiently revealing. I suspected this was always the case, as people tend to be drawn to those with similar interests, alignments and preferences. Except now a group of scientists have confirmed this with good science, and demonstrated the math for extraction… and my fear, written a howto guide for potential exploitation. What’s
even better worse is to have the largest sample to draw from, in the form of Facebook. Or like CarrierIQ. Or dozens of other examples where this massive collection is taking place.
In this modern era of GPS-enabled, self-publishing and continously monitored life, it will be a struggle to find the balance between leveraging that derived information for good — such as urban planning and traffic management — vs. the bad, and become a revenue profile for marketeers. Please, no more ads. My daily life shouldn’t be simply another remote beacon for measurement. Despite my own efforts, my friends have sold me out unwittingly. The old adage is true: no man is an island. I am no exception.