I’m Your Private Dancer…reportyourex.com

Privacy can be defined as:  The state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people. As you read this, as I’m sure you’re all aware, the only way to enjoy ‘true privacy’ in let’s say: Michigan is to go off the grid and move out to a hollowed out log in the woods. With the squirrels as your co-workers and moss and berries your Taco Bell, you will be free from the ever increasing digital scrutiny of our age. I know what you’re thinking:  “But, I don’t want to move out to the woods. I’m a human being and therefore I require contact with other human beings to live a full, healthy life?” I’m thinking the same thing. As our readings for this class suggest it is virtually impossible to experience privacy today.

            Technological marvels like the internet and carrying around handheld computers that double as phones has changed the world. But I think it has made us too complacent. We can plug a credit card reader into our phones and order and pay for Cantonese take-out while on the toilet but we can’t prevent data sharing firms from tracking our purchases, analyzing our purchases as if our primary function on this earth is to provide consumer research to amazon, and selling the data to other data mining firms.

            Discomfort with purchase tracking and data mining are rather weak complaints, to be sure, when compared to the complaints to someone who lives in Haiti and must struggle to find fresh drinking water. Yet, I feel our complacency, and dare I say it: ‘laziness’(I’m lying on a bed eating potato chips as I write this. Come on!) have allowed data mining to occur with few obstructions. And this gives way to more sinister surveillance such as the recent AP phone tapping scandal. If enough people don’t make enough noise about their lack of digital privacy then nothing will change.

            My questions to you guys and gals are:

            Do you think we, as average citizens of the Midwest, do enough to thwart the surveillance efforts of data mining firms and even our own government?

            What actions could be effective against these powerful entities considering that data mining and surveillance is more or less legal?



13 thoughts on “I’m Your Private Dancer…reportyourex.com

  1. I really don’t see how anything can be done about information that is open to the public. Like I mentioned in my own blog, if you are putting yourself out there in any way, it is at your own risk! We can’t post stuff online and feel violated when you are willing putting your information out there. I don’t see how it is possible to stop it. It’s not like Facebook released all pictures posted. It isn’t Facebook’s fault if someone see’s something of yours. I think users just need to be aware of what they are getting into. I really don’t see what actions could be taken.

  2. I personally have done absolutely nothing to stop the surveillance effort of these firms and our government. I doubt the average citizen of the Midwest does much of anything either. Some people aren’t even aware of the fact that their information is being sold and their purchases are being tracked and even if they did some might not care enough to think twice about. Generally speaking we have become very complacent and yes lazy but that is because the internet is a convenience. The internet makes our lives easier and more enjoyable. Is that not what technology is meant to do? Given the laws of today on data mining, I doubt there would be any effective course of action other than people and politicians demanding change. I think as time goes on the world will have no choice but to really take a look at how we can come to common ground between privacy and free information. A wise man once said “Necessity is the mother of invention” and we as citizens of cyberspace will need better privacy options as information becomes more valuable. It may take that one big incident for people to take a true stand on this issue like when Magic Johnson announced he has H.I.V and the impact that had on H.I.V/A.I.D.S awareness.

  3. The only way average citizens could effect real change is by hitting the balance sheets of the big bad data mining companies and doing so would ultimately deny us the ease of clicking randomly for something that sparks our interest. It’s likely a price would be placed on each potential mouse click. As it stands now, all this “free information” at our fingertips is not free; we pay for it with pieces of our selves. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/technology/web-privacy-and-how-consumers-let-down-their-guard.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
    It would take a mighty large group to force that kind of change and I’m not convinced we could get full participation required from the compliant and lazy populous needed to accomplish this. So for now, we must remember, every click you make they’ll be watching you.

  4. I feel that I do take adequate steps to prevent the seeping of personal data to the internet. I say this obviously not knowing to what extent the government is tracking my every click, and buy, but I have nothing to hide, so come take a good look Uncle Sam. After taking a look around the internet for this weeks assignment I feel pretty confident about what I found. Relatively little personal data was out there, a few addresses, most of which were out of date, and a list of my immediate family, all things that you could have gotten 25 years ago before the wide spread of the internet and digital info. What I found is only what a private entity could find out about me.
    On the other hand the government has huge power and the authority to watch anybodies activity on the internet. The Federal Agency Data Mining Report Act was enacted in 2007. This act gives the government the right to survey all internet activity of citizens in the name of anti-terrorism. The automated system tracks all ingoing and outgoing travel and freight from the country while comparing them to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies databases looking for any discrepancies. This is very similar to the systems that private data mining corporations use, an automated machine tracking your every move on the internet and any data that is out there about why you may be doing that. If you think about it the whole thing sounds kind of like an George Orwell novel, 1984.(great author by the way)
    When it comes to the government I am not sure what you can really do to stop the information flow about yourself that they can get their hands on. The resources that they have at their disposal will make it almost imposable to legal avoid their gaze. I am sure you could live off the grid in some semi-legal way but good luck with that. Who wants to live in a cave some place? When it comes to the data mining companies I think that taking a few steps to protect yourself can make a huge difference. The biggest one is pay attention to who it is that you are giving your info to. Read who the emails are sent from, and make sure that no third parties are tossed in as a CC or some other secondary receiver, and determine if the info that they are asking for is necessary for the service that they are providing. Does your travel agency really need your SSN to book a trip for you?

  5. I really don’t think that citizens do enough to do anything about data mining firms, but I really don’t think there is able to be done. I think people just need to realize what information they are exactly putting on the internet and how secure they feel when doing so. If they don’t feel secure on putting their information on a certain website, just don’t. Maybe, if enough people send enoughletters or petitions to the state or federal government complaining, that could do something. Although, I really doubt this would be effective unless a huge amount of people start complaining. Ultimately, people should just realize that information about them is going to get on the internet and be given to companies, whether they like it or not.

  6. Personally I don’t think we do enough to product ourselves online. Your example of whipping out a credit card and sliding it through a device on your phone is a good one. People are so carefree nowadays that they don’t think of the consequences of swiping their card on their phone or someone else’s. We all want to believe the internet is our friend and wouldn’t do anything to harm us, but that mentality must stop.
    Sure, maybe it’s not the internet out to get us, but some of the people on it are. Is there a real purpose in hacking people’s information and stealing their identities? No, but people do it anyway because they don’t care and get to spend other people’s money.
    I don’t like data mining, nor do I think it should be legal. It’s a point I’ve brought up many times before on Twitter and in our first project. Why should some random person, wherever they are in the world, be getting paid to collect and sell my information? It’s just not right in my opinion. Sure, it’s probably not a big deal that someone sees I bought a pair of sandals, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
    The whole problem is we don’t know how to stop it or regulate it. However, I do feel like there should be a way people can opt out of it, kind of like the “do not call list” for telemarketers. Of course it’s not going to be 100%. I know my family is on that list and we get calls still, but it definitely would help cut it down. People should be informed of what kind of information is collected about them and they should be able to choose to have that information shared.

  7. As Americans, we do almost nothing to stop our constant surveillance. The sites we use on a daily basis track our every move, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Sure, some people set their Facebook profiles to private, but that’s really not the issue we are dealing with here. At this point data mining is the issue up for discussion. The articles about this on Ctools were rather informative as I really never gave much thought to the subject. Here is some additional info on the subject http://www.sqldatamining.com/index.php/data-mining-basics/history-of-data-mining. I don’t know of any way to opt out of this, so it fair to assume I am always being watched. Really, it doesn’t seem so bad at the moment, but it has the potential to become a huge issue. I believe that this is how the real big brother begins. I honestly have no clue how to prevent this from happening either. The real issue arises though, when the government steps in. should they be placing laws on this data mining that citizens are so scared of? In reality we should be worried about them data mining us! Politicians may act like Spokeo and other data mining sites are a huge privacy issue, but they use the same techniques to keep an eye on people. To some extent, this is fine because it keeps citizens safe when the “bad guys” can be caught online before committing crimes or acts of terror. On the other hand though, there’s nothing in place to keep them from spying on peoples everyday lives as far as I can tell. Here’s a video about the government using data mining for good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNQDTd08Iao While there’s nothing truly outrageous being done by the government in this field, there is also nothing to stop them from doing so in the future, which should truly scare you.

  8. There is not much we, average citizens, can do to stop outsiders and the government from taking our information. The only thing we can do is to be more aware. I’m sure the majority of people do not have a clue that this sharing of information even happens in the real world. It is actually really scary to think about. I’m aware of what happens and yet I still enter my credit card number on websites when I make online purchases. I do always wonder about who is going to see that information and if it will save, but it still has not stopped me from shopping online. The more these powerful entities partake in data mining the more difficult it will be to come up with punishments.

  9. I laughed when reading this question because we do not at all. Every one openly gives out personal information about themselves on a daily basis. And I do believe people now a days know that their information is being spread across the internet. We don’t do anything to oppose it, if we did, I am sure we would have heard about it by now and people would stop giving so much personally information out on the internet. Well it is an invasion of privacy and I am sure if someone wanted to take a stand against it, we could do something about it. But that would take a lot from us citizens. It couldn’t just be a small group of people.

  10. There really isn’t a way to stop people from analyzing our purchases or most frequented pages. There are always people monitoring the IP addresses that are on their sites and who’s purchasing what. People are always putting their information onto the internet, and even just visiting different pages is enough to give firms an idea of who you are and what you like. The only way that this could be stopped would be for people to stop using the internet. And im pretty sure that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

  11. If you really wanted to stop the information from flowing, you wouldn’t have put it out there. I mean, many of us use it to our own advantage, as long as it isn’t our own. But There’s people who have no computer, and no access to the web. They have no means of troubling themselves, so this whole data mining is no issue. It’s only an issue for us who put it all out there. As long as there is information coming in, and as long as there is information being used, nothing is going to change. Simply buying something on amazon seems to send all of your ads on every webpage into a certain direction. But the finger points back at you.

  12. I don’t think we as average citizens in the Midwest or any other part of the country do enough to thwart the surveillance efforts of the data mining firms and our own government. I say this because as long as we have Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Vine and all these other apps were post our daily activities on active our information that we hope to be “private” is flowing in a public data sea. I don’t think that we have much power against these corporations considering they have gripped the internet so tightly and have made it such a necessity that we won’t stop using their services and if they don’t charge us, then they won’t hesitate to sell our information to make some profit and make the stock brokers happy. The internet is a business, and as long as it is one there will be a constant flow of information for cash, privacy has been taken from us, and even if you still lived in the woods and ate berry’s somehow someone would of tweeted about you and the world would still know what you are doing.

  13. I don’t believe we do enough and I believe its because people are not aware of the data mining firms. Also laziness is a factor. Who wants to stand in lines, deal with strangers attitudes and get out of bed. The internet puts the world in your hand or lap, but by taking advantage of this we increase our information being mined. Ways to decrease your virtual footprint you can get dressed, deal with people and fill out a form with a pen.

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