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Old 08-17-2019, 09:57 AM   #1
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As a non-tech guy, following the news, I feel overwhelmed by what seems to me, the ultimate "Big Brother". In no particular order, a list of what I think I know, what I've heard, and what I understand.

Who are "they" tracking?
What are they tracking?
Why are they tracking?
... and who cares?

-- my computer, where it is
-- what I've watched, read, or am connected to
-- my location... computer, tablet, cell/smartphone
--where I am when I'm traveling (how?)
--what I'm saying out loud... Alexa or the internet in general.
--can they listen in on my phone calls?
--when I walk down the street, go into a store or the mall... an office?
--facial recognition... as of now... limited... five years from now?
--my location when I use my credit card
--my health... records that are shared
--health from on the person/at home recording devices... monitors etc.
--my history... birth to today... locations... schooling ,working, marriage,
--more history... credit, driving, all legal records, political persuasions,
--more history... virtually everything that's been written on-line to, and from
--more history...where I shop, what I've bought, where I've shown interest
--more history...politics and where I'm vulnerable to persuasion
--more history... almost infinite... fill in the blanks...

Tracking... where I am.. right now... where I was yesterday... a week, a year, or ten years ago. Almost minute by minute.

Just the very beginning... today, mostly "parts"... tomorrow, with more advances in AI, retrievable in a matter of second or less.

I'll let go now... am too old to be too concerned, but wonder about tomorrow.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:01 AM   #2
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First of all, who are "they"? And what is their interest in you?
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:02 AM   #3
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It is amazing what you can find out about someone, if you are motivated. Oh well.

Quote:
Who are "they" tracking?
What are they tracking?
Why are they tracking?
... and who cares?
Who are "they" that worries you?
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
First of all, who are "they"? And what is their interest in you?
I don't know.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by joeea View Post
It is amazing what you can find out about someone, if you are motivated. Oh well.
Who are "they" that worries you?

"...am too old to be too concerned, but wonder about tomorrow."
Oh, well...
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:48 PM   #6
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Thread reminds me of the Gene Hackman / Will Smith 1998 movie "Enemy of the State" if "they" could track you in 1998, just think what "they" know about you in 2019. :-)
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Old 08-17-2019, 04:14 PM   #7
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A really good book on the subject is Julia Angwin's "Dragnet Nation". Your questions are pretty general but here are some specific things I know "they" do:

1. Share information across sites. You do a search on Orbitz for hotels in Chicago and FaceBook will start showing you ads for hotels in Chicago. I once searched for and found electrolyte powder (to prevent and treat dehydration) on-line. I started getting ads for hangover cures. I realized it was the same stuff. "They" thought I had a bad drinking problem.

2. Share information across apps. Your FaceBook app knows what you searched for with your e-Bay or Amazon app. It's one reason I have only apps I actually use on the phone.

3. Target ads based on your location. You don't even have to enable the location sharing. I keep mine off unless I'm using the GPS but when I visit DS in Des Moines I get Des Moines- related ads- because that's where hsi server is located. I used to work for a company headquartered in Zurich and when I occasionally connected through their server I'd get ads in German.

4. Collect info about you based on our posts, your searches, your purchases, etc.When you sign onto a site, that pause before it loads is the time it takes for the site to tell advertisers what they know about you based on your activity (in my case, for example, woman in 60s, visits lot of travel sites, just searched for new sandals, clicks on lots of articles about retirement) and sell the spaces to the highest bidder.

Interesting but creepy stuff.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpguy4 View Post
Thread reminds me of the Gene Hackman / Will Smith 1998 movie "Enemy of the State" if "they" could track you in 1998, just think what "they" know about you in 2019. :-)
Pretty much everything...Orwell would be impressed.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
4. Collect info about you based on our posts, your searches, your purchases, etc.When you sign onto a site, that pause before it loads is the time it takes for the site to tell advertisers what they know about you based on your activity (in my case, for example, woman in 60s, visits lot of travel sites, just searched for new sandals, clicks on lots of articles about retirement) and sell the spaces to the highest bidder.
While it is true that the process quoted above happens, it is a lot faster than you think and doesn't really contribute to any pause that you might experience in any meaningful way. I believe it was in the range of 10 to 50 milliseconds several years ago and has probably gotten faster between then and now.

The pause is probably mostly due to overall Internet traffic travel time between you and the site's server, as well as overall server load, as well as generating the page data that gets sent back to you.
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:42 AM   #10
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Sometimes it's hard to discuss subjects beyond initial reactions, and back and forths. We're in to advertising, and that was the least of what I had hoped for.

Big Brother tracked everything we do. Two simple examples to expand the idea of tracking... both of which are available right now.

1. A shooting takes place on the Chicago Streets... (last weekend 46 shootings, and two murders)... Video cameras caught many and will result in some prosecutions. We haven't begun to place video cameras on sidewalks, stores etc... As refinements come in, crime will decrease or result in more apprehensions.

2. You're on your way to visit your sister. On the highway, at one point, you exceed the 65 mph speed limit by 5 miles an hour. Three days later, you receive a fine of $10. Pay up or contest... which you'll lose anyway.
.................................................. ...............................................

Stretch that out beyond criminality. Leave the house for a meeting with a good friend at the local bar. Wife checks her IPad, and calls the bar to tell the bartender you have to pick up the kids.

Called in sick, but the boss checks and finds you at the race track.

Your business checks your internet history, and finds that you've been visiting job search sites.

Anyone... read that again.... Anyone... who wants to know your financial status... can... Not only your financial history, but what you paid or spent today.

Use your imagination to consider what life will be like, when personal history and ID is merged with facial recognition.

I think we're getting close.
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Old 08-18-2019, 10:23 AM   #11
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More for humor... if "they" are watching me maybe I should walk backwards to make them wonder

I tell myself our government is so inept they won't be able to sort through all the data to find the useful bits. Much like the childhood joke "if you have a picture of the most wanted why did you let them go?"
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Old 08-18-2019, 10:43 AM   #12
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The way business and government solves a problem is sometimes eventually adopted by individuals. Perhaps it will become common this century for ordinary individuals, not just spies, to maintain multiple identities.
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:32 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
As a non-tech guy, following the news, I feel overwhelmed by what seems to me, the ultimate "Big Brother". In no particular order, a list of what I think I know, what I've heard, and what I understand.

Who are "they" tracking?
What are they tracking?
Why are they tracking?
... and who cares?
I you want to take this to the extreme, take look at the Chinese Social Credit System.

It's kind of like a FICA score for your behavior.
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Old 08-18-2019, 12:20 PM   #14
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I you want to take this to the extreme, take look at the Chinese Social Credit System.

It's kind of like a FICA score for your behavior.
Thank you:

I had NO idea!!!! After reviewing the Wiki article, I think it should be a mandatory read for everyone... not just members here on ER.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit_System

I was thinking maybe in 20 years... Finding out that it already exists and has been codified, is frightening.

Concentration of power to the detriment of the people, has always been pushed back... From the French Revolution, to marches on Washington, the will of the masses has overcome the threats. It appears that China has gone beyond words and selective choices of how to use power as has, perhaps, Russia.

Birth to death a narrow path... An incredible model. For me, beyond comprehension.
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Old 08-18-2019, 12:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Thank you:

I had NO idea!!!! After reviewing the Wiki article, I think it should be a mandatory read for everyone... not just members here on ER.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit_System
An article in wired that I found interesting:
https://www.wired.com/story/age-of-social-credit/

“Zhima Credit is the embodiment of personal credit,” the text underneath read. “It uses big data to conduct an objective assessment. The higher the score, the better your credit.”

and the State steps in:
"The State Council has signaled that under the national social credit system people will be penalized for the crime of spreading online rumors, among other offenses, and that those deemed “seriously untrustworthy” can expect to receive substandard services"
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Old 08-18-2019, 04:05 PM   #16
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I happen to have a very broad forefoot. Every time I order a size 7.5 Extra Wide pair of shoes online, I start getting ads for very wide women's clothing

Ghostery has helped a lot in this respect, although I do have to shut it down every time I want to order anything through a "bonus points" site.

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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post


4. Collect info about you based on our posts, your searches, your purchases, etc.When you sign onto a site, that pause before it loads is the time it takes for the site to tell advertisers what they know about you based on your activity (in my case, for example, woman in 60s, visits lot of travel sites, just searched for new sandals, clicks on lots of articles about retirement) and sell the spaces to the highest bidder.

Interesting but creepy stuff.
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Old 08-18-2019, 04:16 PM   #17
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Imoldernu - are you deliberately mixing legal and illegal searches? Because you seem to be lumping them together.

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Called in sick, but the boss checks and finds you at the race track.

>>Other than time-honored private investigator methods (e.g. having you followed), how does your boss find this out? Does he/she have a tracker on your phone?

Your business checks your internet history, and finds that you've been visiting job search sites.

>>Only if you're using the employer's internet connection, which they own, and therefore have a right to review.

Anyone... read that again.... Anyone... who wants to know your financial status... can... Not only your financial history, but what you paid or spent today.

>>>I guess you're thinking about people who hack into financial databases and steal that info? Because I have no idea how to get "anyone's" financial status or spending history, should I happen to want it. Even the FBI and CIA have to get court orders to gain that info. The credit bureaus are the other entities that have the right to monitor your financial activities, and of course they get hacked. But again, that's not legal.

I do know how to search for whether someone has filed for bankruptcy, or bought/sold real estate, since that's public record. But how much $$ they have, where they keep it? I have no clue.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:35 PM   #18
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A few more things: the US Postal Service has an image of every piece of mail (or maybe just first class) that goes through the system. Police cars have cameras that are constantly taking photos of passing license plates. Sure, it's harmless 99% of the time for those of us who aren't breaking the law- but it's still creepy.

mpierce mentioned the Chinese- there was a scary BBC podcast about the amount of surveillance they're doing for some of their minorities such as the Uighurs- all in the interest of public safety, of course. They're also requesting that Cathay Pacific (based in HK) use the cameras in their seatback computers to capture images in flight so they know who's flying (based on facial recognition software). Other airlines have admitted that their seatback computers have cameras because that's how they're configured, but they don't capture images.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:48 PM   #19
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Like in all instances everything is recorded. If and when you're merely suspected, all your data is reviewed and utilized by "them". You define them. Read some John Perkins books and many others. I've seen the strategies employed.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:11 PM   #20
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I have no fear of tracking, lots of better stuff to worry about.

And if you're really nervous, pay cash for everything. Cash, not debit cards.
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