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oh noes internet privacy

i'm tired as all hell, but if i don't write about this now i never will. i'm not going to do a good job of it beacuse of said tiredness but that's okay because it will take the edge off of the zero punctationness/charlie brookerness of it to a degree which will probably get old to people if i keep on writing like that too much.

rolling news channels have always bothered me. the sort of thing that they tot out as news tends to be sensationalist and manipulative in an effort to get people to continually glue their eyes to their channel even if there's nothing there that's actually relevant or, oh, true. Charlie Brooker did a great episode of sceenwipe about the problems with rolling news channels and then decided that his general disdain for them needed its own series "newswipe". They're plastered on youtube at least in bits, and are worth a watch to get a healthy perspective on what they're really about.

i was in the laundromat the other day and it happened that the telly was showing CNN. the volume was on pretty loud too, so it was difficult to ignore, and it was too hot to go outside for any extended period of time. argument next time to bring headphones.

one of the stories was a reporter that was doing a Shocking New Study on Internet Privacy. She, the reporter, was trying to say this: "i'm a reporter, sure, but generally i'm a pretty private person. i don't like to put a lot of information about myself on the internet even though i do have a profile as it relates to me beng a reporter on the CNN website and i have a twitter. *insert headscratch* and it's shocking that despite the fact that i have so little information on the internet how easy it is to find out something about me."

she then went on to explain the vague example. She said that just doing a search using "Just my name and my email address" she tried to see what information was actually out there. She also gave that information to some sort of tech information extractionist expert or something to see what he could find. "and the results were shocking."

she used "shocking" a lot.

Based on all of this build up, you'd think maybe what she'd discovered was that some terrifying secret or level of intimate information that was out there for the world to see and she'd never be able to put herself in front of the camera again with the implication that anyone on the internet who has ever looked up the definition of the word "wanker" on dictionary.com would be discovered and arrested on the basis of maybe but not really heading down the road of being a sexual pervert.

in fact, what she said was something like this: the search pulled out some stuff that was true about me and some stuff that wasn't. it was able to accurately find out my religion, what high school i went to, and my sister's name. it also found my phone number, address, and *insert something else more sensitive here*, but thankfully that information was all false.

*blinks*

the end of the whole story was her saying something like, "the internet can find out information about you. some of it may be false, but some of it may be true, and regardless, there are people out there that are using all of that information that could affect you." she actually had a i'm-concerned-for-you look on her face when she said this and managed to finish the whole thing without bursting out laughing.

the whole thing felt kind of like the equivalent of this: i see you walking out of your house. from this i can deduce six facts: 1) this is where you live. 2) you have kidnapped children tied up in your basement. 3) your hair is brown. 4) you're actually a super hero. 5) you get the New York Times delivered to your house since you just picked it up from the end of your driveway. 6) you're divorced and am very bitter about it.

sure, there are certain things that people can figure out if you leave your house. and there are things that they may assume that are false because there's no real place that that information exists. but it doesn't really matter. and what are you going to do then, just never leave your house?

i mucked this up, but you get the idea.

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Comments

( read spoken (2) — speak )
taren_
Jul. 1st, 2011 03:44 pm (UTC)
So... slow news day, eh?
lifeofmendel
Jul. 1st, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
i think it was more like she had an idea for a story, she was going to reveal how posting a lot of stuff about yourself could be So Dangerous! and then the research just fell flat but they already invested in it, so uh oh, i guess i'd better come up with *something*.
( read spoken (2) — speak )

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