Today, after much investigation, I've come to a hypothesis that technology's purpose is to gently erode the concept of "self" as it grows in power and scope. We drive this growth, but at the same time more than a few of us worry about how the growth is affecting our "right" or "natural state" of privacy to be who we want to be without blame or for someone speaking (in aggregate) to what our actions may hold in the future. It seems obvious privacy is a good thing, because as long as privacy exists someone can't take your information and do things in private with it as they see fit. The more tech they have, the more they can do with your data and the more they can "invade" your privacy.
Facebook's accumulation of information is concerning, not so much from the standpoint of the addiction that causes us to contribute to the quantity of data, but from the standpoint of collective thinking that arises from it.
I don't want to be part of a collection or be told to think with the collection. I want to be me and think about things that are important to myself. I want to do that without anyone else telling me how to think about it or speaking for what I know at a later date without knowing me.
Exactly, although it's being done in a roundabout and non-obvious way. There are millions of tech folks, all (in my mind) honestly trying to create technology to empower folks to do things they've never done before.
But the beauty of tech is generalization, creating cookie-cutter choices. Everything we do, and in ever way we interact with tech, it's more and more leading us down pre-canned behavioral pathways. Even when completely unintended, the place where tech is taking us unless we drastically change our ways is something like the commodification of the species. It's a freaking horror show.
The Borg are going to go from sci-fi super villains to an accurate description of our great-grandkids in just a generation. Amazing.
Will the last human please go outside and do something unique?
I deleted my Facebook in high school in 2010 also, out of paranoia of this exact future. The problem is that if someone sums over the comments I make on other media, they could deduce my identity anyways. In the big picture Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, HackerNews, etc. are all in the same boat. I imagine there exists software which sums over many common sources (FB, TW, HN, IG, YT, RD, etc.) to find correlations in prose structure, post time patterns, topic similarity, sentiment similarity, etc. to identify people, or at least reduce the search space. The NSA would likely use such software, if it existed.
Now sidestep to phones. Nation states can tap into your calls and to your location through the GPS info tied to your phone. So if you want your calls to be anonymous you pay cash for a burner and only turn it on and use it in large crowds. Ok, that seems ok, but burner phones are specifically targeted since they are more likely to be associated with behavior a government would want to track. So now what happens is as soon as the burner comes on you are triangulated, phones near you are identified and these are used to start to pinpoint who you are. Social media of everyone near the burner can be mined. Over time if you continue to use the same burner the higher likelihood of being identified.
But these figurative "burners" are everywhere. Little, tiny, seemingly untraceable ticks, invisible to the naked eye. Computers are telescopes in the bit world, eyes on us at all times. People don't seem very concerned. You can't just pour water and sand over your digital footprints to erase them... I would not be surprised if FB held on to my data 7 years after I deleted my account.
You're describing a kind of 'tell' I think. Still an interesting point you make.
 Sorry for the google ref link but I have fb hosts blocked and couldn't find an easy way to just copy the actual link:
The link to permanently delete is only found inside help articles.
Centralized corporate-style internet services may achieve that, but many other kind of technologies strive for and achieve the exact contrary. I'm thinking of all the free (as in freedom) social networks that allow people to express their true self, to say what they can't say in their outside social life.
Two aspects necessary for these types of communities to exist I think I've identified are: 1. having a persistent identity that isn't linked to your real life one, and 2. having minimal moderation (either hierarchical or caused by mob mentality). Basically the opposite of Facebook.
Or do you maybe think putting up your information on that open and permanent graveyard that is the web could put you at risk, someday?
If not, then I envy you, but you're not the norm, nor can you guarantee that your environment always be this supportive. What's guaranteed though, is that the databases will still be there.
That's how novel artistic and political movements are born, from people not being afraid to share "offensive" ideas. "Secret online alter egos" allow you to discuss ideas that you couldn't have considered otherwise, and because we humans tend to restrict our thoughts to our field of possibilities, these alternate identities will actually make you have more of these creative ideas.
Of course you can keep all that to yourself and either continue living the life that society has prepared for you, or try alone to change it, but that's pretty limiting.
No, it's up to the person who likes give up as much information as possible that you hang around. "Hey, I ate lunch with ikeyany today", now held in Facebook and Instagram forever. "Tagged: ikeyany" in the wedding photos of your friend.
Even if you're a digital hermit, you'll still be found and categorized, since everyone else seems to love giving up all their personal information.
I closed my account yesterday for these reasons and also because, I can honestly say, it's just a boring distraction and waste of my time.
LinkedIn does this as well. I don't know about others.
Or you can go the full ban hammer route and add all of facebook's known domains to your hosts file.
 - https://github.com/jmdugan/blocklists/tree/master/corporatio...
Even if you haven't signed up for a facebook account but someone you know has an account, they by proxy, you have an account. Merely existing as a contact in their address book is enough to create a shadow profile with facebook. Their deep-learning algos can collate such data from all your friends and serve you correspondingly appropriate ads.
In fact, I just thought of an experiment that you could try sometime.
1. Buy a new cellphone number and store a small number of contacts (say, about 5) in your phonebook. Make sure all 5 of them have functional & active FB accounts.
2. Install the FB app on the phone and grant it access to your phonebook.
3. Open the app, create a new user and check out the list of suggested friends.
I think you'll be surprised.
As the original commenter said, LinkedIn seems to be even worse with this, creating those spooky empty default accounts for your grandmother or your child's best friend's dad.
I think there will be a backlash against all this - surely it is a case of diminishing returns for the social media corps, combined with an ever-growing sense of _unnecessary_ intrusion by their users?
If person D some day decides to install, say, WhatsApp (or even if he had it before Facebook acquired it), it also has his text messages, and photos shared through said app. It can all be linked to that shadow profile with that phone number. If D at some point typed his email-address into WhatsApp, or signed up at some site that shares data with Facebook, it's also easily linked to that shadow profile.
A bit unrelated to your broader point, but I recently dropped my phone and shattered the camera lens, and have been astonished at how much less I'm using social media. It's even more surprising because I don't actually post that much and don't take a ton of photos relative to others.
Within seconds of posting this picture of the machines, my friend was getting targeted ads from the manufacturers of those devices - within seconds!
This was a watershed moment for us. We won't be posting much to Facebook in the future .. far too scary for us!
I went to a bar, where a band was playing on stage... After a while I realized I know the drummer. I played with him before, in another band, years ago. We had a beer, chatted a bit and went home.
Now, we hadn't posted any pictures, nor statuses, we have no mutual friends on facebook, no connection at all... Heck, Facebook DIDN'T EVEN EXIST when I last saw him.
The second I got home the app suggested him as a friend
Gosh this was scary.
That's a whole other can of worms, of course.
All the other people that it suggests that I friend where I have no idea who they are, I wonder where the association came from...
I have her email address in my contacts which has been shared with WhatsApp.
Curiously, there should be no way to directly link my FB account with WhatsApp. I haven't shared my mobile number with FB, and I haven't shared my FB account email address with WhatsApp. Somehow they have tied the two together.
I've never installed any other FB app on my phone, and my FB account is only a month old.
I found that particularly chilling. The friend suggestion doesn't have my email address nor mobile number, and we live in different countries. I'd love to figure out how they did it. I even use a pseudonym on FB.
It's the same with facial recognition - to avoid it, it's not enough to never post your pictures, you'd also need to ensure that noone who knows you would ever tag you in some picture they have.
1. Location matching - both your apps detected you in the same place for an extended period of time. Maybe you guys had mutual friends in the music community?
2. Microphone. They have since refuted that claim, but I've had way too many coincidences and I'm choosing to keep my tin-foil hat on... :/
I presume you didn't post anything about the "event" to facebook (I've seen "Person is going to attend Blah" posts before) or "check in".
Advertising is such a racket.
Facebook: In the week we exposed the user to the add, the user posted a picture of your product. We made that sell for you!
Advertiser: Say no more, take my money!
Facebook: (smiles smugly)
It's like a conversation I saw last week, that video ads pay out to the provider/site even if the user only sees one second of it before pressing pause or the back-button.
The most uncomfortable angle is just how quickly Facebook tuned into what we were doing and then changed its ad-delivery algorithm to match. I have one friend who had his picture taken in front of a headshop - he now gets regular ads for bongs and smoke accessories, even though he's not a user. So, that's also quite discomfiting ..
This assumes that your and Facebook's intent and interests are aligned. Clearly they are not. Why you posted your picture onto someone else's database is relevant primarily to you, and perhaps also to some subset of your friends.
You're not obligated to turn that process into a money-making proposition.
As Eben Moglen warned us a long time ago  the arrangement between you and Facebook (et al) is neither complex nor confusing:
You get some PHP doodads and you get spying for free all the time.
For example, I have a friend who has never been on any social media. If he wanted to opt out of the surveillance apparatus, he still would have to address: collection of phone metadata, browsing history, traffic cams, other CCTV, financial paper trail, probably more I'm missing.
I argued that the one thing we had some limited hope of shaping was cultural attitudes and public policy towards this information and how it is applied.
I must say that the current climate of everybody tearing each other apart on social media is so far not encouraging.
The rest of it was about the more concrete benefits, like improved traffic, logistics, labor and resource allocation.
When you're the advertiser, sure. When you're the target, not so much. Do you really want billboards speaking to you as you walk down the street? Making suggestions based on your recent purchase history or activities and personal associations?
Just because advertising technology can achieve greater powers of reaching people, doesn't mean we need or want advertising woven into the fabric of our existence more than it already is. You can opt in to that if you want, I'm staying well clear.
It's something to rationaly know it, it's totally different to experience it in real life !
I would like to come up with some powerful (frightening) examples of why the data collection going on is so dangerous, and why people should be worried and careful.
Depends on whether you're a fan other other people making your choices for you, I guess.
It used to be that the law couldn't catch up with the fast change in technology, now it's us the people that can't keep up. All my friends using Facebook don't comprehend what is going on, it's just pictures right? The idea that FB is creating highly detailed profiles of every user, and selling them to anyone who will pay, is just dismissed as a joke. What good can come from this I wonder.
They (facebook) are the middle men - people who have money come to them to sell their product, and facebook knows who to show those products too.
your friends (and mine, and a huge percentage of facebook's userbase) trust facebook enough for that to happen.
And it does not help anyone's cause when people say "X company (be it Google, Facebook etc.) are selling your info".
Whenever someone asks "what nefarious thing is this company doing with my data?" the answer is rarely "something really, really bad!". Rather, it's almost always "trying to sell you something".
FBI (via NSL):
"Hey FB, show me all the posts from right-wing pro-gun users in within 20 miles of X because we think there's something going on near there".
"Hey FB, show me all the people with pictures taken outside the US with Middle East looking faces/names who are living in South East Michigan".
And I think that, in turn, is holding the law back further. If people don't understand why something is a problem, they don't care and nobody is going to waste time evolving the law to protect them from harms they don't even know are occurring.
Even if you are paying, you are still the product. More-so if the company is a startup waiting for a buyout.
But that doesn't mean that I believe I am not on Facebook.
I am pretty sure that Facebook are able to construct most of the shell of me from fragments provided by less careful friends or just strangers.
I imagine, and do not believe I am wrong, that Facebook have a ghost profile already with photographs of me already associated, some preferences and interests already in place.
A montage almost indistinguishable from the whole, or perhaps in some respects better... have they got to 3d models for their Oculus universe yet?
They probably know my name, am I even a necessary part of that picture? What's missing?
I'm not arguing in defense of Facebook, I just don't understand what someone that's privacy-minded would want. If I can legally take a photo, should I not have the right to have a company analyze that photo on my behalf?
If you accept that people do have this right the logical conclusion is then you are infringing and causing harm to them by taking their photo and sharing it with Facebook. If you don't think people should have that right, I am not convinced there is any infringement going on and this creepy database is just the inevitable end result.
When you add a friend just append new pubkey encrypted symmetric key for each asset. Friend removal is even more expensive and requires the client side to reencrypt everything :(
I'm sure there are better cryptographic constructs out there with multi key encryption that can alleviate some of the insertion and removal costs.
You could do it with decent trade-offs for the content provider as well. You could obfuscate everyone else's face but yours and allow them to get access to that image and then just encrypt the map for your friends. Of course then it's all about just creating enough mock accounts to recover the full images throughout the graph. Or just take custody of a user's keys in exchange for features.
Still though, it's marginally more expensive to build a mass surveillance app!
Even if there were laws, it would be impossible to show whether or not they are (or aren't) complying.
I guess my point is, how would such a law be crafted to be a) reasonably enforceable and b) not impede on the rights of users who want such services
I think the answer's obvious -- replace Facebook with an entity, hypothetical at present, that's controlled by its users, not a corporate board of directors whose loyalty is to themselves and to stockholders, people for whom subscribers are a product being offered up for sale.
I'm obviously speaking hypothetically -- there's essentially zero chance for such a thing, given the modern Internet and the current political environment.
> If I can legally take a photo, should I not have the right to have a company analyze that photo on my behalf?
The unasked question is whether the analysis is carried out on your behalf.
That's an example of a false choice. It's not a choice between corporate ownership of our information on one hand, and a failed governmental system on the other (which Communism certainly is). People being in control over their information isn't the same as eliminating capitalism. Those issues are orthogonal -- one can have freedom of opportunity alongside respect for personal privacy.
As an example, consider medical information and the rules for its dissemination. No imaginable corporate entity is so potentially rapacious as a hospital, yet the rules for dissemination of medical information are very strict, such that to reveal patient information to a third party without the patient's consent is grounds for immediate dismissal.
Oh really? And who would build that "benevolent" AI? A lot of things that may be benevolent for you may not be so benevolent for others.
Here's hoping 2017 is the year it gets scaled up, because it would sure be profitable, with the right implementation.
1) "Gevulot" in the book Quantum Thief. There are laws that allow you to control the spread of information about you. Digital technology without the 'DRM' that enforces these laws is banned (and yes, the book does explore the obvious problems with this). I've written more on this at http://www.bayleshanks.com/notes-computer-gevulot
2) "Friends of Privacy" in the book Rainbow's End. A charitable organization creates a zillion fake identities with your name so that someone getting a credit report for you, looking for you on Facebook, etc, gets a lot of hits, all indistinguishable from you, and all filled with lies.
Most people in Europe actually still think face recognition is useless (like how speech recognition was useless until very recently) because they haven't experienced it on Facebook.
Regulating against it would be reasonable. What's the utility to the end user?
They have algorithms analyzing your photo. The solution is to run the algorithms on your computer.
Doesn't that defeat the purpose? The whole reason Facebook is able to do what they do is that they have existing tagged photos that I may not have access to. I don't need to train Facebook to know what my friends look like. If I have to do extra work to tag my photos, I'd might as well be manually tagging them.
And the idea that someone who I haven't shared my photos with can still use them to tag me in other photos is not something that I would describe as a feature.
If you are storing any PID of EU citizens, regardless of your jurisdiction, that will come under GDPR very soon (not sure how that impacts social publishing, photos, info gathered in public vs private places, or if it has a get-out clause etc but mentioning it as an example)
Republicans in Washington state have proposed a plan to
reclassify as a felony civil disobedience protests that
are deemed “economic terrorism.”
All supposition on my part of course.
The neural network is all confused and now it tries to tag the wrong people.
If that scares you, you should think about how we can protect ourselves from tyranny without anonymity.
FB might not be worth the trouble for you, but assuming someone really wanted to continue using it under a fake name, isn't this a viable option?
1. Created a fake account in one country and used it a few times, then many many months later I tried to login from another country and Facebook promptly required government-issued ID.
2. Created another fake account and changed the E-mail address after a few days and Facebook promptly required government-issued ID.
It makes me really happy that so many are deleting their Facebook account, or at least trying to use it less.
10 years later I still don't get the point of these articles besides fear mongering and at most to provide a technological challenge to engineers and developers on "the other side". I understand ad-blocker companies are fighting a messy war right now with both content and ad providers. I guess that is another way, albeit much slower, way to achieve progress. Hacking goes both ways.
This is not the point. The point is:
Information in the wrong hands can become dangerous, period.
People change. Companies change. You have no guarantee Facebook will preserve the vision they have right now. You have no guarantee their new CEO won't have a different opinion... (wont be a "Trump").
Also you have to realize, how much pressure from authorities they have to handle. A Russian friend of mine (I'm originally from russia) used to work for "VK" which is (was) the biggest social network there. They literally got calls from surveillance agencies on a daily basis. At some point they were unable to fight the pressure and surrendered, the CEO was forced to resign and leave the country (Pavel Durov, he runs Telegram now), the stock were sold and the social network is basically controlled by the government now.
I do agree the article is a bit over dramatic. But that's just to gain attention from non-tech crowd I guess, who continue to happily post kitten-pics without thinking of the consequences.
The usual term of accusation was called: "Agitation and propaganda" for the imperialist/capitalist regimes.
So, why you might have been squeak clean, if your friend, or your cousin was not, then you were considered a problem just by association. When somebody got in jail, their whole family got 'interned' (means, they uproot the family and send them in some remote village). Doctors had to work farm fields, etc.
If you were just a cousin, or close friend then you were marked as a problem with not a clean history or biography. If you wanted the nice job, or good education, you would be rejected for it.
It seems like a far fetched distant dystopian reality, but during 1950-1990 was reality in half of Europe. Also, a reality in the US the 50s with McCarthyism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism
This isn't something that went away with fall of the Wall, it came back with a vengeance in western world under the guise of Patriot Acts, Anti-Terorrism acts and it's in many ways significantly worse than it was under KGB and STASI.
The reason I do not kill myself is hope, that I'll be able to get off here one day. That and antidepressants.
And please also post your passwords to Facebook and bank accounts.
On a more serious note, are you potentially related to anybody Muslim or Jewish? Have you ever posted political comments or links? Are any of your acquaintances hardline left or right wingers? All sorts of seemingly harmless things today will get you on a list tomorrow.
It's impossible to say that you don't have anything to hide, because you don't even know yet today what you may need to hide tomorrow.
Why would I give it to you? I don't understand that argument. If I say "I don't really care if a bird poops on me", does it mean I want birds to poop on me? Just as I won't stop going outside due to the risk of being pooped on, I won't stop using Facebook just because there's a risk of someone obtaining my data.
Do you have Jewish ancestry?
Of course the next "Hitler" probably won't be after Jews. Next time it would be Muslims or immigrants or Stalinist purges of anyone who disagrees with the administration.
You don't know today what opinions would get you put on a list tomorrow.
And if you've never said anything that anyone could ever find objectionable, you're probably doing something wrong.
Good luck proving you're not one of the targeted groups to someone in power who's not interested in your proof.
The primary goal is to prevent a system that can target anyone, but it is a historical fact that we have not always been able to achieve that goal. What happens then?
I didn't miss it, I deplore it. True "defense in depth" puts all civil rights aside. "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin.
> What happens then?
Citizens fight back. The outcome that tyrants dearly wish for is a population that simply doesn't care, or that can be frightened into submission. It's my hope that we're not that population.
Even token resistance is better than none at all.
It seems, then, that the part you're missing is that in authoritarianism the authoritarians are the government? The entire concept of civil rights in general and privacy in particular is as a defense against a bad government.
> Citizens fight back. The outcome that tyrants dearly wish for is a population that simply doesn't care, or that can be frightened into submission. It's my hope that we're not that population.
Except that you didn't object to Facebook having all your information, so when the jackboots march in and seize their servers, they get everything they need to know to identify anyone with the inclination to resist and can dispose of them before they can organize.
Very benign things can activate very discretionary things in other people.
There are 7.4 billion humans on this Earth, and not all of them have the opportunities you do.
Also, I don't understand comments like yours. It seems like a fallacy. Just because you "have nothing to hide" doesn't mean you want everyone to get your whole file just for the sake of it.
Also, I don't understand comments like yours. It seems like a fallacy. Just because you "have nothing to hide" doesn't mean anyone should get your whole life just for the sake of it.
"...even if the next Hitler would get all my Facebook data I still don't care personally."
Sorry, i'm downvoting your post as you clearly seem to be trolling.
You seem to think it's black or white: either you want everyone to have your data or you die before risking to give it to anyone.
But in terms of the data collected by FB, especially the extent of it, your view is that it seems okay, considering the benefit you receive from FB and you're not bothered. This broadly places you in a category of people who have not experienced a negative experience / erosion of your position in a transaction due to information asymmetry. Either that, or you are in a significant position that this doesn't bother you much.
An example from the past - SS used to target dissenters in Germany by throwing bricks at their windows during the night, sending lewd anonymous letters to their partners and causing strains in family relationships etc.
Key to this was knowing your affiliations and information on when you were at/out of home, if you lived with a partner or not, what your address was etc. they collected this through extensive surveillance on the ground, storing this information on paper documents and sifting through them when needed.
In our case, we have an entity FB that can capture extensive amount of our information, through voluntary and non-voluntary means, store them easily with marginal costs and have the ability to sift through them in seconds. Now, it begs the question who gets access to these capabilities if they are being offered up for sale - a benevolent company will use it to market its services, an aggressive company will try to outmaneuver you at negotiations to maximize their profit and limit your savings, a benevolent government will use it to improve services to you, an authoritarian one will use it to crush you.
If you think about the actual operation of collecting this data, it's nothing more than the commoditization of detective services. What would take a human hours of work to keep track of your whereabouts, not how long you eat your food, what you possibly spend at different places, who you interact with and how much etc now is done through our devices for no cost.
Some of us believe this is not correct, that such information is being gathered on us, because some experience in our past has negatively impacted us, due to information access and asymmetry. We oppose this and seek out ways to curb this / put guard rails. Others like you, do not see the need for jede guard rails, which to me is a little naive indeed.
I don't "worry" about getting hit by a car every day, either. But still I always look both ways before crossing a street. Even one-way streets.
To which your answer to that was, basically, "But that's not very likely to happen."
Are you sure? Facebook has a patent on lowering your credit score based on who is in your friends list. They also feed data to credit score companies who directly examine your posts and use it to tweak your credit score yet further.
It's totally possible that your use of Facebook has affected your ability to buy a car or house, or get a job. The lifetime cost of your mortgage could be $20,000 higher than it need be due to your use of Facebook. Maybe you got passed over for that job that would have been in the perfect place for raising your new child, due to your posting. How would you know? Did you really think they were going to tell you?
Maybe you're not at a time in your life where these things have happened to you yet, but I have bad news. The data you've submitted to Facebook will never be deleted. It's invisible baggage, following you everywhere. Honestly, you have no real idea of what impact it's having on your life, because it's not in the interest of any of that data's consumers to tell you what they are doing with it.
The really scary possibility is that your non-use of Facebook has negatively impacted your credit score.
My (mostly) non-use of LinkedIn (which is even worse than FB IMHO) has almost certainly had a negative impact on my career.
At some point, we will have to start auditing and regulating the responsibility that companies owe to society once they come to dominate a field. There's a scary chance that LinkedIn might capture almost all the professional job market. Once that happens, we /need/ to be able to audit them to ensure they are fully complying with witness protection requirements, and to make sure their algorithms don't contain race biases.
Look forward to that one being the hot topic of 2025's legal circles.
Or it could be $20,000 cheaper if you're actually low-risk and their algorithms are better than the status quo...
> Maybe you got passed over for that job that would have been in the perfect place for raising your new child, due to your posting. How would you know?
If you didn't have Facebook, how would you know if you were missing out on opportunities because you've since lost touch with various acquaintances?
I'm sorry, are we now living on bizarro-earth where companies work with each other to develop new, exciting opportunities to make less money?
However, I have lived in Australia, where the banking competition is so bad that the consumer protection agency is having to explain in baby words to the national banks why they can't gang up on apple pay.
I have also lived in Iceland, a nation in which essentially all industries exist in tiny vertical monopolies, and the banks are no exception. It's hard to link citations here because fólk lesa ekki Íslensku, but go ask an Icelander if they think the national banks are in vigorous competition, they'll laugh in your face. Landsbankinn was genuinely shocked and puzzled when I moved all my accounts to Arion because they wouldn't give me a visa electron card so I could buy things off the internet.
That having been said, some quick googling suggests that the USA isn't in great shape when it comes to competition either. In general, consumer competition is poor among banks, and they like it that way.
 no one reads Icelandic
 please critique my grammar, I'm guessing here :(
If you have a better algorithm of determining credit risk you can make a lot of money undercutting the competition on the right borrowers.
Is it "fear-mongering" to bring up this episode again?
Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks
Also, yes, you can generally trust people to tell you what their real policies are. They might not be good policies, or well thought-through, etc., but there are very few people in the world who make it their business to lie and cheat every day.
Actually there are quite a lot of them.
Add some plain greed on top of that, and you'll end up with a lot of people. Grandparent is very naive.
In a just world filled with righteous people, that chat log would have doomed Facebook to oblivion long ago.
This is laughably, shockingly, categorically wrong. People can and do change, all the time. Your opinions, values, etc didn't change from when you were in college?
But, my character, my moods, my tells, and the fundamental flow of my thought processes have never changed. I'm the same lumpish animal I was when I was a tot. When someone says "People don't change", I think the core of that sentiment is that the brain wiring that makes random person X who they are never changes (save the brain becoming damaged or fading, of course.) I'm talking about the essence of a mind.
So I contend that a creep like Zuck doesn't uncreep himself. A sociopath is wired that way, even if they're proficient at hiding that fact. You might say, "Zuck's been exposed to and riding atop a business operating at a mind-blowing scale and pace - that HAS to change a person!" I think that's just projecting what one thinks would happen to themselves in such a situation. What change can you actually point to in Zuck?
But to get back to the subject of the original subthread: not enough for us to trust him running our national ID structure, thank you very much.
I really doubt that's the case.
As well as attitude towards his users as human beings generally.
That does not happen with ordinary street surveillance footage, as far as I know.
So you might have pictures of you taken by street surveillance cameras as you walk around in big cities, but your face isn't ordinarily going to be recognized by anyone.
On the other hand, I guess it could do some inference, such as: person X seen at location Y is also seen going in to residence Z every evening and coming out of the same residence every morning for the last 6 months, therefore there's a high probability that this person's address is residence Z, and since John Doe is the only person registered as living in that residence, person X is probably John Doe, etc.
Right, which is exactly what would happen if law enforcement/governments could access FB's database.
Consider yourself lucky if you or your loved ones haven't been harassed or stalked because of information you've posted about yourself or your family online.
Some have not been so fortunate, and don't want to make themselves or their families any more vulnerable than they already are.
You might not have anything to hide now but you might in the future and even if you don't that doesn't mean you won't be harassed because you "might" have something to hide.
Immigrants from japan/germany/italy in the US during WW2. Those people all had nothing to hide on Dec 6th.
The problem is real.
Facial recognition works primarily on mapping the distances between key features, kind of like a bitmask. The more features you have the longer the bitmask and the fewer matches.
It's not about being "un-matchable" it's about having so few data points you match with enough people that whoever's deciding what "good enough" is for the application has set the bar above how ever good your match is.
For something like sending advertising the bar is super low, who cares if you send out some extra spam the cost of doing so is low. The advertisers don't care if they can't precisely target the mystery man because gaining or losing one lead isn't important when you have thousands. They'll either just not send anything or send something to every possible match.
For something like insurance and credit the bar is higher because if you get the risk wrong then you lose profit margin or the ability to price competitively. This is the one area where the mystery man can win. The people selling data to the creditors can't just set the "hangs out with poor people" bool to true for each big group of people that is a partial match with a mystery person. That approach doesn't scale.
For something like IDing the guy who got a good look at the guy who placed the suitcase that had the bomb the bar is low because while the cost of interviewing a bunch of people is high the available resources are high.
If you want to stay under the radar of the analytics companies then license plate scanning should worry you a lot more than facial recognition (in the US at least).
Can you elaborate on this?
Not really, it's a classic example (at least, one I've seen several times) to show recognition even when obscured.
That said, I just searched for an example, and found this paper  claiming highly effective tortoiseshell glasses to block recognition or deceive to be another. Though it certainly doesn't satisfy your other requirement of:
> not making me look somewhat silly
 - https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~sbhagava/papers/face-rec-ccs16.pdf
The real point is that: I believe there are some images in the search space that any recognition algorithm will not see a face in, but which your brain will and vice versa.
Awhile back I noticed that fewer and fewer Facebook pages offered any of the top menu items (including "log out"), requiring you to be more and more explicit about which Facebook page you were viewing to even see a way to log out. I am sure the idea is to have you "accidentally" stay logged-in and then view half the Internet so they can track you.
The final straw for me is that now I see no log-out link AT ALL, not even if I reenter the root facebook.com into my browser to go to the home page (which used to restore the links on top). There is now no apparent way to log out without killing my browser so I am done with them.
You've just eliminated a large amount of possible faces.
Hell, they can even quickly detect copyright infringement a posted video right? Ever posted a video with some background music? I don't think computing power is a problem...
To fix this they'd probably need other heuristics, which for all I know they're already using. An easy one would be to narrow it down by location, though sometimes that'd be wrong. A more sophisticated method would be to build a model of human movement, keep track of locations where they have high confidence it's you (e.g. in pics of you in small groups with your friends) and combine these into an estimate of the probability of each candidate match being at the train station.
This seems a bit over the top. What are the odds I'll end up in the background of someone's selfie that they post on Facebook? I imagine the chances are incredibly small. And if I choose to take a picture with someone, I just have to be aware that it may end up on social media and be OK with the baggage that comes with that.
Uh, pretty high? Depending where you live, I suppose.
I frequently find myself in front of someone seemingly 'selfy-ing', and always feel slightly uncomfortable since it looks exactly as if they're taking an ordinary photograph of me.
I'd have only to be behind instead of in front of them in order to be in their 'selfie' (assuming that is what they're doing!) - and I'd have thought that would happen even more often than being in front, assuming some of them feel just a modicum of embarrassment at the ridiculousness of the activity.
This is how I use it on my phone. I don't use the app because the app cannot be trusted with any specific permissions I provide with the belief that it won't be misused or that more data won't be collected.
> On a desktop — use an extension like Disconnect to block 3rd party cookie tracking.
On a desktop/laptop, I have it a lot better. I use Firefox with uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger and a few more extensions (like removing the Facebook link redirector PHP script from links within FB).
You're almost assuredly right that there are still opportunities out there in this space. I do think paying people to post would change the dynamic: it would change what and how often people would post. It's definitely an interesting problem!
So where's the disconnect?
But you certainly don't hear people talking about Facebook any less in the States, yeah. Maybe the demographics that use it most don't read the sources that put out these sorts of pieces?