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Ideally we live in a society where not being anonymous is not such a big risk.

But governments change, the data is still around to be abused.

This is what disturbs me. Is how data can be abused in the future.






Yep. "I trust this entity with my data" is absolutely not an argument to be lax with your privacy.

Take Pebble for example. They had a very invasive privacy policy and reserved the right to upload pretty much anything from your phone via the companion app, but they were a cool hacker-friendly hardware startup and a lot of people trusted them.

Years down the track they ran out of runway (the ugly side of "unicorn or bust" venture capital but that's another rant) and were bought out by Fitbit. Meh, Fitbit seemed pretty good with privacy too so that's alright, I guess?

Now Google's bought Fitbit and potentially has a bunch of very personal, private data on everyone who originally trusted Pebble.


Why were Pebble and Fitbit more trustworthy? Because they were "cool"?

And because they had only one source of data, namely their watch/armband, and were not cross referencing it with search queries, YouTube views, etc. Unlike Google, needless to say.

Whether the really were or not is another question. Personally, I didn't trust them any more, but a lot of people did.

This nails it. It's not the present view of you that someone might get, but it's the fact that they can roll back the clock on you and re-interpret anything you did or said or anywhere you went. Digging up some ancient tweet is somewhat analogous to it, but it cuts way deeper when you start thinking about every moment of your life. On the flip side, if you're just living your life OpSec feels overkill...

Exactly. Very current affairs: governments are looking into getting location data from phone networks, apps, phone manufacturers to determine whether people are sticking to the curfews. And this change in perspective happened real fast.

Does the end justify the means? A pandemic like this is the ideal chance for a government to set up emergency measures like martial law, while the people themselves are too busy trying to look out for themselves and their family to be able to protest it.

Of course, anyone with half a brain already knew that unlimited data gathering, including location or personal information, was a bad thing.



> not being anonymous is not such a big risk.

the world has always been anonymous because of the lack of capability to track large amounts of data - until recently.

Anonymity allows you safety from any one who seeks to predate you. I think that safety needs to be maintained. People stupidly put photos of themselves online, then face tag their friends. This allows third parties to identify your friends and circles, and that's dangerous. All relationship should be reciprocal.


> the world has always been anonymous because of the lack of capability to track large amounts of data - until recently.

The first data privacy law ("loi informatique et liberté") were introduced in France around 1980, after a controversial government project to create a massive database of people generated a huge scandal.

So it's been possible for quite a while, it's just that it was reserved to state actors.


Privacy laws, much like noise ordinances and pollution regulations, are emergent responses to novel threats and ills.

In a world without the printing press, anti-libel laws didn't exist. In a world without photography, rights to personal image and freedom from invasive shutterbugs didn't esist. Anti-wiretapping and phone-recording restrictions were necessitated by the telephone. The Bork bill protecting the sanctity of ... video store rental records ... was necessitated by videocassette technology, a video rental market, Supreme Court nomination hearings, chatty store clerks, and newspapers interested in publishing such details.

As technologies tear down and penetrate the long-standing barriers to snooping, recording, transmitting, analyzing, and acting on what had always. been personal and private behaviours, societies turn to law to reinstitute those protections.

Privacy is an emergent phenomenon and a direct response to intrusions.


No, long ago the world was a bunch of small groups of people that knew each other intimately. At the village and tribe level there was little or no anonymity. The offset was that there was also intimacy. The problem now is that we again have no anonymity, but there is none of the intimacy needed to offset the negative aspects of this (and we probably can't, I don't think intimacy scales the same way, but who knows).

The people who left their tribes (or were forced off) were effectively anonymous to any new group of people they might come across. So if you were kicked from your group for a misdeed, sure you could continue your bad deeds in the new group or you could turn over a new leaf without the weight of your past mistakes holding you back.

> The people who left their tribes (or were forced off) were effectively anonymous to any new group of people they might come across.

The people who left or were forced out often died. The world is a scary and dangerous place without a support network, which civilization basically is.

> So if you were kicked from your group for a misdeed, sure you could continue your bad deeds in the new group or you could turn over a new leaf without the weight of your past mistakes holding you back.

Outsiders were often viewed with distrust. Why wouldn't they be, when most people can only associate their leaving the safety of the community with at best a foreign way of thinking, but more likely them being forced out for past misdeeds.

It's sort of like interviewing for a job a 35 year old that has no work experience to show for the last decade, and not a very convincing story as to why (or even if it's feasible, you don't really know). Why take the risk?


Ever wonder why places were called the Wild West?

It's an awful dangerous place when you're alone out in the Wild West.


I thought about this. Perhaps youtube real videos (not staged mini tv shows like peewee) has opened up people's lives to their world. Perhaps twitch/live coding streaming provide this on some level. Perhaps onlind video games or even social media provide that intimacy into others lives at scale.

> This is what disturbs me. Is how data can be abused in the future.

The general 1984 style dystopia vision is that there’s a gov’t change for the worst and you could be SWAT’d out of the blue.

The most probable one is that this kind of tool would be used in far less obvious, if at all visible, ways.

In that situation some kind of honeypot/canary strategy would be nice to reveal shady use but I can’t seem to come up with a realistic one.


I’m pretty sure ICE is already using that to find potential targets that are not residents.

Most non technical people don’t understand how powerful technology is.




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