Author Topic: Privacy and anonymity  (Read 12785 times)

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Offline El Barto

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Privacy and anonymity
« on: July 24, 2012, 08:51:39 AM »
For ages I've been bitching about the loss of both.  For the most part, it's the users who give it up voluntarily, so it's hard to be too bent out of shape about it.  Still, it bugs me.  Something that I wonder about is to what degree the government will allow us to have either.  Computers and encryption have made it pretty easy to hide your tracks, and that ability is popping up in new places all the time.  Consider skype.  It's creators always maintained that it was completely secure.  They're not making that claim anymore, and the consensus seems to be that MS has installed a backdoor.  People are now hauling ass to create a replacement for it which would allow voice, video and data communications in realtime with rock-solid encryption and anonymous routing.  Yes, terrorists will use it, and dirty old men will convince gullible kids to do naughty things on it.  Iranians and North Koreans will also undermine their oppressive governments, and dissidents will be able to work together safely to improve the lives of a helluva lot of bad off people.   Nothing in life is free.

Will The Man allow such a thing, and should he?

Freenet and the socalled darknets are another example.  Fascinating idea.  Everybody sets aside a chunk of HDD space and some bandwidth to operate as a small server.  Nobody knows what they have because it's heavily encrypted, and nobody has much of anything, because it's spread all over the Earth.  A website is hosted on 1000 different computers in 20 different countries, and nobody knows which computers it's on. Furthermore, every chunk hops through multiple servers before getting to it's destination.  You don't get much more anonymous than that.  I can't imagine that our government would go along with that, but I'm not sure what grounds it could use to prevent it, other than the tired old "bad people might use it to be bad" argument.  My guess is that they'll pressure the ISPs to enforce some usage restrictions, but is that reasonable?

I guess the simple question is, should we as allegedly free citizens be allowed to have access to complete anonymity and secrecy, or should we be required to provide The Man access via a backdoor?

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Offline senecadawg2

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2012, 09:34:02 AM »
In a perfect world, we should be allowed to have complete and total access to anonymity and secrecy.

With that being said, as long as we aren't doing anything illegal, I don't have any problem with The Man having some access to our private affairs.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2012, 09:39:50 AM »
On one hand I mostly agree with you.

On the other hand I must say that living in this country causes "freedom fatigue". There's this constant barrage of the word "freedom" in every media article etc. etc.
And yet, I can't enjoy a beer at a lake or a beach. Simply not allowed. Women can't breast-feed in public. In my ever-so-humble opinion, all this clamor of constant freedom talk has the result that the country is paralyzed to even implement the most simple changes that would make them more free.

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« Last Edit: July 24, 2012, 09:49:30 AM by rumborak »
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Offline XJDenton

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2012, 04:57:44 PM »
In an ideal world, privacy would be an irrelevance. Since we don't live in an ideal world some measure of privacy is required and I think it is pretty much impossible for a sufficiently advanced civilization to eradicate it, since government will always struggle to keep up with technology.

Offline Adami

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2012, 05:02:00 PM »
I guess I'm one of the few people who do not value privacy and anonymity a whole lot. To a degree, obviously, but not nearly to the extent that so many Americans want.
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Offline senecadawg2

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2012, 08:05:44 PM »
Yeah, I think privacy is quite overrated among Americans
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Offline j

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2012, 09:32:39 PM »
I guess I'm one of the few people who do not value privacy and anonymity a whole lot. To a degree, obviously, but not nearly to the extent that so many Americans want.
Yeah, I think privacy is quite overrated among Americans

I value privacy mainly for the protection of my family, my career, and my (laughably few) assets.  The sad reality of the world we live in is that the more information about you is readily accessible, the greater the likelihood that it can or will be used against you in some way.  And this applies even to those of us who don't feel that we are ever doing anything we'd be "ashamed" of or are particularly worried about someone finding out.

But this is all assuming the measures being taken are within reason.  The flip side is that it's really not practical to be an absolutist about such things in today's world.  Even the networking concepts Barto mentioned are ultimately still penetrable.  You cannot be a functional, happy human being and retain complete privacy.  And that's okay, but frankly, it's clear to me that most are erring far on the other side of the discretion/lack of discretion line.  I certainly wouldn't say privacy is "overrated by Americans" based on my own experience.

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Offline rumborak

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2012, 10:05:04 PM »
It's also rather telling that people are willing to dump their personal data wholesale into any next best online service, but the evil government is a different matter.

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Offline El Barto

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2012, 10:08:05 PM »
Everybody knows how I feel about privacy and anonymity, so I'll forgo that whole topic.  What I'm wondering is if people think that I or any other citizen should be allowed to use technology that effectively shuts out The Man from any access.  To the best of my knowledge, AES is still rock solid if employed properly.  There's really no reason why Skype can't be securely encrypted with it.  Likewise, bouncing your traffic across several unlogged proxies makes tracking you down insanely difficult.  I suspect that a future implementation of freenet will be fairly bulletproof, since as was already pointed out, the government is always playing catchup to technology.

I've said for a while that we moved from innocent until proven guilty to born suspect.  We're all potential criminals, as far as our government is concerned, and I don't think that's reasonable.  My question is, is it OK for our overseers to ban technology because of the possibility it will be used for nefarious purposes.   
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2012, 10:14:39 PM »
No offense EB, but at what point in history were citizens ever considered to be completely 100% trustworthy? That seems an idealization that never existed. I can't think of a single time in the 20th century, and the Electoral College shows in those days it wasn't either.

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Offline senecadawg2

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2012, 10:15:00 PM »
Everybody knows how I feel about privacy and anonymity, so I'll forgo that whole topic.  What I'm wondering is if people think that I or any other citizen should be allowed to use technology that effectively shuts out The Man from any access.  To the best of my knowledge, AES is still rock solid if employed properly.  There's really no reason why Skype can't be securely encrypted with it.  Likewise, bouncing your traffic across several unlogged proxies makes tracking you down insanely difficult.  I suspect that a future implementation of freenet will be fairly bulletproof, since as was already pointed out, the government is always playing catchup to technology.

I've said for a while that we moved from innocent until proven guilty to born suspect.  We're all potential criminals, as far as our government is concerned, and I don't think that's reasonable.  My question is, is it OK for our overseers to ban technology because of the possibility it will be used for nefarious purposes.

I think it is a dangerous question, no matter how you answer it. However, at the end of the day, I believe that there is less potential harm in banning certain technology that enables a person virtually disappear of the radar. Even without being completely off the chart, most can maintain a steady life and keep a certain level of privacy and anonymity.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2012, 10:35:04 PM »
My question is, is it OK for our overseers to ban technology because of the possibility it will be used for nefarious purposes.

Put as this, no. Any piece of technology, ever created, can be used for nefarious purposes.

However, I think part of what this topic harps upon has nothing to do with government, but just sorta how the world works. When someone acts like they have something to hide, it's only natural to think they have something to hide. It's one of those ironic things, where if you try too hard to maintain your privacy, it'll attract attention, and probably actually end up infringing upon any privacy you would have. In reality, it's much easier to just hide in the crowd, which means giving up a decent amount of privacy.

Offline Orthogonal

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2012, 08:41:16 PM »
On the other hand I must say that living in this country causes "freedom fatigue". There's this constant barrage of the word "freedom" in every media article etc. etc.
And yet, I can't enjoy a beer at a lake or a beach. Simply not allowed. Women can't breast-feed in public. In my ever-so-humble opinion, all this clamor of constant freedom talk has the result that the country is paralyzed to even implement the most simple changes that would make them more free.

rumborak

This is a really good point. The Right (in some cases the Left) has co-opted "Freedom" to push many agenda's that do the exact opposite. I don't think many of them even realize that it is a sneaky form of propoganda to push "morality" policies. Not to mention it is the banner under which the US slaughter's foreigners in unjust wars.

Offline snapple

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2012, 08:44:58 PM »
On one hand I mostly agree with you.

On the other hand I must say that living in this country causes "freedom fatigue". There's this constant barrage of the word "freedom" in every media article etc. etc.
And yet, I can't enjoy a beer at a lake or a beach. Simply not allowed. Women can't breast-feed in public. In my ever-so-humble opinion, all this clamor of constant freedom talk has the result that the country is paralyzed to even implement the most simple changes that would make them more free.

rumborak


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Offline rumborak

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2012, 10:06:00 PM »
You are allowed to consume alcohol in public in Michigan? That's news to me.

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Offline El Barto

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2012, 10:19:01 PM »
Customarily the rule is against being intoxicated in public, not the drinking itself.  There are places where it's prohibited, but in city parks there's never an issue.  I'm not shy about taking walking beer(s) with me when heading into concerts or sporting events, and that's often a couple of blocks down downtown city streets.  You drink right up til you hit the door, slam what's left, and then toss it.

And while I think you make an valid argument about how freedoms can be conflicting, I don't think it relates to the point I was making.   
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2012, 10:39:17 PM »
Seems to me that "the man" isn't the government, but private companies. Read an article a week ago talking about how the Obama administration and several others in the government were trying to get an option for the internet where you could stop all data from being collected about you. It's private companies who don't want that to happen, because the internet currently relies on very targeted ads in order to increase revenues. In this case, it would seem that "the man" isn't government, but private companies.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2012, 10:47:29 PM »
Seems to me that "the man" isn't the government, but private companies. Read an article a week ago talking about how the Obama administration and several others in the government were trying to get an option for the internet where you could stop all data from being collected about you. It's private companies who don't want that to happen, because the internet currently relies on very targeted ads in order to increase revenues. In this case, it would seem that "the man" isn't government, but private companies.
That's not really a huge concern to me.  Most people cede that privacy anyway.  In my case, my real name, address, phone number, etc. don't exist on the internet.  I've got a couple of email addys with varying degrees of exposure, and a completely different set of credentials for anything Google related.  Add to that, there are already methods of covering your tracks within your browser, and half the time I show an IP address from Canada or Luxemburg when I'm behind my VPN. 

And like I said, my curiosity is in whether the government will allow us to keep secrets from them; not from the market. 
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2012, 11:00:33 PM »
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203960804577239774264364692.html

Considering that the government would get its information from the market, in this case (they don't set up a sepreate system to monitor you, they just use the system everyone's co-opted themselves in), I don't think you can really claim much. In seeing as how the current government seems to have some interest in protecting privacy, the answer seems to be that the man doesn't care.

Offline Orthogonal

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2012, 12:21:09 AM »
Seems to me that "the man" isn't the government, but private companies. Read an article a week ago talking about how the Obama administration and several others in the government were trying to get an option for the internet where you could stop all data from being collected about you. It's private companies who don't want that to happen, because the internet currently relies on very targeted ads in order to increase revenues. In this case, it would seem that "the man" isn't government, but private companies.

Define "the man" however you want, it doesn't change the fact that a private company can suffer backlash and severe losses to put them out of business for gross abuses of customer information. The government has no real threat. If the government commits an aggregious violation of privacy, little or nothing will happen. A scapegoat may be sacrificed, but there are no real consequences. The whole point is that privacy is something everyone wants protected from those in power, consumers at least have control over private companies by the simple act of being able to walk away from using their services. You can't opt out of the government.

Offline snapple

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2012, 06:03:41 AM »
You are allowed to consume alcohol in public in Michigan? That's news to me.

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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2012, 10:57:39 AM »
Seems to me that "the man" isn't the government, but private companies. Read an article a week ago talking about how the Obama administration and several others in the government were trying to get an option for the internet where you could stop all data from being collected about you. It's private companies who don't want that to happen, because the internet currently relies on very targeted ads in order to increase revenues. In this case, it would seem that "the man" isn't government, but private companies.

Define "the man" however you want, it doesn't change the fact that a private company can suffer backlash and severe losses to put them out of business for gross abuses of customer information. The government has no real threat. If the government commits an aggregious violation of privacy, little or nothing will happen. A scapegoat may be sacrificed, but there are no real consequences. The whole point is that privacy is something everyone wants protected from those in power, consumers at least have control over private companies by the simple act of being able to walk away from using their services. You can't opt out of the government.

Actually, you can opt out of the government. It just means you're living a rather shitty life.

Also, the idea that private companies face backlash for invading users privacy is fucking hilarious. I forgot, Google doesn't exist, Facebook doesn't exit, nor do all the telecommunication companies that constantly rat you out, and give your information over to the government. The idea that the free market deals with privacy concerns if laughable. There is no alternative where your privacy isn't being invaded, so you can't make a  market decision to affect this aspect of the market.

Besides, I already gave you a actual counter example to what you're saying. You can't speak in absolutist terms, not without being factually incorrect.

Offline Orthogonal

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2012, 12:57:13 PM »
[quote author=Scheavo link=topic=33305.msg1361880#msg1361880 date=1343926659
Also, the idea that private companies face backlash for invading users privacy is fucking hilarious. I forgot, Google doesn't exist, Facebook doesn't exit, nor do all the telecommunication companies that constantly rat you out, and give your information over to the government. The idea that the free market deals with privacy concerns if laughable. There is no alternative where your privacy isn't being invaded, so you can't make a  market decision to affect this aspect of the market.

Besides, I already gave you a actual counter example to what you're saying. You can't speak in absolutist terms, not without being factually incorrect.
[/quote]

Google, FB et al have only publicly available information. They only have access to information that you freely gave out at some point. I don't see what the problem is.

Telecoms however have been known to perform unjustifiable wire tappings etc, but that was always at the direction of government agencies.

Offline Scheavo

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2012, 01:06:56 PM »
Google, FB et al have only publicly available information. They only have access to information that you freely gave out at some point. I don't see what the problem is.

This, is just false and wrong. They have access to information you never gave them, they have access to information you never thought would be public, stored, etc. Do you consider your search history public information? Because Google keeps that, and it uses what cookies you have, what your browser history is, in order to give you the information they think you want. You did not give Google that information, and most likely did not consent for them to have that information. There's also the Street Views controversy, where Google not only took tons of pictures (technically public domain), but downloaded tons of data from unsecured wireless networks. Now, you can say those people with unsecured wireless networks are being stupid, and I'd agree with you, but they still never consented to make that data public, especially not in the way Google used it.

Also, even just using publicly available information doesn't mean that privacy cannot be invaded. The best example I can think of this is Target, and I believe I've used this example with you before. Pregnant women all buy the same vitamins and other things within the first couple of weeks of pregnancy; Target used this fact to determine who is pregnant, and then sending them targeted advertisements about deals pregnant women and soon to be mothers would probably be interested in. Sound okay still? Well how about at least one teenage daughter who had to confess to her dad that she was pregnant because of these advertisements. That is a completely private matter, and Target, using "publicly available information," invaded that girls privacy.


Offline Orthogonal

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2012, 01:22:09 PM »
You didn't give Google your search history?    ??? You most certainly did by using their search engine. With regards to street view, they don't have any information they can't get from going down a public street. If I were to walk by your house on the public sidewalk, am I invading your privacy? This doesn't make any sense. I've not heard of them getting data from unsecured wireless networks. Packet sniffing of broadcast signals may not be ethical, but there is no invasion of privacy doing so, but connecting to it and accessing data would be an unwarranted invasion of privacy and subject to legal repercussions.

I'm not sure where you are going with your Target story, nothing in that example constitutes an invasion of privacy.

Offline Scheavo

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2012, 01:55:47 PM »
What Google Street view did isn't like walking past a house, it's more like setting up across the street with binoculars to figure out what the person is eating.

Forcing a women to tell her parents that she's pregnant isn't an invasion of privacy? I don't know what definition you're using, but to me, that's exactly the kind of thing I would expect to be private.

I feel as if we're operating under a completely different definition of privacy. I honestly don't know what you think is private information at this point, and that's not too surprising to me considering, in today's age, we really don't have any privacy. For instance, most people would consider what they do, on their private computer at home, is their private life. Yes, technically, it's public, under old definitions, which were defined far before technology, yet alone the internet, made this a much trickier issue - but isn't the point of privacy what you consider to be private? My privacy is mine, not yours. Considering most peole would consider internet use private, that alone suffices to make it a private matter, or at least should.


Offline Orthogonal

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2012, 02:11:17 PM »
No one forced a women to tell her parents she was pregnant, this is a ridiculous stretch to say mail advertisements are an invasion of privacy.

The real issue is systemic. The main problem is that people have been conditioned to outsource their security to the State, since they are supposedly the logical protectors of our Privacy. This leads to numerous problems. Legislators are usually way behind the tech curve. The politicians typically have no technical background to understand the full ramifications of the systems in place, further they are subject to lobbies and special interests to bend the system in someone else's favor. It's a mess waiting to happen. In the absence of the State, people would be more active in protecting their privacy and take privacy security more seriously. They would be more cautious about entering into new services. People would enter contracts with business's only after mutually agreeing on a third party arbitrator and setting the terms of data privacy. Business's would then have to build a reputation of trust in handling data or suffer litigation to a breach of contract and lose customer's.

Offline Scheavo

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2012, 02:39:57 PM »
Quote
No one forced a women to tell her parents she was pregnant, this is a ridiculous stretch to say mail advertisements are an invasion of privacy.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/

You don't consider that an invasion of privacy? Target got involved in one of the most intimate matters to a family. A daughter has the right to tell her parents when she's pregnant, in the manner she wants to, and her hand was, in this case, forced by a company. Maybe you've never known someone who got pregnant? Because I have (fortunately not because of me), and she was extremely, extremely fraught and anxious about telling her parents. It was her business, and her's alone.


The reason privacy get's "outsourced" to the government isn't because people are lazy, it's because they have lives they need to live, shit they need to do, and they just don't have the time of day to do the kind of research you're talking about. It's the problem with this kind of free-market thought, because it's extremely unrealistic, and just isn't possible for most people to perform. If you're working two + jobs, have a kid, have to eat, have to do every little thing a human being has to do in the course of the day, where is there room for them to read through contracts, which they may not even understand, and come to their own agreement? Hell, even if they were to do that, it would probably take them months to come to an agreement on something simple.

On top of that, I cant' even imagine how much your proposal would slow down and impede economic progress. Having one set of rules can be extremely beneficial, it can help an industry grow, and it can help produce a better product. Car emission standards are a great example. Before Obama, car emission standards were a state by state problem (and you'd want to make it a person by person problem!), and this created a lot of uncertainty for car manufacturers. They weren't sure what standards they needed to build for, and so, really, they weren't progressing much. Then, Obama comes into office, arbitrates an agreement between companies (notice how that isn't passing a law, it's just getting different parties together to come to an agreement), and since then, car efficiency has skyrocketed. Three years ago, my car was better than new hybrids. Now, my car is worse than new non-hybirds. I remember the news conference, where the industry CEO's said this, themselves, as the head of these companies.

If you look at the early history of the United States, you can see direct evidence for this. The Articles of Confederation were too weak, they made decisions too parochial. And the result was that trade suffered. It also created a host of other problems, like Shay's Rebellion. It created enough problems, that the founders of this country came together to create a stronger Union, one which more centralized power. And the results were pretty much immediate. Trade and the economy picked up really quickly, they new federal government quickly stepped into the monetary market, and helped stabilize the economy.


Offline Orthogonal

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2012, 03:14:36 PM »
No, I do not consider Targets actions an invasion of privacy. They simply said, customer's who bought this, also bought that, want a coupon?

You are right that many people would have a hard time digesting and haggling so many contracts, which is why third party companies and arbitrators would do all the work. There's no reason to believe it would lead to a slow down or impede economic growth. Left without government regulators, standards and best practices quickly take form and are adopted by nearly all. It is a much more efficient way to deal with dynamic market environments. The Technology industry is the best example since they are, on average, the least regulated industry there is and they have numerous General Standards bodies where dozen's or hundreds of companies develop the rules and standards to drive the industry forward. They want to make sure their product is compatible with upstream/downstream products, so there is incentive to make "one set of rules". This is a natural outcome of a free-market.

Car emission standards is a much more complicated matter. Environmental problems are compounded by a lack of clearly defined property rights. It's not so much a problem of State by State or Person by Person, but the inability to manage negative externalities and make producers fully internalize the cost of waste and environmental impacts under the status quo. It would require a major retooling of societies relationships. Something we've talked about before and is probably beyond the scope of this thread. Whether products were made better by Obama is inconclusive, Sure, the government regulation may lead to a subjectively better product in a particular instance, but saying we are better off because of it can only be asserted by ignoring opportunity costs.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2012, 04:01:09 PM »
And if they send the same flyer to your house offering "customers who bought Trojan Minis also bought. . ."?  What if your wife opens the mail?

Personally, I call it a bit of a reach to say that Target forced the girl to tell her folks she was knocked up, but that is a serious lack of discretion on their part. 

More importantly, why would anybody provide Target or their local grocery store their real contact data?  Give them your zip code, since that's actually beneficial demographics, and make the rest of it up. 
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2012, 05:06:45 PM »
Orth: too much of that is a moot point, and for the sake of discussion, I figured I'd ask a question:

What constitutes an invasions of ones privacy? How is that defined?

Quote
More importantly, why would anybody provide Target or their local grocery store their real contact data?  Give them your zip code, since that's actually beneficial demographics, and make the rest of it up. 

I guess I don't shop at Target enough to know what they do, didn't even know they had a card system or whatnot, but I imagine it something like a points or reward system. Perhaps somewhere in the legalese there's something about using this information for such and such a purpose, but most people probably won't understand it. They're signing up for a point system, not a way to track and monitor your shopping habits. That's what people, by and large, are going to think. The idea that everyone is going to make a rational decision, etc, is really an unrealistic optimistic view of humanity.

Offline snapple

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2012, 05:22:55 PM »
My dad flips shit at stores when they ask for personal information. Especially for checks.
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Offline Orthogonal

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2012, 05:28:22 PM »
And if they send the same flyer to your house offering "customers who bought Trojan Minis also bought. . ."?  What if your wife opens the mail?

Lol, she's most likely already aware of that fact.

What constitutes an invasions of ones privacy? How is that defined?

I would define an "Invasion of Privacy" as: A method to acquire information by the use of fraud, deception, coercion or force.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2012, 05:37:16 PM »
I guess I don't shop at Target enough to know what they do, didn't even know they had a card system or whatnot, but I imagine it something like a points or reward system. Perhaps somewhere in the legalese there's something about using this information for such and such a purpose, but most people probably won't understand it. They're signing up for a point system, not a way to track and monitor your shopping habits. That's what people, by and large, are going to think. The idea that everyone is going to make a rational decision, etc, is really an unrealistic optimistic view of humanity.
I understand why people provide data to these stores.  I don't understand why people provide real data to them.  All those forms are submitted to data entry people who don't give a damn what you call yourself.  My Tom Thumb card saves me a bunch in gas, and all the demographic info they get is for Mr. Wigglestaff at 123 Fake St. (with a proper zip code).  They're welcome to track my purchases all they want.  They're welcome to print targeted coupons on my receipts. What they're not welcome to do is to solicit me further or sell my info to outside interests. 

And from the helpful hints from Barto desk, if you need to purchase implements to commit a felony, pay full price.  Don't use your reward card to save 49 cents on your jumbo sized box of rat poison. 


And if they send the same flyer to your house offering "customers who bought Trojan Minis also bought. . ."?  What if your wife opens the mail?
Lol, she's most likely already aware of that fact.
While I'm glad you appreciated my attempt at humor, the important part would be if she asked why you needed condoms in the first place. 
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 05:47:36 PM by El Barto »
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Offline Orthogonal

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Re: Privacy and anonymity
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2012, 05:58:45 PM »
While I'm glad you appreciated my attempt at humor, the important part would be if she asked why you needed condoms in the first place.

Still not an invasion of privacy, would you consider it a problem if they had sent a mailer saying "customer's who bought M&M's also bought...." There is no difference objectively. Just because someone could infer other information from it, doesn't mean they invaded your privacy. There is no expectation to privacy to a purchase history unless it was explicitly stated in a contract like a Medical or Psyche evaluation. Those records are private by contract and revealing the data is a breach of contract.