Data Gathering

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Old Apr 15th 2018, 5:48 am
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Default Data Gathering

Morning all,

Read an article about a woman who set up her home with all smart devices going, from Vizio TV to Alexa and even a wifi enabled toothbrush.

She then went hunting to find what data they gather on her.

Generally she came back saying it was normal stuff around usage, although the toothbrush would report if she didn't use it. Alexa was sending information back regularly so Amazon can target adverts at her and the TV could report when she was binge watching TV shows and suggest others / advertise targeted products / shows.

She went on to think about how much more there was actually being shared that we don't know about and the impact of GDPR coming in Europe.

(Source: BBC Article)


Some interesting points raised I think, especially with Facebook being the current primary target for reaction to this.

Who is bothered if your toothbrush manufacturer knows if you brushed your teeth?
Does targeted advertising based on your interests bother you?
Would transparency or a waiver to sign make you happier about the data you share?

Personally, none of this greatly bothers me. Targeted advertising is a good thing; it means I don't see adverts for tampons or Portsmouth shirts and I do see adverts for new golf clubs and holidays etc.

I found something in Facebook which is quite interesting too, a feature which shows you your profile and how they see you. They're your 'categories', mine include (I'll write them as they're written): away from family, birthday in March, commuter, expats (UK), frequent travellers, soccer fans, early technology adopters.

There are more, but lots of repetition. This is where they'll build your political affiliation (that's how I found it, from a link moaning that facebook assumes your political stance), but the information is very accurate and relevant so what's the harm in facebook making those estimations about me and sharing content based on this?

Anyone got any thoughts on it all?
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 6:06 am
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Default Re: Data Gathering

I remember several years ago going onto google maps to look at the location of the hotel I'd booked in another city and lo and behold there was a little reminder in the map of my hotel stay in that hotel. And then I noticed when I scrolled over Dubai airport there was a reminder of my upcoming flight. It was a WTF moment because how did google maps have that information, till I realised they likely got it through an algorithm that had access to my email (gmail of course) and booking.com bookings.

We are in unchartered waters. The amount of data gathering and profiling that's available to everyone from corporations to political parties is on a scale utterly unthinkable a decade ago.

I am still not quite sure how I feel about it. There's an element of privacy and anonymity that is rapidly disappearing but how important is it to really have that privacy? After all, it's not a case of a maniac dictator gleefully laughing behind the curtains as he manipulates data to ruin people's lives. And the advantage of data gathering is that it does make things and even decision making much more efficient.

The real worry for some people is the use of data in politics. I'm sanguine on this. The muted reaction to the CA scandal has outraged the hardcore politicos but that's because the latter fails to realise all the other movements and parties were doing similar tactics. The Obama campaign apparently had the most sophisticated and phenomenal data gathering and profiling machine, people are just more upset that the "wrong" side won this time around and and thus the reaction, so where was the out roar over data gathering five years ago when it was already pretty glaringly obvious what was going on? This is the more intriguing question for me.

Nonetheless, the real long term implication of data gathering is the risk that your profile becomes controlled by the data collected on you and makes it difficult for you to present different profiles of yourself when you want to.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 6:08 am
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Default Re: Data Gathering

There is a significant amount of data gathering going on, but its not that hard to restrict it. I.E Don't click on those stupid games and quizzes on FB.

As you say, i like data gathering so that it targets advertising and I get relevant information such as new series on Netflix and Amazon prime. One of the reasons I went dow the home kit/homepod route with Apple rather than Alexa/Amazon speaker is that Apple is much more careful what it shares and is generally way more secure.

At the end of the day, I don't care what people know about me as I have nothing to hide. This debate is quite similar (in my mind) to the National ID card argument. Many of the people who were against that, generally had things that they thought they needed to keep quiet.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 6:21 am
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Default Re: Data Gathering

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
I remember several years ago going onto google maps to look at the location of the hotel I'd booked in another city and lo and behold there was a little reminder in the map of my hotel stay in that hotel. And then I noticed when I scrolled over Dubai airport there was a reminder of my upcoming flight. It was a WTF moment because how did google maps have that information, till I realised they likely got it through an algorithm that had access to my email (gmail of course) and booking.com bookings.

We are in unchartered waters. The amount of data gathering and profiling that's available to everyone from corporations to political parties is on a scale utterly unthinkable a decade ago.

I am still not quite sure how I feel about it. There's an element of privacy and anonymity that is rapidly disappearing but how important is it to really have that privacy? After all, it's not a case of a maniac dictator gleefully laughing behind the curtains as he manipulates data to ruin people's lives. And the advantage of data gathering is that it does make things and even decision making much more efficient.

The real worry for some people is the use of data in politics. I'm sanguine on this. The muted reaction to the CA scandal has outraged the hardcore politicos but that's because the latter fails to realise all the other movements and parties were doing similar tactics. The Obama campaign apparently had the most sophisticated and phenomenal data gathering and profiling machine, people are just more upset that the "wrong" side won this time around and and thus the reaction, so where was the out roar over data gathering five years ago when it was already pretty glaringly obvious what was going on? This is the more intriguing question for me.

Nonetheless, the real long term implication of data gathering is the risk that your profile becomes controlled by the data collected on you and makes it difficult for you to present different profiles of yourself when you want to.
Good post.

Booking.com annoy me because when you click around searching for deals, they then PEPPER your inbox for the following week trying to get you to book. Such is.
Google tracks a lot for me because I have gmail, so flights, hotels and so forth are all logged in there and it points at things on maps etc. I don't mind, it's useful crossover sometimes and some people might use it to remind them. I'm more organised than that but don't get upset by it

Interesting point on the 'wrong' side winning and Obama. Haven't stopped and thought about the CA stuff properly yet.

You're right it's uncharted waters and that's what's good about the GDPR regulations coming in and how confidential data needs to be treated about individuals. I guess these things will evolve and then need to be updated. When motor cars came in there weren't the same limits as today and the use of them, regulations and safety has evolved. Perhaps internet data etc will be the same.

Originally Posted by TheShed View Post
There is a significant amount of data gathering going on, but its not that hard to restrict it. I.E Don't click on those stupid games and quizzes on FB.

As you say, i like data gathering so that it targets advertising and I get relevant information such as new series on Netflix and Amazon prime. One of the reasons I went dow the home kit/homepod route with Apple rather than Alexa/Amazon speaker is that Apple is much more careful what it shares and is generally way more secure.

At the end of the day, I don't care what people know about me as I have nothing to hide. This debate is quite similar (in my mind) to the National ID card argument. Many of the people who were against that, generally had things that they thought they needed to keep quiet.
ID card is a good example. I'm the same, nothing to hide and happy to carry on (here or in the UK). The fuss around it is pathetic.

In most of the websites, apps and so forth you have options to restrict what you share to a greater or lesser extent. There are options today to stop sharing on some completely.

We could all live off grid completely with IKnowNothing and his collection of tin foil hats?
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 6:30 am
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Default Re: Data Gathering

Originally Posted by TheShed View Post
There is a significant amount of data gathering going on, but its not that hard to restrict it. I.E Don't click on those stupid games and quizzes on FB.

As you say, i like data gathering so that it targets advertising and I get relevant information such as new series on Netflix and Amazon prime. One of the reasons I went dow the home kit/homepod route with Apple rather than Alexa/Amazon speaker is that Apple is much more careful what it shares and is generally way more secure.

At the end of the day, I don't care what people know about me as I have nothing to hide. This debate is quite similar (in my mind) to the National ID card argument. Many of the people who were against that, generally had things that they thought they needed to keep quiet.
Agreed. I have nothing to hide. There is an element of paranoia among some people (far right and far left) who don't trust the government or establishment. But the price of civilisation is that we must trust one another to some degree. And historically there is a pattern that the more we trust one another, in whatever form it takes, the better off society does become.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 7:48 am
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Think I'll keep this page open today for when the tinfoil hats wake up :-)
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 7:51 am
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Originally Posted by TheShed View Post
Think I'll keep this page open today for when the tinfoil hats wake up :-)
Very true. I shouldn't actually have named IKnowNothing before he's said something about it, if he chooses to.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 8:12 am
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Personally, I have nothing to hide. But the amount of data collected is mind-blowing (I work in this industry). For example, I'm still on the smokes and always pay cash - if in the future I need to pay for health insurance do I want my weekly consumption to be out there and up for sale to an insurance company? Same goes for food and drink.

If we look at how much the world has changed in the last 20 years in regards to technology, then what is in store for the next 20, 30 or 40 years?

I don’t wear a tin foil hat, but as already said, this is unchartered territory and as peoples profiles are built up from collecting data, who knows what this can be used for in future.

I think it’s very naive to just see data collection being used just for marketing the latest brand of shampoo or where you might want to go on holiday. Or that you can control this by not clicking on certain links on a web page.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by NorthernLad View Post
Personally, I have nothing to hide. But the amount of data collected is mind-blowing (I work in this industry). For example, I'm still on the smokes and always pay cash - if in the future I need to pay for health insurance do I want my weekly consumption to be out there and up for sale to an insurance company? Same goes for food and drink.

If we look at how much the world has changed in the last 20 years in regards to technology, then what is in store for the next 20, 30 or 40 years?

I don’t wear a tin foil hat, but as already said, this is unchartered territory and as peoples profiles are built up from collecting data, who knows what this can be used for in future.

I think it’s very naive to just see data collection being used just for marketing the latest brand of shampoo or where you might want to go on holiday. Or that you can control this by not clicking on certain links on a web page.
Should the data on you smoking be available to insurers? Hiding it is just lying on a form though isn't it, which is fraud...so sharing information about someone makes these things more transparent?

I don't think it's just marketing and easily blocked but it's a good example of where it's not really that harmful and potentially useful / appreciated.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 9:38 am
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Default Re: Data Gathering

Originally Posted by NorthernLad View Post
Personally, I have nothing to hide. But the amount of data collected is mind-blowing (I work in this industry). For example, I'm still on the smokes and always pay cash - if in the future I need to pay for health insurance do I want my weekly consumption to be out there and up for sale to an insurance company? Same goes for food and drink.

If we look at how much the world has changed in the last 20 years in regards to technology, then what is in store for the next 20, 30 or 40 years?

I don’t wear a tin foil hat, but as already said, this is unchartered territory and as peoples profiles are built up from collecting data, who knows what this can be used for in future.

I think it’s very naive to just see data collection being used just for marketing the latest brand of shampoo or where you might want to go on holiday. Or that you can control this by not clicking on certain links on a web page.
I'm with Scamp on this. If you smoke, the insurer has the right to access that data if its out there so that their premiums reflect fairly to everyone. HOWEVER, what I do object to is if the same insurer penalizes the smoker but does not reward the non-smoker and pockets the change. Data has a cost to businesses, but its not that much really.

I too have worked in IT all my life and analytics software for the last 10. We worked with a health ministry of a regional country to detect fraud through the use of analytical data, including social media data that the subjects had made free to air. The total amount of real fraud uncovered in a two week proof of concept amounted to about 20% of all premiums paid for the same period. I honestly believe that this is one of the areas that scare people about data mining; they'll get caught for their wrong doing that they've got away with for years.

How many serious crimes are solved in the West every day by the use of public CCTV - isn't that just data gathering in another form and will have no effect on the innocents?
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by TheShed View Post
I'm with Scamp on this. If you smoke, the insurer has the right to access that data if its out there so that their premiums reflect fairly to everyone. HOWEVER, what I do object to is if the same insurer penalizes the smoker but does not reward the non-smoker and pockets the change. Data has a cost to businesses, but its not that much really.

I too have worked in IT all my life and analytics software for the last 10. We worked with a health ministry of a regional country to detect fraud through the use of analytical data, including social media data that the subjects had made free to air. The total amount of real fraud uncovered in a two week proof of concept amounted to about 20% of all premiums paid for the same period. I honestly believe that this is one of the areas that scare people about data mining; they'll get caught for their wrong doing that they've got away with for years.

How many serious crimes are solved in the West every day by the use of public CCTV - isn't that just data gathering in another form and will have no effect on the innocents?
What if... the posts on here and some other social media tracking / cctv face recognition etc put you on the wrong side of the law for helping your pissed son in law the other day? Still nothing to hide? I believe you hid something on the day...

I recently loaded a zillion photos into the google cloud. Apart from a select handful of me doing things questionable and illegal in some countries yet allowed in others. While I have little to hide and a lot to share you still need to think t all through.

I’m not on Facebook but I do use instragram, am tempted to delete it but I do get entertainment from it for now.

In short, I don’t think the whole issue is black or white.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by TheShed View Post
I'm with Scamp on this. If you smoke, the insurer has the right to access that data if its out there so that their premiums reflect fairly to everyone. HOWEVER, what I do object to is if the same insurer penalizes the smoker but does not reward the non-smoker and pockets the change. Data has a cost to businesses, but its not that much really.

I honestly believe that this is one of the areas that scare people about data mining; they'll get caught for their wrong doing that they've got away with for years.

How many serious crimes are solved in the West every day by the use of public CCTV - isn't that just data gathering in another form and will have no effect on the innocents?
Fair enough on the smoking - maybe not the best example (although I'm fine taking a medical for any insurer and face the consequences of smoking).

What about food and drink - you will know from analytics the detail they can go into. If someone has what is perceived as an unhealthy diet, should they be penalized? Who will dictate what is healthy/unhealthy?

For me, the issue is around that I should be able to do anything legal without it being tracked and potentially passed on to third parties.

This is only touching on part of data analytics - is what CA did just the tip of the iceberg? I would suspect so.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 10:20 am
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Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
I’m not on Facebook but I do use instragram, am tempted to delete it but I do get entertainment from it for now.

In short, I don’t think the whole issue is black or white.
You can't quit Instagram, you love looking at my holiday snaps too much.

These never are black and white.

Originally Posted by NorthernLad View Post
Fair enough on the smoking - maybe not the best example (although I'm fine taking a medical for any insurer and face the consequences of smoking).

What about food and drink - you will know from analytics the detail they can go into. If someone has what is perceived as an unhealthy diet, should they be penalized? Who will dictate what is healthy/unhealthy?

For me, the issue is around that I should be able to do anything legal without it being tracked and potentially passed on to third parties.

This is only touching on part of data analytics - is what CA did just the tip of the iceberg? I would suspect so.
I know you're replying to TheShed but I was being a bit facetious about the smoking.

Remember that movie - Demolition Man. That's what I fear, where the state just has ultimate control over you and can issue fines and tickets and prison time with such ease.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 10:20 am
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You ain't seen me, right? *taps nose*
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by littlejimmy View Post
You ain't seen me, right? *taps nose*
Wondered when you'd show up
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