Friday, October 28, 2011

Privacy Is An Illusion - "Intrusion Marketing"

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If you are not living "off the grid," and you conduct any type of commerce or communication using your computer (laptop, notebook, doesn't matter) any of your credit cards, debit cards, mobile devices, automotive GPS navigation system or anything else that operates electrically, magnetically or through any combination of both, your personal information (all of it, from purchasing patterns, to tastes and preferences, to medical history, to relationships, to your daily driving habits, and a myriad of other miniscule details, which, if assembled, give an incredibly comprehensive picture of you) is 1) compromised; 2) being monitored, analyzed, stored, compared and used to 'profile' you as a consumer, a victim or the target of an investigation; and, 3) available for access or sale to innumerable parties without your knowledge or consent.

The use of this information cannot be controlled by law. Technology is invariably several steps ahead of legislation and law enforcement. You might say that Technology is the new artillery. A computer worm or virus can immobilize the entire command and control center of a military operation.

In the interests of technological efficiency, social media sharing, data gathering for market research, expediting the transmission of records, and automating otherwise labor-intensive processes, you are being observed. Your electronic fingerprints, footprints and photographs are everywhere.

Using a combination of satellite technology (i.e., with Google Earth, you can see where I'm standing in my yard and the sun's gleam off of my bald spot, too!), GPS, RFID, electronic tagging and labeling, keystroke logging, telephonic number punching, information-gathering bots and cookies, security cameras, coupon redemptions and electronic card swipes, your personal information, virtually all of it (including your utilities services providers, monthly bills, amounts spent on various categories of commodities).

As this information is processed, you will be categorized and targeted -- if you've bought certain types of things, or exhibit certain consumer patterns, or even made computer information searches about particular subjects -- you should be fully aware that you are giving up information even as you try to find or research information.

Credit card companies are selling your consumer expending information (where you've gone, what you bought, how much you spent, and more) to various marketing companies. Facebook, Google and other communications platforms and social media companies use this information to "filter" the screens you see and the results you find when you go to your favorite sites, pages or search engines to correspond to what they think will be of greatest consumer or ideological interest to you personally.

It is as if your computer were studying you so thoroughly that it was learning to anticipate your every thought and move. It is as if there were a roomful of intelligence analysts on the other side of your computer screen or mobile device watching you.

This is quite frightening, especially as more and more data-gathering technologies and systems become better integrated and interconnected to speed up processing and analysis time. Following is an article excerpt. You might wish to read it and then hit the "BACK" button on your browser to return to this page:

 From BigThink's Daily IdeaFeed:

Targeted Web Ads Tied to Your Credit Card Buys
Pay for a fast food lunch with your credit card then see weight loss ads next time you're online. That kind of outcome is likely under moves Visa and Mastercard are studying.

You cannot avoid this intrusion, nor can you avoid this "filtration" of what is "selected" for you to see. But you can anticipate it, and have some fun with it by varying your routines; your routes; the stores where you purchase things; the types of things that you purchase and the timing of those purchases -- and especially (you may even laugh) randomizing the sites you view and the subjects you research.

Understand that in taking command of your limited privacy, you can always feed the data aggregators misleading information. If you research important things, break up the time spent on those sites with, for example, time spent (while you're away from your device for a while) on sites which are of either no interest whatsoever to you (randomizing with irrelevant data), or by countering your time investment with something that is the ideological opposite of what you are truly interested in (neutralizing with opposing data).

If you know that you are being observed, and you cannot escape the intrusions which technology has made virtually unavoidable, then put on a show. Feed these voracious data-miners misinformation. This is perhaps the last game left to play (actually an old espionage trick to find "leaks" in security) which can make your profile less about who you are (privately), and more about what you'd like them to think (publicly).

Any good interrogator, prosecutor, soldier or illusionist knows the value of misdirection, or of sensory confusion. It is a low-technology gambit to do a bit (unfortunately not enough) of gaming an increasingly abusive high-technology environment.

Don't worry. I won't tell anybody that you've read this article. It doesn't matter though. They'll already know.

Douglas E. Castle []

by Douglas E Castle

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