Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tracking and correlating to anti-social behaviors really could affect people; Twitter's new approach


Twitter has announced an interesting technique for recommending “who to follow”, based on people who follow similar websites with embedded Twitter gadgets.  But Twitter says it deletes actual browsing histories after 10 days.  The details are here
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Electronic Frontier Foundation says that this mechanism shows a commitment to “do not track”, in a piece by Rainey Reitman, here.  EFF says that DNT really isn’t about resisting the behavioral placement of ads; it’s about user control of information that could provide hostile people portraits of one’s inner life.
Of course, I’ve probably characterized my own inner life pretty explicitly anyway.  What you read is what you get.

Here’s a piece from Bloomberg Law School (YouTube podcast) about the privacy implications of “liking” on Facebook (or YouTube).


The law professor (Lori Andrews, from Chicago) says that information on “likes” could be correlate to bill paying behavior and even affect credit scores or credit worthiness or employability some day.  Overseas, imagine the ramifications for families in despotic countries. She even gives a good example of a problem with Dictionary.com (even a knowledge site).  She mentions the future dangers of facial recognition software in conjunction with pictures taken of people in bars or various other "controversial" places.   She wants an "opt-in" approach rather than opt-out, as in browsers. Note, my own doaskdotell.com does not track users at all in any way, but there are aggregate statistics on hits by country and various other categories  

Andrews authored "I know Who You Are; I Saw What You Did" (Free Press, 2012). 

Webmasters always have the possibility of tracking down specific IP addresses that searched for specific strings and found specific associated web pages, which could have legal significance.  (Again, see July 27, 2007). 

Picture: Near Chaco Canyon, NM, where a culture spent 250 years tearing itself down and leaving. 

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