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Ask Slashdot: Can Creating New Online Accounts Reduce Privacy Risks? 164

Posted by timothy
from the that-sounds-like-a-forlorn-hope dept.
rjnagle writes "I'm concerned about the implications of storing personal data on Gmail, Facebook, and other social media sites. I'm less worried about individual data than the accumulating mass of data which potentially be used against me (for targeted marketing, credit reporting and who knows what else?) One solution I'm considering is just to abandon individual accounts and start clean and new gmail/facebook accounts. So while Google/Doubleclick might possess lots of data about me from 2001-2012, from this point on, they only have a clean slate. Would this kind of solution address my privacy concerns? (assuming I remove cookies, change IP address before doing so etc). Or are an individual's profile by now so unique that simply creating a new gmail or Facebook account would fail to prevent these data collection agencies from figuring out who I am? Insights and tips are appreciated."
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Ask Slashdot: Can Creating New Online Accounts Reduce Privacy Risks?

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  • That's cute, kid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:24PM (#44768605) Journal

    If the data mining companies already fill in your profile and preferences by scouring multiple resources and linking multiple accounts to get the best picture they can, why would you think that starting a new account would be anything other than a temporary break in their data which they would fill in as soon as they correlate the new account with your old ones?

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:47PM (#44768877) Homepage Journal

      the data is shit anyways. that's why facebook is a big deal, since they're the only one's who have enough somewhat reliable data to actually sell adverts targeted at 20-35 year old people living in country X.

      if you want some crap data for them, visit sites you wouldn't normally. that doesn't stop them from selling targeted ads though, they'll just be poorly targeted.. not that they care too much.

      oh and changing your gmail address wont help one bit, clearing your cookies does a lot more(if you're worried about doubleclick etc..). or heck, just use the apk hosts file method. doubleclick doesn't have your email but they have your browsing history.

      • by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @05:02PM (#44769065) Journal

        And yet, their data is mostly worthless. By the time I post about something on Facebook, 99% of the time, it is no longer actionable. For example, I'm seeing ads for hot water heaters because mine sprung a leak. That's not the sort of thing you put off fixing, so by the time I saw the first water heater ad on Facebook, the new water heater was already ordered and installed.

        And they keep doing that over and over. I'll order something, and the next day they'll show me ads for similar products. Helpful hint: I just bought a cornet. I'm not likely to be interested in buying a second one. At least "You just bought [X], so you might like [accessories for X]" ads would be useful, but the "You just bought [X] so you might be interested in [slight variant of X]" ads are pretty much useless. Thus far, I've seen exactly one such ad that was even marginally plausible—an ad for camera lenses from some vintage products website after I bought a vintage lens on eBay. However, even that is not the sort of thing you buy every day. Show me that ad again in a year or two.

        What makes the ads even more useless is that they're for the same type of product from companies that I already do business with. They aren't introducing me to new businesses. They aren't introducing me to new products that I'm not already aware of, having just studied that business's offerings in that area. So what exactly is the purpose of showing me this ad?

        But the best part is that they keep showing me ads for products made by my employer's biggest competitor. They know who my employer is.

        Yeah, I'm pretty sure their data mining strategy involves a drunken monkey flinging crap against the wall.

        • by causality (777677)

          They aren't introducing me

          Is that how you describe the spying, manipulation, and dehumanization in which they engage? You rate them on how effectively they do so and express your disappointment that their art has not yet been perfected as a science?

          Sometimes I suspect that this civilization is lost.

        • In general, I want to be marketed to, with a caveat. That caveat is that I want companies who sell the things I'm interested in marketing to me. I'm not interested in the new iShiny. I don't want to hear about or see your toothpaste, your beer, or your crap toilet paper. On the other hand, I'm very interested in your new gizmo with the open-source Linux drivers. Tell me about your new oscilloscope. Tease me with new stuff for my 3-D printer. I'm constantly searching the web, and spending big, on tools and m

        • no, don't see any ads with adblock plus
        • by sh00z (206503)

          Thus far, I've seen exactly one such ad that was even marginally plausible—an ad for camera lenses from some vintage products website after I bought a vintage lens on eBay. However, even that is not the sort of thing you buy every day. Show me that ad again in a year or two.

          This is interesting--I had no idea that such linking goes on. It makes me much happier that over a decade ago, I segregated my online presence into three identities--one for family and friends, one for general interest/discussio

        • I'm glad you brought this up because I've been laughing at exactly the same thing. I don't give two craps about privacy, but if you're going to use my information for your purposes at least do a good job of it. I laugh hysterically every time I see all the ads for something I just purchased showing up over and over on every Web page for days after I already made the purchase. It's not a very smart system of snooping. Show me something meaningful if you're going to go to all this trouble to try to figure
      • by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday September 05, 2013 @05:06PM (#44769111)

        Even with clearing cookies, there is still plenty of identifiable stuff in a browser, such as order of plugins, order of the font list, etc. The EFF has their Panopticlick which pretty much shows that almost every browser is unique.

        If one wants to keep two accounts completely separate, I'd go to the length of having the second account in a completely different VM.

      • by pla (258480) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @07:01PM (#44770201) Journal
        that's why facebook is a big deal, since they're the only one's who have enough somewhat reliable data to actually sell adverts targeted at 20-35 year old people living in country X

        My pet iguana's profile would like to disagree with you. Sure, "they" know they have a 20-35YO (in people years) male that studies insects, likes warm weather, and dislikes Tennessee Williams... But I'd like to see them sell something to him.
      • by Dr Max (1696200)
        Well if you have gmail then doubleclick does have your emails, as they are both part of google.
    • Re:That's cute, kid. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @05:03PM (#44769069)
      So my company wanted me to either create a FB account or link to my existing FB account for some social media activity. I created a new FB account with just my name and the barest of details. Within a week, FB was suggesting friends from old account.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 05, 2013 @05:04PM (#44769087)

      I designed and developed such a system. The relationships are typically scored by some weight, or at least some form of network distance. If you break the connections enough, it will ultimately distance the overall relationship beyond the level that they are willing to target. We go after low hanging fruit first, and throw out nearly all of the data we even manage to get, through great difficulty, just because it is commercially useless beyond a few months.

      Remember, we targeting groups, not individuals. Groups mean scale. Individuals mean work and difficulty. The low hanging fruit is what bumps up the margin. The commercial use of meta data is very different from government use of meta data. Commercial use is about groups, and an industry where people view PII as a potential liability. Government use is about PII itself, buddy favors, and corruption.

      For example, the governments already know who associates with terrorists, and have been able to figure that out for decades with people on the ground, hovering around terrorists. The information they are gathering now is all about individual data. It can serve no other purpose. That is what is scary! I am not paranoid about my information being in these commercial systems, because I have seen how difficult it is to even do anything with it other than to sell some product a little bit better. Even blackmailing would be extremely difficult with commercial data. Even if I decided to try to target a single person, I would have a hell of a time doing it. The systems are not designed for that. However, the government access with no accountability, and no legitimate purpose, with data organized to target individuals, and systems developed for correlating massive amounts of historical information... commercially useless old data... old data that has no reason to be there except to harass and intimidate. That is scary.

      My advice is to keep accounts fresh, delete cookies regularly, and change your IP. And, importantly, do the changes all at once so that there is no overlap that can be used to glue the new with the old. That alone will make you meaningless to any commercial system I am aware of. Government systems? I am not an expert there.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:26PM (#44768627) Homepage

    Notice that a lot of these services, particularly Facebook and Google+, specifically say it's against the rules to have more than one account.

    It shows precisely their intent: To gather as much information about you and your habits as possible. They can't do it as effectively if people have multiple accounts.

    This, along with not allowing pseudonyms is one of the worst things that has happened to the Internet in the past decade or so. It used to be you could have as many different accounts on different sites as you wanted. Now everything is being condensed into a small handful of services, all of which have gestapo-like policies requiring your real information and name. It's just sad.

    • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:33PM (#44768739)

      What part of "abandon the old accounts" and start new ones did you miss? The day when you are prohibited from closing/disabling/abandoning an online account will be a sadder day than the one you're lamenting about.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You cannot close accounts, you merely remove your ability to access them, they are there forever. All the data remains intact by law, and given to anyone with access to it, such as law enforcement, home security agencies, ad agencies, marketing services, and credit rating agencies.

      • What part of "abandon the old accounts" and start new ones did you miss?

        The part where it's Google/Facebook/Whomever that decides whether an account is your and open, not the user.

        Case in point: Facebook won't let users close accounts, only "disable" them. They still retain all your shit.

        • by pla (258480)
          The part where it's Google/Facebook/Whomever that decides whether an account is your and open, not the user.

          And the part where this entire discussion relates to people who take positive action to protect their privacy?

          How do you propose Google/Facebook/Whomever recognize that "zork98' has the same owner as "bin55go"? Will they go by my fake DOB? As much of my fake mailing address as they require to make an account? My throwaway email address I used to sign up? My randomized user agent? Hell, if yo
          • The part where it's Google/Facebook/Whomever that decides whether an account is your and open, not the user.

            And the part where this entire discussion relates to people who take positive action to protect their privacy?

            Uh, I was responding directly to GP; not sure what you mean by this.

            How do you propose Google/Facebook/Whomever recognize that "zork98' has the same owner as "bin55go"?

            Good question; they probably ask the NSA.

            HA!

            Okay, technically they have my IP address - Which (in the case of accounts I access from work) could include "only" a few hundred people. And ones I access from the free WiFi at Starbucks in the morning... Well that narrows it down to one of millions.

            Aah, therein lies the chink in your armor: how many people who work at the same place you do, also use that same Starbucks WiFi? Also, do you have a decent-length commute, and is the coffee shop closer to your home or workplace? If the answers to those 2 questions are "yes" and "closer to home," then you're probably not quite as obscured as you'd like to be.

            And therein we have the ultimate irony of policies designed to make you easier to track - Most of them only apply to those dumb enough to make themselves easy to track in the first place.

            Them, and over-confident sorts who allow

    • by schneidafunk (795759) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:34PM (#44768747)
      I tried signing up for a new youtube account today and was REQUIRED to give them my phone number in order for them to send me a text message to 'verify my account'. I was unable to upload a video without doing so. I ended up signing up to vimeo instead.
      • by timeOday (582209)
        Nobody even questions, why should you need an account to share a video in the first place? Slashdot is practically the only place left on the web where you can do anything (such as posting a comment) without an account. I really do think buying anything with cash may become highly suspect within the next 20 years.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          You are aware that there are entire boards more or less dedicated to anonymous posting, right? /. is far from the only place where you can post anonymously, and those other places even encourage it. They are mostly shit holes, but that is beyond the point.

        • /. can get away with that because it has a proven and AFAIK unique moderation system which prevents anonymous troll and spam comments from having much impact.

        • by sublayer (2465650)

          Slashdot is practically the only place left on the web where you can do anything (such as posting a comment) without an account.

          Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] allows editing of most articles without requiring an account.

          • by oag2 (2854559)
            Only in theory. In practice, they'll reverse your edits if you're anonymous.
            • by sublayer (2465650)

              Only in theory. In practice, they'll reverse your edits if you're anonymous.

              "They" will revert vandalism and other inappropriate edits regardless of whether you are logged in or not. Likewise "they" often keep good edits from editors who are not logged in. Feel free to provide links here to reasonable edits (as diffs [wikipedia.org]) that were reverted just because you were "anonymous", and I'll probably be able to tell you exactly why they were reverted. (Disclosure: I am a frequent editor of Wikipedia - registered with a different name there to what I use here.)

              • by oag2 (2854559)
                (Someone should have modded me "flamebait," I guess!) My experience with trying to make simple typo/grammar fixes on wikipedia and repeatedly getting directed to the sandbox made me give up trying about 5 years ago, so I unfortunately can't find the diffs for you. For what it's worth, I was working as a copyeditor at the time, so it wasn't that I was making nonsensical corrections. But maybe I'll try again someday if the opportunity arises.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 05, 2013 @05:19PM (#44769285)

        I tried signing up for a new youtube account today and was REQUIRED to give them my phone number in order for them to send me a text message to 'verify my account'. I was unable to upload a video without doing so. I ended up signing up to vimeo instead.

        You only have to provide a phone number if you check the box to skip the captcha.

      • by Eyeball97 (816684)

        Succinctly, because I just woke up, BULLSHIT.

        To be clear, I refer to "REQUIRED to give them my phone number"

      • Use a free virtual/online sms number, like the ones attached to GoogleVoice accounts. Often as not, Google will let you "verify" your account on their various services using the same account's GoogleVoice number, I've noticed.

        Of course, there's a very good chance that it's one of the various Google account pages where they give you the (inaccurate) impression that you absolutely must verify -- often as not, there's a little link below the BS that will let you skip that step.

      • by jrumney (197329)

        I hope you entered a random 1-900 number first, before abandoning the registration. They need to get feedback that will make them sit up and notice that people are not happy with their non-privacy policies.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:36PM (#44768765) Journal
      What they really don't want(though people screwing up on cookies and IPs and such reduces the risk a bit) is effective segregation of different parts of your life at the same time.

      If somebody merely tries to 'start clean' every year/2years/5years/whatever, either he also gives up all his friends/family/contacts, or he might as well not bother, his new account will slot neatly back into his old networks and habits, and it just won't do much.

      If somebody has a strictly segregated set of accounts for different purposes, it makes each individual account less valuable(because the 'being a social dickhead' account now has no attached consumer preferences or professional income data) and it isn't necessarily the case that the accounts tie back together, barring mistakes on the user's part.

      Of course, with many of them enforcing 'real name' policies, and using facial recognition such that anybody posting a picture of you can rat you out, it isn't clear that you can win.
    • by Meostro (788797)

      Notice that a lot of these services, particularly Facebook and Google+, specifically say it's against the rules to have more than one account.

      This could work out well - create a second account and hope they both get deleted, then you can be 100% sure you're starting from bare-metal / scorched-earth.

      • That's assuming they actually delete the content, as opposed to taking complete ownership of it and blocking your access.

        • Either that or they'd just merge the accounts...I've had this happen before I *think* with Google, but not certain. Regardless, they are under no obligation to remove your content...really the only decision that YOU get to make is whether or not you log in.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 05, 2013 @05:03PM (#44769075)

      So stop lapping up the free shit that they're grunting out in your face.

      Demand paid services that will guarantee you some privacy, and pay for it. Stop expecting Google to run Gmail for free.

      Time was, you'd make a product, and charge a reasonable fee for it, and have a happy customer.

      Now, you make a product, give it away, and make money by doing things that harm your customers - like selling their personal data for a quick buck.

      Thanks Google.

      • While I agree with the sentiment, I'm really glad that the Internet didn't go in this direction to begin with. Why? Well, it doesn't matter how much I'm paying for security if the NSA (or whoever else in the Government feels like taking a peek) can still read all of my shit.

    • by xystren (522982)

      And they also want you to include your mobile number - nothing better than being able to link separate data pieces from multiple sources with a phone number. Might as well call that a unique numeric identifier for yourself.

  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:27PM (#44768649)
    Who are you hiding from? If it's simple google searches, sure it'll help. Just doing a quick search on my schneidafunk nick turns up a surprising amount of info. However, the NSA has a wide variety of tools to track down me down, including writing analysis [chronicle.com].
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:27PM (#44768659) Homepage Journal

    I need people to just let me get things done as Guest.

    • No shit. I tried to pay online for a medical bill, and they want me to create an account on their site. WTF? Just let me type in a unique pay code or something, give them a credit card number, and tell them how much to deduct. They don't even have to acknowledge that the amount is correct for the bill, if somehow that gives away private information.

      Instead, I thought "screw this, I'll just write a check". Which I haven't done yet, now five weeks later, so they're out the money until I feel like finding

      • That's nothing.

        There is web site of Indian Railways. To book a ticket, they need your name, address, telephone number, blood group, blood sample, retina scan, tongue sample, sperm sample and name of your first born son, your great grandparents and names of all teachers who have taught you in past.

        I said, no thank you.

  • by Shagg (99693) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:28PM (#44768673)

    I'm concerned about the implications of storing personal data on Gmail, Facebook, and other social media sites.

    Good.

    Insights and tips are appreciated.

    Don't.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Germany does that, actually.

    (I believe) Since it's unification, a German national ID number changes every time document ID is renewed, which is about every 5 (?) years. This is exactly to make it more complicated to track German nationals. Passports work this way as well.

    But, on the same time, whenever I asked the some police officer if I was allowed to drive in the country ( as people who have only a non EU driver's license may legally do it just for a year ), the police man asked my full name, my birth da

  • So when you create a new account and the same people tag you in pics and send you email and you write in the same way from the same geolocation..you get the picture. There is no reset, there is no hiding. We have turned the corner and there is no turning back. Welcome to the machine.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:32PM (#44768715)

    Did you replace your NIC adapter or manually change the MAC address.
    - sites can identify you by your network interface
    Did you burn all your web history in your browser?
    - sites leave cookies and other stuff
    Did you change your browser or hack it's ID string?
    - the browser ID and OS combination are pretty good identifiers at infrequently visited sites or with cross correlation.
    Did you ever attach your old ID to address or credit card information?
    - they will attach the new online account to the history if they can make a match
    Do you have any commercial games that you have attached to the online account info?
    - again they can update account info to a new account
    Did you throw out all your old contacts and don't talk to your old friend network, parents, work or other contacts?
    - your contact list is a pretty good identifier of you. This is what the NSA surveilance meta-data collection is all about.
    Did you change your browsing practices? Use new news sites, forums, game and porn sites?
    - again your browsing habbits are the meta data the NSA tracks
    Did you change your phrase usage, captialization and misspelling style?
    - again good identifiers of individuals

  • Reverse honeypots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Solandri (704621) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:34PM (#44768745)
    I've always maintained that passing laws to protect our privacy is a losing battle. If you make a law to make someone stop doing something they want to do, all that usually ends up happening is they figure out a way to do the exact same thing while skirting around the law.

    Instead, we should pollute their data. Create programs which can run when you're not using your computer, which look like multiple browsers and access websites in a random but quasi-human-like fashion. They'll amass tracking cookies, but the cookies will be tracking bots rather than real people. Decrease their signal to noise ratio so much that it's no longer cost-effective to collect people's private data, at least from monitoring people's browsing habits.
    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      That'll either target you differently, or they'll just assume that you're a bot and opt you out of tracking. I prefer to just block the ads in the first place.

    • Create programs which can run when you're not using your computer, which look like multiple browsers and access websites in a random but quasi-human-like fashion. They'll amass tracking cookies, but the cookies will be tracking bots rather than real people. Decrease their signal to noise ratio so much that it's no longer cost-effective to collect people's private data

      Are you really so clueless as to think that some very minor pattern analysis won't be able to tell the difference between you and a bot? (And

  • And on some remote NSA system somewhere ... all of your new accounts will just get aggregated with your old accounts once your profile with the NSA has enough to make a reasonable enough assumption that you're the same person.
  • You've already done it wrong. Paypal needs your real name and address, etc. There is absolutely no reason why Gmail does. So guess who's "John Smith" on Gmail since 2007? Me! I haven't used my real, actual name for any online account that doesn't truly verify it since the internet was invented.
    Yes, making a new account everywhere will help slightly but you should have given them a fake name in the first place.
    • by imatter (2749965)
      I don't think that a fake name used to create an account prevents them from knowing who you are. If your account acts like a 45 year male living in his parent's basement and your IP address results in your parent's house, I think you've been made.
  • Pay for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by holophrastic (221104) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:39PM (#44768785)

    If you don't want someone to amass your private data, why are you giving it to them for free in the first place, and why is your solution to keep doing so?

    You're talking about e-mail. Buy your own e-mail server from any shared-server host out there. Pay for it. It'll cost you something like $20/month. POP, IMAP, and WebMail isn't difficult.

    Quite frankly, if you've got a static IP (or buy one for a few bucks a month), you can just run your own from home.

    If you want it to be yours, buy it. Welcome to ownership. And the moment you pay for it directly, there are countless laws to protect you and your information.

    If you want free, then you're going to pay for it with your information instead of with your dollars. It's that simple. It's always been that simple.

    • by Mr.Intel (165870)
      This is the answer to almost every Internet-inspired drama. The internet wants to be free. Information wants to be free. The bottom line instead is, everything has a price including the internet and your information. Pay for it, own it and no one else can.
    • Quite frankly, if you've got a static IP (or buy one for a few bucks a month), you can just run your own from home.

      You do realize this violates most residential ISP TOSs/AUPs in the US, right? Just because you have a static IP does NOT mean you can run a 'server' unless you have business-class service (and by 'server', I mean anything that accepts inbound connections offering a service....be it email, a web server, ssh server, etc). Now, will they detect it and do something about it? Likely not in most cases unless there are complaints, but I know a lot of residential ISPs now block SMTP to deal with spam malware (fo

      • I would have argued that buying a static ip on most isp's tends to jump you out of residential class in the first place. but in any event, that's not my concern. I'm not in the U.S.A., and I know nothing of the poster's isp.

        • Nope - a static IP for residential will normally cost you like $5/month more where business class will normally cost you like $200/month more...
          • I like how you use "normally" and "you" (referring to me), as though you know my location, situation, and ISP.

            • Fair enough, poor word choice - was meant to be in the abstract and referencing common/average US pricing.
      • by mlts (1038732) *

        I also found that the dynamic IP addresses provided tend to be in a blacklist so E-mail will get shitcanned the moment it hits someone else's SMTP port. Of course, the trick is to use the ISP's or a third party's SMTP server as a relay.

      • Which would implying that torrenting is inherently illegal, as uploading small parts of the latest linux distro is providing a service.

        • I didn't say illegal - I said violated the TOS/AUP which means they can terminate your account for breach of contract. In theory, BitTorrent, Skype, or hell, even BattleNet could fall under the clause of most residential TOS/AUPs, but you aren't likely to run into issues there... It's all about economics and money for the ISPs, plus you can actually get a real SLA with business service (residential is always best effort)
  • level of paranoia increase: start with a new machine

    just using the same machine will id you

    no cookies, user accounts, or ip addresses needed

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/01/27/1638216/tracking-browsers-without-cookies-or-ip-addresses [slashdot.org]

    http://panopticlick.eff.org/ [eff.org]

  • by vinn (4370) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:40PM (#44768811) Homepage Journal

    The things you need to worry about with regards to privacy is everything else in your life. Did you apply for the grocery card that gives you those special discounts? If so, your information got sold. Did you buy a season pass last year at a major ski resort? If so, your information got sold. Did you get one of those cards at the casino so you could rack up some gaming points? If so, your information got sold. All of this, and a whole lot more, are available to marketers or really anyone who wants to pay for it.

    As a general rule, if you are filling out a form - regardless of whether its on the interwebs or printed on a dead tree - any information you provide is going to get sold. Actually, in many cases it's even worse, the information is just given away.

    So, if your reasoning for changing your online accounts is to beat the marketers, credit agencies, etc then you've got many other things to worry about that have probably already got you householded and deduped from everyone's databases. Now, if your goal in life is to, say, build an encrypted email platform and promote it for worldwide privacy use, then yes - I think you should be careful how big your online presence is. If you're worried about receiving a piece of direct mail from a private golf course because it's known you reside within 50 miles from their clubhouse, have a net income of $X, and drive an Audi, well, in that case you're probably already screwed because they already know all that.

  • To truly create the anonymity you are looking for, you should create 200 accounts on each service and spend every day creating false data to obfuscate the real you. Spend at least 10 times the time you would normally spend on Facebook, Reddit, Google accounts and Spotify doing things you'd never do. No algorithm would ever truly know if you were a My Little Pony customer or a porn addict.
    • by imatter (2749965)
      I once did a painting in art school, well it was 900 small paintings that made up one large painting. While I was working on this painting Peter Saul [wikipedia.org] gave a lecture at the school. When he finished I approached him and asked for his autograph on one of my little canvases. When I hung the 900 paintings in the final show I create reproductions of that one canvas for fear that the original would be stolen. I hung all five so that no one would know which painting was the original.

      The real solution... I never
      • by geekoid (135745)

        And thus explaining to the world you are a paranoid person who would let is paranoia prevent him from sharing art.
        You should see someone about that.

  • First: it only take one of your FB friends to tag a picture of you with your new profile that were tagged before in your old profile to link both accounts.

    Second: why would you trust FB (or any other third party service, anyway) with your information if you want it to keep private? Social networking (and the internet in general) is for publication of info (with emphasis in the "public" part of publication).

    Bottom line: keep your private things in your own disk, not in a service designed to share conte
  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @04:58PM (#44769011) Homepage
    1) If you are abandoning the old accounts, do it when you buy a new computer. 2) Never give out more information than necessary 3) If they demand a phone number, send it to either a friend's phone or if truly paranoid a burner phone purchased with cash. 4) Before abandoning the old accounts, fix their information by replacing it with new, incorrect information. 5) Then delete them. 6) Never use Facebook for anything. They are too expensive privacy wise for the cheap stuff they offer. You can get what they offer (or similar stuff) at other web sites, for less of a privacy invasion. 7) On your new PC, set security HIGH and accept a bit of inconvenience,
    • by ClintJCL (264898)
      You can't get what facebook offers at other sites. Facebook offers the audience of every single person I know (except 2). No other service does.
      • by gurps_npc (621217)
        So the reason you like Facebook is that everyone else uses it?

        Hm. Most people are not entirely 100% sheep and are willing to use products that other people have not used.

        If your friends refuse to check your blog, or answer your emails, or play games with you on a service of your choice, then they are not your friends.

        As for the notification aspect, you can set your blog and game to send emails to your friends. Of course, they will probably hate your as much for that as they hate you for doing it to th

  • You need to change your computer to remove any identifying signature the trackers can use to correlate with their old records of you. Then you have to assume your ISP is ratting you out so you'll have to leech off of someone else's WiFi (with a spoofed MAC changed daily). For the really paranoid you should also consider completely changing the websites you visit (switch from Google to Bing, etc.) since that "metadata" can be used to identify you through your behavioral profile.

    Once you've established a sani

  • I'm more interested in security rather than privacy. What's the worst that can happen? Targeted ads? I block ads anyway. Future employer might look at my Facebook posts? He's welcome to... it might educate him. Bank may refuse loan? I care two hoots. My govt or NSA can track me down? Lol that'd be a really stupid thing on their part. What I wouldn't want though are insecure systems which could enable my accounts to get hacked or my transactions to be compromised.
  • by albacrankie (1017430) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @05:22PM (#44769327)
    I used to get ads featuring young ladies in skimpy underwear. Move on a few years, and now I get ads for 'mature' dating sites. These ads are extremely depressing. So much so that I suspect it's a euthanasian plot intended to make me top myself. It may succeed. And now you're suggesting I could fix things by changing my e-mail address. That may be even more depressing. Fuck it!!!!
  • Not going to work (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @05:30PM (#44769431)
    It has been observed that some very basic data can uniquely identify people in the US. IIRC this can be as simple as: Your zipcode, gender, and birthdate. Never mind your browser, IP, list of contacts, common words you use. Just those 3 things are enough to uniquely identify most people.
  • A creepy anecdote (Score:5, Informative)

    by ebunga (95613) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @05:43PM (#44769551) Homepage

    For the longest time I had a fake facebook account, as did an acquaintance. Despite the fact that neither of those accounts were connected to our real lives, and the fake accounts did not follow each other, Facebook was able to suggest I may know my acquaintances brother...

    Facebook is a stalker so dedicated to looking in your windows while masturbating in the bushes behind your house that it not only planted the bushes, but also built the house.

  • I remember a story here on Slashdot that mentioned a browser plug-in that sent Google, etc random searches, keywords, etc., thus corrupting the data that was collected about the user.

    Does anyone remember the name of that project or any other details? I would think that it might be useful if you could seed the data that is mined with enough crap to make it much less useful.

    I'd be happy to use something like that. I'm already using disconnect.me and startpage.com and https everywhere and pay for email that

  • by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @08:51PM (#44770845) Homepage Journal

    Every account I have in under a different handle, each piece of mobile equipment is under a different
    persona http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/ [fakenamegenerator.com] I don't do social sites only because I don't care for them.

    I've nothing to hide, it's just what I do. I was security conscious long before Gore gave the public access to the Internet.

    Forte Agent mail reader lets you have multiple personalities, POP3ing Email from your other accounts.
    -I don't care for online e-mail.

    Google will catch up with you if you have multiple Gmail accounts; asking if you would like to combine
    them and use your real full name Mr. Micky Mouse . I see this as an IP match and where the weak link is.

    It's what I do, but not a fanatic about it, I know there are key phrases, and statements I'm prone to use
    no matter the account.

    Just use a HOSTS file it blocks most of your tracking and spam online, it's your E-mail address that screws you (spam wise),
    I use https://spamgourmet.com/ [spamgourmet.com] for disposable Email addresses, many filter that address and don't allow it.
    -A HOSTS file block tracking ie if you don't touch their site they don't know about you or your surfing habits.

    Root (jailbreak) your mobile equipment so you can use a HOSTS file cause your phone/tablet has conversations with the trackers.
    Google Play Store put a halt to programs that stopped that conversation, so you have to find your blockers elsewhere.

    And always read ToS's and Privacy Policies, while they may not be telling you the truth they do list sites you need to block
    if you use their service (tracking). Also one's with a hardcore we collect everything policy I've no use for (Angy Birds (rovio.com)).

  • Here's what won't vary if you do that-

    Your ISP. Your ISP may have everywhere you've ever surfed keyed by your name, your ID (whatever you showed them) and your router. Your ISP knows everything. Think they collect and share that data ? Think they can make money by doing that? It's not even illegal to cyber stalk someone if you're they're ISP, phone company or any other company you give info to as we're finding out . Since it's not illegal to do it and they can make money doing it, (it's safe to assume) they

    • I should add- this is one of the reasons I have never applied to large companies like Google and Yahoo. They just know way way too much about me.

      You're going to sit across a desk in an interview with someone who knows absolutely everything about everywhere you've ever surfed at any time in your life, or at least, as deep as that person cares to know.

      You've got to be crazy.

      You think you're sitting there presenting yourself in your best light, as you do in an interview but trust me, the full force of dehumani

      • You're going to sit across a desk in an interview with someone who knows absolutely everything about everywhere you've ever surfed at any time in your life, or at least, as deep as that person cares to know.

        If you can earn more for Google than the cost of your salary, do they care? My guess is probably not.

        • It';s not that they care. It's that they know. That's the invasion of privacy. That's the dehumanization.

          Along these lines it's amusing to read that the very-married ex Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who's famous for asserting that everyone should just get over their need for privacy is spending 6 million soundproofing his New York love nest so his neighbors won't hear him having loud sex with his girlfriends... did I say whores? No. I didn't .

          http://theblemish.com/2013/07/heres-googles-eric-schmidts-sex-pad/ [theblemish.com]

          So

  • If you want privacy, don't go out in public where people can see you. And remember, just because you are sitting at home, undressed in front of you computer, you are still making yourself "visible" in a public place when you use the internet.

    Alternatively, make sure that you stay insignificant and unremarkable, and nobody will bother you, whether they are criminals or government; but I repeat myself.

  • I was once advised by Philip Agee that if you are a social activist the worst thing you can do is worry excessively about surveillance. If you make too much effort to avoid surveillance yo will fail to make any social change and therefore give them victory without a fight. A just cause was never stopped by surveillance e.g. fall of apartheid, civil rights movement in US etc
  • Seems to me all they'd need to do is match up address books to make a reasonable guess as to which old and new accounts are whom. Not much different from what Facebook and LinkedIn already do, albeit for "who knows whom". Same principle, tho.

  • I'm concerned about the implications of storing personal data on Gmail, Facebook, and other social media sites.

    Stop using them.

    Ah, so they do some things that you like? Well now you've got to the nub of the problem : are the services that they provide to you sufficiently worthwhile to counterbalance the intrusiveness of their data mining.

    Incidentally, doing things like trashing your Facebook account, then setting up a new one and re-friending lots of the same people won't do much, if anything, to break t

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