Feeds

Google borrows Facebook's privacy manual

What's behind the latest cockup?

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

AOL's search logs were released as a gift to the robo-sociologists of the blogosphere. (It was released by AOL's "labs", and at the time bloggers complained when AOL withdrew the data from their servers).

In this grand experiment, we're merely the lab rats, generating the data. The researchers don't know what they're looking for, per se, but the expectation is that the answer will loom before their eyes - like a shape or a phrase coalesces out of the dots of a stereogram. This is the great hope of the Hive Mind.

In RoboSociology 2.0, the epistemological quest is merely pattern recognition, and has already brought us revelations such as the news that people get more drunk at weekends.

Isn't it worth sacrificing just a little privacy when we get breathroughs like that? OK, maybe not...

This is a project without a name yet, although "Junk Science" will have to do for now.

Meanwhile, let us mull over a comment issued on December 20 by Google CEO Eric Schmidt:

"For us, privacy does not begin or end with our purchase of DoubleClick. We have been protecting our users' privacy since our inception, and will continue to innovate in how we safeguard their information and maintain their trust."

(Which brings to mind Chomsky's famous quote about Reagan and the truth. The President sincerely believed himself not be lying, having persuaded himself of the "truth" to his own satisfaction.)

A modest proposal

So what's the answer - must we all go "off grid" to avoid the data harvest? Not necessarily, perhaps.

A Reg reader recently suggested that there was a simple solution to the UK Government's ID card obsession - extending in all directions at once - and it might translate usefully here.

The solution to this disaster is to obtain and publish the data contained on as many ID cards as possible as and when they are introduced, starting with oneself. As long as the police are not instructed to drag grannies from their beds at 4.00am to be enrolled, then a compromised ID per se cannot serve as a basis for refusing a person's normal rights and entitlements.

The consequence is that the UK Govt will be looking for at least 2 Luther Blissetts, the real one, me of course, and my namesake, in order to collect taxes from.

Almost two years ago I chanced upon the twilight zone of spam-blogs. It's a fascinating business. I interviewed the man behind a tool called Blog Mass Installer, which could create and populate 100 "blogs" in 24 minutes. It's undoubtedly the most flourishing corner of the web "ecology" - just see how well Google's own Blog Search Engine copes with a simple search term of your choice.

My suggestion - and it's probably a glass-half-full suggestion - is that we employ some of these formidable software talents to create our personal fictions on our behalf.

Facebook has already tried to sue an MP for impersonating himself - I suggest we focus our attentions here.

(Email and seasonal stereograms to the usual, please.)®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.