Feeds

Google borrows Facebook's privacy manual

What's behind the latest cockup?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.)®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
State Dept shuts off unclassified email after hack. Classified mail? That's CLASSIFIED
Classified systems 'not affected' - but, is this reconnaissance?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.