You thought they knew everything about you?

“Short of wearing a burka, we may all one day become Tom Cruise at the mall, because marketers who track us as we shop online and send us ads, want to do that as we shop in the real world.”

Did you see 60 Minutes recently or read the story ‘Say goodbye to anonymity’?

Lesley Stahl, CBS News 60 Minutes: Facial recognition is already in some of our home appliances like TVs. In our mobile devices, PINs and passwords are giving way to faceprints. And the technology can single us out in real-time as we go about our daily business, often without us ever knowing.

Joseph Atick, one of the first scientists to develop facial recognition software: What’s unique about face recognition is the fact that you can do it surreptitiously, from a distance, and continually.

Alessandro Acquisti is a professor at Carnegie Mellon who does research on how technology impacts privacy. “He says that smartphones may make ‘facial searches’ as common as Google searches and he did an experiment to show how easy it could be… He ran pictures [of random students] through a facial recognition program he downloaded for free that sifted through Facebook profiles and other websites. And he was able not only to identify many of them instantly, he also got their personal data, including in some cases, their social security numbers.

“Short of wearing a burka, we may all one day become Tom Cruise at the mall, because marketers who track us as we shop online and send us ads, want to do that as we shop in the real world.” That reference was to the 2002 Cruise film Minority Report. I’m somewhat horrified by this.

I’m happy that with their relationship on the rocks, Chris (Lefty) and Kelly Brown found a marriage counselor in their Xbox, but I wonder how much of privacy is given up to prove that new Xbox experience that’s being launched.

I can’t quite explain why, but this future automotive device weirds me out.

And it’s primarily commercial entities doing this, from the info we give out ourselves. I suppose I should unplug everything on social media and hide in my cave. But I won’t (yet).

As Tom the Mayor wrote on Facebook: “You know, You can’t ‘friend’ an Amish person on Facebook!”

Shooting Parrots wants to give Google the finger because “corporate giants like Amazon, Starbucks and Google [and Apple!] who have taken to biting the hands that feed them by avoiding paying tax where their customers live,” while, I would add, using the info we give them to get ever richer. SP is using DuckDuckGo.com in lieu of Google; its motto on the page: “Search anonymously. Find instantly.” It may lessen the “Google experience,” but it is a reasonable tradeoff, I think.
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Some kid’s in jail for something he wrote on Facebook.

The high school girlfriend is 60

Are you still in contact with your first great love?

Ah, my first great love, and all that entails. I really liked her dad, her mom not quite so much. She probably felt the same way.

We had our ups and downs over the years, most of which is not going to make it here. Maybe in some roman à clef that I will compose only in my head. I will say that she had thrown some of the greatest parties ever.

In any case, we’re good now. She’s happily married, I’m happily married. We went to her wedding; she was at least invited to ours. It’s all copacetic. My family even saw her family a few months ago.

Are you still in contact with your first great love?
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Arthur wrote this interesting bit about privacy, and while I’m not sure I would take it to the level he does, the privacy of other people does tend to factor into whatever I write. And it’s not just privacy, precisely; it’s based on comfort level or my perception of other people’s comfort level. I have discovered that there are facts about my life with other people that are well known by a certain coterie of folks, but perhaps not by the general public. I tend to err towards saying less, which can seem somewhat cryptic, I suppose. There are plenty of things I would say on this blog that I won’t because someone else might possibly, remotely, be affected.

This reminds me of the thing I think is the funniest request I have been given. I wrote about a family member. Actually, I was quoting directly a family member. Well, a direct relative of that person asked me to redact what I wrote, because that relative was up for a Very Important Position. Oddly, the original source of the quote was/is still on the Internet somewhere, but mine popped up on the search engine. So, I did.

Conversely, I’ve taken a lot more open position about those who are deceased. So, if I know your deep dark secrets, and you pass away…