From the author:
What promise Company exactly?
Interestingly, hardly any companies promise that they will not buy or exchange data from third parties. This restriction usually only applies to "personal data" in the US or "personal data" in the EU - the sensitive details such as full name, date of birth or address.
The limitation of not selling or renting user data, on the other hand, does not apply to the rather barely defined anonymous data that collects and aggregates web pages. They are supposed to be anonymous and far away from the individual user.
Put the puzzle together
However, with the right algorithm, these two parts of the puzzle can be reassembled in a very short time and a user can be identified retrospectively.
"When it comes to social networking, anonymity is not enough for data protection," is the main conclusion of a groundbreaking study on the practice of re-identification of Arvind Narayanan and Vitaly Shmatikov.
Companies can find out who you are
In other words, even if you think the anonymity of the crowd is protecting you, companies can find out who you are when they have only enough parts of the data puzzle.
Data collection is even dependent on your consent. When you start a new application, such as a game, this usually requires access to very private information such as birthdays, schools visited, your friends' list, and even articles in newsfeed, all of which are valuable tips for targeted advertising.
Really private use: Unaffordable?
This allows you to automatically track who is eating in which restaurants or watching movies. If a social network between 5 and 20 generates annual sales per customer, why does not it offer you Plan B for the same amount to choose a truly private service?
The cost would surely not be prohibitive. Facebook, for example, says per user accounts for about one dollar a year to keep its infrastructure running.
Models for data protection
Or how about a multi-level model in which the data protection-oriented users can choose what they want to surrender as a return for a series of discounts? Cable television, iTunes and many other services prove that people are willing to pay for access to content that is important to them.
Google Apps, the enterprise version of the productivity applications like Gmail and Google Drive, is by the way such an alternative. In contrast to the free consumption variant, the Business version does not have any ads based on scanning the content of each message in the inbox. This type of automated snooping would not tolerate any business clientele.
Designed to get us into the pan!
The reason why the regular consumer is being victimized is simple, says American privacy advocate Christopher Soghoian, "Facebook was designed to hurt your privacy at every turn.
There is no way to buy a Facebook or Google subscription that preserves privacy. If these companies were to promote their new product as something important to data protection, they would have to admit that their regular product is no good. These services are pre-set by default to punch us in the pan. "
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