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A Data Scientist Visits The Magic Kingdom, Sans Privacy

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the it-puts-the-wristband-on-its-wrist dept.

Privacy 124

An anonymous reader writes "MailChimp Chief Data Scientist [John Foreman] is at Disney World this weekend wearing his RFID-equipped MagicBand. Here's how he thinks the practice of digitally tracking consumers in the physical world will reach everywhere from theme parks to our homes." Foreman's conclusion (and headline) — shades of Scott McNeally's famous "Get over it" — is "You don't want your privacy." That seems to miss the mark, at least for me: I don't mind parceling out certain kinds of information (like whether I like to buy decaf at Starbucks, or how long the wait is to ride Space Mountain), in contexts of my own choosing, but that's much different from being snooped on by the NSA or other state actors in other contexts.

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Fuck you! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008031)

I do value my privacy and its people like you selling it down the river for a cup of cofffee

Re:Fuck you! (0)

lemur3 (997863) | about 10 months ago | (#46008453)

how much do you value the privacy of what kind of coffee you drink ?

do you value it as much as the things a loved one might tell you in bed at night ?

Re:Fuck you! (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 10 months ago | (#46008759)

how much do you value the privacy of what kind of coffee you drink ?

do you value it as much as the things a loved one might tell you in bed at night ?

That's kind of a nonsensical question. Assuming that someone reading Slashdot understands what can be accomplished through the collection of seemingly trivial and unconnected data, of course.

Would you rather die of cancer or blunt trauma? Would you rather your child or grandchild be killed?

Having some "data scientist", who, let's face it, makes him living advising corporations on how to collect and use data, tell us, "You don't want your privacy" is rather insulting. I could tell him "You don't want your big toe" because he'd probably rather lose a toe than an arm. Either way, it's a loss.

If you can keep someone distracted enough to never realize that they're really not getting any benefit from all the data that's being collected about them, then it's a big win for the corporate and government elite. But it's still a loss. When you lose your privacy, there's no getting it back. This is a one-way street of no return and it deserves more serious evaluation than some technocrat jackoff at Disneyland.

Re:Fuck you! (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 10 months ago | (#46010381)

No, having someone like the OP pretend that you can actually share your private information only with "some" gigantic corporate entities is what is nonsensical.

The author of the article has a point, whether you agree with him or not. There are services which can only be delivered by letting people know a gigantic amount of information about you. Either you're happy with having pretty well anyone know that information about you in exchange for those services or you're not. You can't have it both ways. Either Google knows where you are so they can tell you where the nearest coffee shop is or they don't and they can't. Either you have a convenient GPS device in your pocket or you don't. We need to stop pretending that we can share this information only in a way that we're comfortable with. If it is collected it will be shared, if it is collected it can be obtained with or in some cases without a warrant, if it is collected someone else can collect it to.

A lot of the problem is just that we have this gigantic black hole in our thought processes where the government is seen as a gigantic terrifying evil but gigantic corporations are not. However much I distrust my government(s) I'd sure as hell rather the NSA were looking at my medical records than Google, the NSA is at least nominally something I can vote to change, but there ya go.

Re:Fuck you! (5, Insightful)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 10 months ago | (#46011159)

Indeed there is a great amount of privacy we should demand.

I'll start with his conclusion first, then with one of his Disney examples.

He claims we really don't want our privacy even in our homes because it is the future. Interesting.

It is odd how he concludes that we ultimately will be giving "all our info" to everyone, including random strangers on the Internet in exchange for a flashlight app. Would he mind if his job performance information (and those of his co-workers) are publicly shared? Perhaps he has always been a stellar employee and doesn't mind that becoming public. What about if his family's medical records become public knowledge, that is part of "all our info". perhaps again he is a rare individual with nothing he cares to hide in his family; nobody has a mental illness, nobody has reproductive issues, nobody had a tumor or other problem that could affect him or his children for seven generations.

Or taking it further, since he is willing to share "all our info" for his family with everyone online, what if we installed webcams in his bathroom, broadcasting every angle of the toilet and shower featuring his wife and daughters? Or cameras in his marriage bed? He plainly states he doesn't care about the privacy of himself or his family, so why not?

Moving on to the middle of TFA, he details about high-spending visitors should be given preferential treatment when waiting in line in order to encourage additional money extraction through entertainment. What he blissfully fails to notice is the flip side of the coin: everyone else gets screwed by this model.

Sure, if you are the wealthy people targeted for money extraction you will have entertainers making sure you have the time of your life. If you are the commoner spending an average amount of money your experience will decrease from the present level. And if you are not exactly wealthy but taking your family on a once-in-a-lifetime entertainment retreat, well, sucks to be you under the new model.

If he doesn't see the difference between a per-instance transaction of specific information versus a wholesale surrender of "all our info", he is a fool.

Re:Fuck you! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009407)

And from where I buy the coffee and what time and do I take sugar comes meta data becomes expensive when data profiling says my health insurance goes up because I like cream and sugar in my full fat late etc.

Enough meta data means you see the whole picture.

Re:Fuck you! (1)

tpstigers (1075021) | about 10 months ago | (#46008753)

Can't value it too much - you're connected to the Internet.

Re:Fuck you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009329)

Can't value it too much - you're connected to the Internet.

wow, I didn't know there was absolutely no way to view the internet anonymously. Oh wait, there are many!!! What are you in 1986 or something?

Re:Fuck you! (1)

tpstigers (1075021) | about 10 months ago | (#46009409)

There's a difference between privacy and anonymity. Get a dictionary.

Re:Fuck you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009473)

A dictionary attack?

Re: Fsck you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46011863)

Is that a dictionary URL?

There is good metadata - corporations wanting to plan factory expansion, public interest, new business models, loyal customers, etc.

There is bad metadata - molding public interest, tagging individuals as miscreants, tracking life altering circumstances. The modern version of ambulance chasing, blood sucking lawyers.

If you situate yourself in the middle of the Bell Curve, you are uninteresting as an individual. Anonymity rides near the peak of the curve. Tagging an individual without their permission, no matter how benign, is evil. There should be laws for people to request their data be erased from private databases.

Re:Fuck you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009373)

A Republic SIr , If you can keep it. Guess you lot are too much of a mickey mouse generation to manage it.

 

Re:Fuck you! (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 10 months ago | (#46009531)

Fuck John Foreman and the ass he rode in on. He may not value HIS privacy, but most of the rest of us do.

Re:Fuck you! (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 10 months ago | (#46010303)

Fuck John Foreman and the ass he rode in on. He may not value HIS privacy, but most of the rest of us do.

No, I don't really value John Foreman's privacy.

Already read it. (4, Informative)

Kotoku (1531373) | about 10 months ago | (#46008067)

It is called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Cory Doctorow already figured it all out.

Re:Already read it. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 10 months ago | (#46008091)

And Doctrow is a better writer. Damn that was painful to wade through.

Anyway, back to the point, I don't care if Starbucks knows that I haven't shopped there for a month and decides to entice me back with a 50% off coupon for a latte. I choose if I want to purchase something from Starbucks.

I care if the government is collecting information on me because the government can put me in prison.

Re:Already read it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008711)

The government isn't the one archiving your debit card PIN and making it available on the black market.

Re:Already read it. (1)

guises (2423402) | about 10 months ago | (#46009499)

I care if the government is collecting information on me because the government can put me in prison.

You should care if _anyone_ is collecting information on you. It's trivially simple for a private company to sue you into ruin, and they can have you arrested just as easily as the NSA can.

Re:Already read it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46010475)

You should care if _anyone_ is collecting information on you ...

Not the least because the NSA can collect (err, does collect) anything anyone else collects on you.

Re:Already read it. (3, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | about 10 months ago | (#46010133)

Where I disagree should be very obvious. Obama just stated on Friday that spying on the people won't change, but data collection would be privatized. This makes a very easy transition of all data into a single pool that all already questionable government offices have access to.

If you have a kiddie porn habit, you may find a job with the TSA. Outside of that, your employer may see an message from DHS during your hiring process that you did look at porn, or you had a communicable disease, or that you purchase alcohol or tobacco products, etc..

The point is, we all have histories. Most of us are not groomed politicians that have had people paying to cover up all of their mistakes through life. We should be able to choose what gets stuffed into a database and be able to see what people are collecting about us. Currently we can do this with some private company data, but the Government data we have no clue. Once these databases start to merge, it will all be closed and you won't be able to see a thing.

If this turd from Disney thinks it's a good idea to RFID chip himself, good for him. I think he's an idiot, but his choice. I have the same ability to choose not to do this, and both of us should remain able to choose.

Re:Already read it. (1)

Cochonou (576531) | about 10 months ago | (#46010949)

It's still much better than Makers.

Re:Already read it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46011281)

While you are bagging on Starbucks... I got one of their discount cards and was enjoying it over the summer. I thought I was way overpaying for coffee, but I did like my barista and she made my coffee just the way I liked it.

One hot Sunday afternoon, a few Starbucks executives showed up, took up all the seating, and I had nowhere to sit - so being I am getting older and cannot stand for long - I just left. Heck, at the time, they were not even using the seating - they just put little paper tents on tables reserving them. I came back the next day only to find she rang me right at six dollars for my coffee drink. I was paying around $4.50. Turns out at the meeting the baristas were instructed by the Starbucks Executive Team to charge extra for the shots of vanilla and coffee they had been putting in for me. I was already pushing it to enjoy their expensive coffee, but this is just too much, I had already spent over a hundred dollars on coffee. Their internet accounting rewards system made it very easy for me to see how badly I was hemorrhaging funds at Starbucks.

I stopped buying coffee. Its just too easy to get some ice cream and instant coffee, put it in the blender, and make it myself for a tenth the price - Some may tell the difference in taste, but I can not. I enjoyed the social experience of a Starbucks visit, but after the visit of the Starbucks Executive Team, I no longer felt like a customer, rather I felt more like a rape victim, with the team of well-dressed jet-setters looking for dumb people like me to fund their Executive lifestyles. I did not even rate a seat.

I have been waiting for their system to tell them I have stopped buying their coffee. This is the rant they are going to get if they send me an email wondering why I am no longer buying their coffee.

I figure to hire just one $250K Executive with AirFare, Hotel, and car expense paid, about a half-million people like me will be asked for another half-buck for a squirt of sweetner in our coffee.

I know when one is that high up in an organization, one does not fret over a half-a-buck... but I do. Executives are hard to come by, hence their salary, but goofballs like me that can be coaxed to pay $5 for a cup of coffee are a dime a dozen and taken for granted. It took the skills of a Barista to get me in... it took the skills of the Starbucks Executive Team to bring me back to reality and to let me know how little I meant to them.

Re:Already read it. (1)

davecb (6526) | about 10 months ago | (#46008139)

Also Carl Hiaasen's Team Rodent [carlhiaasen.com]

Decaf at Starbucks? (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about 10 months ago | (#46008077)

Even if you don't care today, others are using data mining techniques to learn from those innocuous facts.

They know that coffee beans are decaffeinated using chemicals that cause cancer, and if they correlate that to an increased risk in cancer, they might increase your health insurance rates. And because people who drink decaf are statistically less alert and therefore more likely to get into car accidents than coffee drinkers, they're going to raise your car insurance rates, too.

Everybody has something to hide, even if the facts don't seem relevant to your well being today.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (3, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about 10 months ago | (#46008131)

A lot of coffee is decaffeinated by water (Swiss water process).

Plus I kind of think that doing risky behaviour *should* increase your premiums (and reduce everyone else's of course).
Next you'll be wanting smokers to get the same health insurance premiums as non-smokers.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 10 months ago | (#46008185)

Next you'll be wanting smokers to get the same health insurance premiums as non-smokers.

I do. Insurance shouldn't be about finding people devoid of risk and only insuring them.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about 10 months ago | (#46008259)

I agree it shouldn't, which is why it is regulated. All insures should be able to insure everyone for a fair price.
All I am saying is if that person is a smoker their premium should be higher than a non-smoker.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (2)

Sique (173459) | about 10 months ago | (#46008421)

But then you should also agree that smoking should lower your pension premium.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

cheater512 (783349) | about 10 months ago | (#46008481)

Why shouldn't it?

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008757)

Yep. And we can't stop at just smokers. That's unfair. And there's way more money to be made!

ANY risk taking behavior should result in higher costs. Do you drink coffee? Do you play sports? Bike ride? Hike/camp? Drink? Do drugs? Are you overweight? What negative genetic factors did your parents pass on to you? Own a gun? Drive more than X miles per year? Dance? Skydive? Sit on your ass in front of a pc all day? Watch too much tv? Use unsafe products in your home? Drive down dangerous roads? Live near a bad part of town? Live near people who have unsafe products in their home? Are friends with other people who take risks with their health and safety?

We must divide up your life to the 7th degree to find out every thing we can so we can charge you increased premiums.

What... You expected us to stop at just smokers? Ha.. The fool you.

-We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#46009045)

How about if they jog in polluted areas? Hang glide? Like to skate in their socks on the waxed kitchen floor? Inhale deeply as they go past the heart attack grill? Walking in the woods (where a poisonous snake was seen once)?

Do you really want to be assessed a fee for each and every thing you might do in your life that someone elsewhere thinks is unnecessary? Perhaps we can have machines on the walls to issue fines. No swearing, you might upset someone who has an elevated risk for heart disease!

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46010451)

>Do you really want to be assessed a fee for each and every thing you might do in your life that someone elsewhere thinks is unnecessary?

If it is demonstrable that there is statistically significant risk and the risk is re-evaluated on a constant basis to ensure fairness, then yes? Why would you not want people to be held responsible for their actions?

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#46010939)

You seem to have whooshed on what a dystopia that would be. I thought I was over-hinting with the no swearing thing and the fine machine on the wall, but I guess not.

There comes a point where the cost of accounting exceeds the loses from looser accounting. Of course, accountantants never account for the cost of accounting. In this case, the cost is the death of the human spirit and eventually a halt to all progress and freedom.

Part of the problem is that an insurance company will inevitably over-estimate the risk to make sure it doesn't get caught short. Another issue is that at some point they nail down the risk so tightly that they are no longer actually managing risk, just taking a cut of how much it will cost when the inevitable happens.

Meanwhile, insurance does OK at avoiding a risk, but it does a terrible job of reducing the cost when one of the risks materializes. In fact, too often it drives the cost up.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 10 months ago | (#46009851)

"Fair" would be preclusive to most who need it. They need it precisely because they can't pay their own bills. Those who can don't need it because they can.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 10 months ago | (#46008437)

Either all the same premiums or the US system where the insurance is just a tax on your genes, habits and lack - both systems are extreme and to much so for me. I like the idea of an insurance as it were - where a group of like minded people decided to share the risk. OTOH health insurance is so different and should on one hand be regulated and on the other should allow increase of premiums in certain cases: smoking, obesity and skiing would be some options not because they are risk taking, but because we know they increase costs on general population. Yet an additional premium on all skiers should be acceptable up to certain point at least. Obesity maybe questionable but smoking and skiing are perfect candidates for a premium - they do have different risk profiles and not only significantly so but also voluntarily. This said I would exclude e-cigartes as they get rid of the unpleasant consequences and give nicotine pure.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 10 months ago | (#46008531)

the US system where the insurance is just a tax on your genes, habits and lack

Lack?

AFAIK, it's illegal in the US to use genetic information in choosing health insurance rates. (Unless you mean "family history", which is different.) Insurance of all kinds is a tax on your habits: your behavior very directly influences your risk, and risk is really what insurance is about.

Incidentally, "the US system" for health insurance is to get it through your employer, where no factors matter (except who your employer is). At least until ACA, the individual markets were secondary (and as a result, unreasonably expensive).

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 10 months ago | (#46008679)

AFAIK, it's illegal in the US to use genetic information in choosing health insurance rates.

That is clearly not true since they already differentiate as to whether or not you have a Y chromosome.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008297)

That is, assuming the private companies are "fair" in their analysis and resulting actions. A worst-case scenario of government gathering data is bad, but that standard should also apply to anyone gathering data, including private companies. A worst case scenario for private companies is also pretty bad.

DHMO (0, Troll)

Pseudonymus Bosch (3479) | about 10 months ago | (#46008347)

A lot of coffee is decaffeinated by water (Swiss water process).

Check it out, it is actually dihydrogen monoxide, a chemical known for causing thousands of deaths worldwide.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008477)

"Plus I kind of think that doing risky behaviour *should* increase your premiums (and reduce everyone else's of course)."

AHAHAHAHAHA. It doesn't work that way in the real world. Prices may go up, but you can bet your ass yours won't be going down. They'll find a reason to keep it the same or raise it anyway.

Once the bar is raised, it doesn't come back down.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (4, Insightful)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about 10 months ago | (#46008803)

Plus I kind of think that doing risky behaviour *should* increase your premiums (and reduce everyone else's of course).

I never understood that argument. You guys argue that people who have insurance should pay their premiums in proportion to how likely they are to use it. You consider that the fairest possible payment system. However, if you take that to its logical conclusion, you should only charge people who actually end up using it. So you should go ahead and eliminate insurance altogether, and you have the fairest model possible: only people who get into car accidents pay the costs, only people who get sick pay medical costs, only people who get robbed suffer their losses.

The entire point of insurance is to make the payment unfair in order to diminish the payment by spreading the risk among everyone. You agree to pay something, even though you hope to never have to cash in on the insurance, so that if you do have to cash in, everybody else who doesn't need to cash in subsidizes you, and you pay less. You do this for peace of mind. What you should want isn't to pay commensurate to your risk, you should want everybody to pay equal rates, which will result in the lowest possible premium for everyone. If you determine that premium is too high for your risk level, that should mean you think your risk level is low enough to go without insurance.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009341)

What you should want isn't to pay commensurate to your risk, you should want everybody to pay equal rates, which will result in the lowest possible premium for everyone. If you determine that premium is too high for your risk level, that should mean you think your risk level is low enough to go without insurance.

Not only that, but insurance can't work with 'capitalistic' competing pools. In order for it to work, there must be exactly 1 risk pool, otherwise all of the competing pools try to reduce their net risk, until all of the risky people are priced out of the pools entirely (see health insurance).

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#46010919)

Not only that, but insurance can't work with 'capitalistic' competing pools.

That's kind of silly, considering insurance has been around for centuries as competing capitalistic pools.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009805)

Plus I kind of think that doing risky behaviour *should* increase your premiums (and reduce everyone else's of course).

I never understood that argument. You guys argue that people who have insurance should pay their premiums in proportion to how likely they are to use it. You consider that the fairest possible payment system. However, if you take that to its logical conclusion, you should only charge people who actually end up using it. So you should go ahead and eliminate insurance altogether, and you have the fairest model possible: only people who get into car accidents pay the costs, only people who get sick pay medical costs, only people who get robbed suffer their losses.

The entire point of insurance is to make the payment unfair in order to diminish the payment by spreading the risk among everyone. You agree to pay something, even though you hope to never have to cash in on the insurance, so that if you do have to cash in, everybody else who doesn't need to cash in subsidizes you, and you pay less. You do this for peace of mind. What you should want isn't to pay commensurate to your risk, you should want everybody to pay equal rates, which will result in the lowest possible premium for everyone. If you determine that premium is too high for your risk level, that should mean you think your risk level is low enough to go without insurance.

Except that isn't the logical conclusion. It is your conclusion. Likelihood does not equal end result.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009809)

> You guys argue that people who have insurance should pay their premiums in proportion to how likely they are to use it.

I don't see what the problem is. Amazon's even figured how to bill in advance for using insurance.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46010481)

>However, if you take that to its logical conclusion, you should only charge people who actually end up using it.

Of course. Insurance is risk pooling to cover large unpredictable expenses. If it were entirely predictable in advance, insurance wouldn't be necessary. However, since there is no known physical way to precisely predict an individual future, your argument is completely meaningless.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#46008871)

The facts don't matter nearly as much as the insurance company's WAG. They know that some decaf methods might carry a cancer risk and jack up your rates just in case.

Don't worry, if you don't get screwed on the decaf, there's a zillion other excuses waiting. Everything you say or do might raise your insurance rates too high for you to afford. Your insurance agent will become the worst tyrant you ever imagined, backed by a surveillance system the Stasi could only dream of.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#46010745)

If insurance companies were competing for my business, I'd have no problem with that. Let each take their best guess at my risk, and I'll go with the cheapest. The one who tends to guess most accurately will grow at the expense of the others.

Of course, health insurance today is nothing like that at all. I wish it were actual insurance, against unexpected risk, that I bought just like car insurance (with a similar pool for the highest risk few% where insurers just had to eat the losses as the price of doing business), with my employer no where in the picture.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about 10 months ago | (#46008143)

And because people who drink decaf are statistically less alert and therefore more likely to get into car accidents than coffee drinkers, they're going to raise your car insurance rates, too.

Yeah, so that would be the difference. There isn't a problem with Starbucks collecting the data and even doing analysis anonymously to build better marketing campaigns that may take further action. There is a problem if they are going to sell (or give away) my identified information to anyone else, such as an insurance company.

And then there are credit reporting agencies that seem to make money from data that is automatically reported to them by credit cards/collection agencies/etc. Where do I sign up to receive reports about everyone's late payments?

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

plover (150551) | about 10 months ago | (#46008221)

Except data is "usage agnostic". The data might help Starbucks reorder enough coffee for tomorrow's purchase, and it might also go into a cancer research study, and an insurance company for actuarial purposes, etc., etc., etc. Once that data point exists, it's out of your hands.

Even then, I may not care if I knew my data was anonymized. As long as there's no relationship between "john" and "decaf", you can collect all the data on decaf you want. But I don't know it's anonymized, and I have no control over that data once it enters the cash register. The only thing I can control is to do some mini money laundering. I can choose to pay with cash if I think it's important.

And then I have to hope the retailer isn't using facial recognition.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#46008333)

Anonymised data rarely is. It's very easy to remove the relationship between John and Decaf, and as long as that dataset is completely isolated from every other dataset, then it's fine. If, however, it's combined with the things-John-bought-on-his-credit-card dataset, or the people-working-near-this-Starbucks-who-have-breaks-at-this-time dataset, then you can infer that this decaf drinker is John. Often you'll need two or three independent datasets to be able to reconstruct the original anonymised version, but data storage is cheap, and the processing power required to do the cross referencing is getting cheaper...

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#46008307)

The problem was highlighted by the likes of Google in the recent NSA revelations. It doesn't matter why you collect the data, once it's collected and indexed conveniently it can be used for other purposes. Google builds a system that collects a large body of emails sent and received by millions of people. They may only intend to do anonymous, aggregate, data analysis on it to determine broad patterns, but once the data is collected and centralised it's easy to index it and search for specific emails. Even if you completely trust Google, Starbucks, or whoever is collecting the data now, do you trust every company that might buy them in the future, do you trust that their management in ten years will have the same views, and do you trust that no one malicious can compromise their systems? Snowden showed that even the NSA can't manage to keep systems that are completely secure, so what chance does anyone else have? Today, you are likely safe from invasive monitoring because no one has the processing capacity to handle tracking people as uninteresting as you, but we're still seeing processing power per dollar doubling roughly every 18 months, so how long will that be the case for?

obligatory Beatles (1)

_merlin (160982) | about 10 months ago | (#46008371)

Everybody has something to hide...

...except for me and my monkey! :)

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008391)

I like my decaf processed by Supercritical Fluid Extraction [wikipedia.org] .
Nothing brings out the flavour of coffee like 10 hours at 73+ atmospheres of pressure.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 10 months ago | (#46008621)

That's why he talked about controlling how the data is released. I might be okay with my favorite coffee shop (not a Starbucks) knowing what my usual is and getting started on it when I walk in the door each morning. I wouldn't be okay with that same information being shared with my insurance company, just because I am aware of the fact that seemingly innocuous facts can be used to jump to radical conclusions.

In the context of the Nest purchase last week, the reason I just provided is why I was okay with Nest getting information about me. They were using it to directly enhance my experience as a user, and in so doing, were hoping that I would become a loyal user who would purchase more of their products (which was something I was planning to do). With Google, however, I have every expectation that they will use whatever information they gain from my thermostat to enhance my experience...but also to enhance their profits in ways that are unrelated to my experience and may, in fact, prove to be detrimental to me. That's what's happened with Gmail over the years, which made sense for me when it was just a set of targeted ads in exchange for 1GB of storage, but made less sense once Buzz (and increasingly G+ now) started being forced on me.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008875)

I might be okay with my favorite coffee shop (not a Starbucks) knowing what my usual is and getting started on it when I walk in the door each morning.

Hey, my favorite coffee place (also not a Starbucks) already does this, based on the fact that the barista knows who I am (zero computerized databases necessary) --- that thing called "friendly customer service" that places like Starbucks are trying to fake with heavily automated systems and poorly-treated employees. If you need a global-mega-tracking-DB to make customers feel welcome, you're already doing something seriously wrong.

Re:Decaf at Starbucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009659)

They know that coffee beans are decaffeinated using chemicals that cause cancer, and if they correlate that to an increased risk in cancer, they might increase your health insurance rates

You live in a world of machines with very long memories and great analytically ability, get used to it.

What you should do is aim legislation at how the insurance companies calculate premiums instead of basically hoping they don't find out because you can't mandate ignorance with any authority.

Everyone should be much more concerned what actions people or institutions take with or without accurate information, because.. and I feel awkward having to say this on /.... on the Internet... but you can't stop information.

For instance if you have a problem with drone strikes then you have a problem with drone strikes, not the intelligence gathering that identified a target, because they'll still have drones.

Fine. Prove it, asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008079)

I hereby invite you to move into this transparent glass house. Everyone can see exactly what you do at all times, and there are cameras in every room (including inside the toilet) streaming live to millions of paying customers 24/7. If you don't have anything to hide, you will not mind moving into this house of mine.

But of course, you won't. You will be upset that I would suggest such an absurd thing. And yet you have "nothing to hide".

Re:Fine. Prove it, asshole. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 10 months ago | (#46008229)

Is it free? Do you broadcast? The proof is in Big brother/ robinson island. Enough people will line up for one minute of fame.

Re:Fine. Prove it, asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008267)

One minute will pass quite fast, though.

Re:Fine. Prove it, asshole. (2)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 10 months ago | (#46011977)

That would actually be a pretty neat reality show: "You have nothing to hide!" streaming live online!
"Live in this glass hotel, and prove to the world you have nothing to hide!"
"Cellphones and computers provided free! Stay 3 months and earn $10,000!"
smallprint>Sponsored by the NSA and your local congress troll!/smallprint

Do you want to mix Disney and your Bank? I don't! (1)

davecb (6526) | about 10 months ago | (#46008095)

[From a longer rant about banks (:-)]
Imagine all files and programs on my phone have labels on them. My banking programs has one label that says "The Bank", while another says "David Collier-Brown". The files it creates have the same labels, and no program can read them unless it has both. The banking program will send careful selected information to programs that have just my label on them. This happens to include my printer and email programs, so I can email or print my bank statements and holdings. It can send much more to the bank itself, labelled with both the bank and my name. Let's call these labels (M & B), for me and the bank. When written to files, the labels take the form of public/private key pairs. That allows the program to send encrypted files to the bank over ordinary insecure networks without anyone being able to read them.

Disney has a label, too, and I can share what I like with them. and not with some chap with an evil plot to make use of Dave-and-Disney information

--dave

Re:Do you want to mix Disney and your Bank? I don' (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 10 months ago | (#46008303)

Imagine all files and programs on my phone have labels on them.

There are that sort of thing, eg android sandboxes [android.com] . However the problem is that when an application is installed it asks for access to more things than it rightly needs. End users just install it, without really being aware what the new application can do.

Re:Do you want to mix Disney and your Bank? I don' (1)

davecb (6526) | about 10 months ago | (#46008637)

Technically I was describing "MAC", mandatory access control. We used to have it, I even sysadmined it, but a three-letter organization seems to have decided no-one would want such a thing...

Eh, you gave up your rights a long way ago (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008137)

It's when you let yourself be classified as "consumer" -- one who can be made to buy whatever the "producers" want you to buy.

Stop thinking of yourself that way, and you start to see that you have few rights left, and need to fight long and hard to regain some of what you lost. This is different from saying "give up already", for the choice is yours. But the road's going to be long and hard, and the longer you wait to get on it, the longer and harder it will get. So, someday it'll be "fight now or give up forever", yes, and that day might be closer than you'd care to think about.

Re:Eh, you gave up your rights a long way ago (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 10 months ago | (#46010349)

It's when you let yourself be classified as "consumer" -- one who can be made to buy whatever the "producers" want you to buy.

In corporate computing, "producer" and "consumer" are just newspeak words for "master" and "slave".

That's not too far from real life, the way things are going.
The astonishing thing is how easily people are willing to give up their freedom, and like it.

Foreman is a clueless self-centered myopic tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008171)

Sure, Foreman knows something about some tech-related stuff, but in the big picture
Foreman is such a myopic idiot that he doesn't grasp how repugnant being tracked is
for a large number of humans.

Of course anyone who would choose to take children to Disney World instead of
to an experience which involved nature obviously has some skewed priorities, so it
doesn't make sense to expect much from this Foreman character, who frankly in his article
sounds more than a bit like a child in the body of an adult.

Who is the marketeer? RTC disney (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 10 months ago | (#46008213)

I bet the marketeer is some kid that got trained playing Rollercoaster tycoon 3 and now can do that al in a "real"(but fabricated) world.

tax write off article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008225)

Fuck the rat. If you want to be a camp follower visiting its shrines, whatever.

The Magic Kingdom is private property. You have no right to privacy there, sans not being filmed while using the bathroom.

And no, you aren't paying to ride the rides or other crap, you're paying to the potential to ride the rides, no guarantees.

The whole point to this alleged research was take a vacation, ride the rides, write about it. Then write the whole thing off on taxes.

Link broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008233)

The "Get over it" link is broken; extraneous characters at the beginning.

Re:Link broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008265)

The correct link is this [wired.com] .

Data Scientist for mass mail company says... (2)

gnoshi (314933) | about 10 months ago | (#46008237)

What would you expect someone who works as a data scientist for a company which does mass mailing say? Sure, Mail Chimp isn't a spamming service (through requiring double-opt-in) but a central part of its service is including trackers in e-mail to check if you're opening it.
I'd be more dubious if it was a data scientist from doubleclick, but not necessary much more.

Re:Data Scientist for mass mail company says... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#46008411)

The title "Data Scientist" seems to be popping up all over the place very recently. I wonder if this is one of those titles like "Administrative Assistant" or "Associate" that they invented so they can avoid giving people a better salary.

Re:Data Scientist for mass mail company says... (1)

rockmuelle (575982) | about 10 months ago | (#46008951)

I've argued that it's more like "web master" from the 90s. A tendy job that will soon be replaced by actual experts.

For data scientist, the experts are the traditional analysts and staticisians that were already doing these jobs before Hadoop experience became the only job requirement.

-Chris

Re:Data Scientist for mass mail company says... (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about 10 months ago | (#46008551)

Note: TFA doesn't seem to say what the summary says it says.
(i.e. it isn't "you don't want your privacy", it is "the way people behave with data suggests they don't want or care about their privacy; they'll sell themselves out at the drop of a hat").

Re:Data Scientist for mass mail company says... (2)

fermion (181285) | about 10 months ago | (#46009023)

And when you go to the disney world you double opt in and have paid a great deal of money to be provided an experience. It is not like you are going camping or hiking or generally exploring a city. You are basically giving up most of your self determination to select from a few highly engineered choices. The more engineered,the more directed, the better the experience is going to be.

This is in fact where tracking is useful and will result in a better consumer experience. Complaining that you are being tracked at disney world is like complaining that google is selling you data to advertisers,

He's okay with being fingerprinted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008263)

And his problem is with the RFID badge? Is this for real?

Own choosing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008319)

What if "bonus cards" become so prevalent not using them equals a significant added % on top of everything and you simply can't afford it?
What if they become so prevalent that most companies can afford to make them mandatory?
What if you live in a small town and the few stores left all belong to chains that do so?

Privacy and Anonymity must stay! (1)

therealprologic (2118298) | about 10 months ago | (#46008329)

I completely agree with a lot of the comments. Privacy, Tracking, Spying, Monitoring are BIG SERIOUS problems in the world today (and have been for al long time!) It's important that we fight this to the end and ensure the privacy, security of our lives, data and personal identities.

Tags are for petty criminals (2)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 10 months ago | (#46008339)

In the UK we use that sort of technology to tag petty criminals [wikipedia.org] . Nice to know how the mouse views me!

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008433)

And what the fuck gives him the right to decide what I value?

Can I go park my car on his driveway and tell him he doesn't value the space?

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46010029)

And what the fuck gives him the right to decide what I value? Can I go park my car on his driveway and tell him he doesn't value the space?

Sure you can! (I don't value his space either. Hey, if he can opt us out of our privacy just becuse nobody else values their privacy, I say we can opt him out of his parking space because none of us values his parking space.)

You don't want your privay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008549)

Fuck you, I do.

Reverse the data-direction... (1)

chalsall (185) | about 10 months ago | (#46008755)

Here's a radical idea...

Rather than the consumer wearing the RFID chip, the consumer instead carries the RFID reader to find out what the merchant is offering.

The consumer doesn't radiate anything, and the merchant radiates the information the consumer might be interested in (or not...).

This puts the control back into the consumer's hands. As it should be.

Re:Reverse the data-direction... (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 10 months ago | (#46011975)

RFID readers radiate loads, they radiate so much that RFID chips can power up from the induced current, and radiate stuff back.

You don't need the merchant to have RFID tags in order to tell you what he's offering - if he's unable to communicate that to you using any of the other multitude of ways that humans have communicated to each other over the last few thousand years, then he's probably not a merchant I'd have any interest in dealing with.

Thanks for the disclosure (2)

saynt (19633) | about 10 months ago | (#46008883)

MailChimp sounds like a company that I'll go out of my way to avoid. Seems that their chief data scientist should have run this by their chief privacy officer before he slapped his companies name on it.

lol... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46008891)

"spied on by the NSA or other state actors..."

Seriously? He must be a whole hell of alot more interesting than the majority of us.

"You don't want your privacy" (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 months ago | (#46009079)

He may not, but i do.

Re:"You don't want your privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46010689)

Maybe John Foreman has a scat fetish and knows that you're secretly a repressed exhibitionist on the toilet.

MagicBands don't track.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009087)

I went down to Disney just a few weeks ago.. and, to be honest, it would be awesome if the MagicBands actually worked. You have to be 1-2mm away from the reader for the readers to even attempt to get the data off the band.. and most times it just doesn't work and the cast members had to get the numbers from the back of the bands manually. So much for "Magic". Very frustrating. I was envisioning something more seamless.

simple solution (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 10 months ago | (#46009221)

Neuter Mickey Mouse! That way the rat will get fat and stop screwing around tracking patrons in the theme parks. Here's a simple formula Disney: Make the lines shorter by limiting access or improve the capacity of the rides and then you won't need to track your patrons, leaving them the fuck alone to enjoy their time in your overpriced bullshit!

No sharing (3, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 10 months ago | (#46009671)

I too don't really mind that Starbucks sees that I prefer fizzy drinks and chocolate brownies when I am with my coffee drinking friends. But I don't want them sharing that data with anyone. The best privacy law would be that you have 3 options when dealing with a company. 1 That they only use your data for internal purposes (No "trusted" third parties) 2. That they do with your data as they want. 3. That they destroy your data or at least anything that an information scientist could use to identify you (except for your preference) down to the minimum data required to do business with you. Also the companies could not offer discounts or charge extra depending on your preference. Lastly # 1 is the default option.

So looking at option 3 I would include information rich companies such as CC or phone companies. So with either of them they would be able to record what phone calls you made over the last month, Bill you, give you 30 days to dispute the charges, and then forget anything about you except that you are a customer and owe a certain amount. They wouldn't even be able to see what they billed you 5 months ago let alone who you called. Yes it is nice for the phone company to be able to look at their old records to figure out what they could sell you but that doesn't benefit me. That is stealing information from me. They would still have the information in aggregate so they could see that people 20% more each month and thus they should increase their capacity accordingly.

The same with things like EZPass, the power company, the water company, even the police handing out tickets. The moment I pay the ticket there is no reason for them to specifically remember that I got a parking ticket on the corner of South and Main. They could remember that someone did get a ticket, just not who.

Roller Coaster Tycoon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46009991)

Where you know everything about your customers, down to the amount of money in their pockets. Then you start to put them in strange places, make them pay for toilet when they're sick, raise prices when some rich people are around..

This Is Not What People Should Be Up In Arms About (3, Informative)

noc007 (633443) | about 10 months ago | (#46010245)

To my understanding the MagicBand has two RFID components. One is long range, battery powered, and is used for tracking a person in the parks. My understanding is they use the data to see where crowds go, what's popular during different times of day on which days, and when there's too much of a crowd, they'll put out distractions to get the crowd to move. The other chip is for short range stuff like room key, purchase transactions, and FastPass. This one can be read by a NFC reader and everything but the serial number is encrypted. Here's the thing, it's a privately owned theme park that can dictate within reason what goes on in their park. Don't like it, don't go and patronize. Simple as that.

I've read on a Disney enthusiast that people up in arms saying they'd be putting foil around their bands and honestly I don't know why they're paying Disney to go to the park if they don't like it. What people need to be up in arms about is the dwindling of our freedoms and the abuses of the law by our (US) government. No, people may get a little grouchy, but they just put up with it and let is slide. A private company with their private property doing something to better their product and people flip a shit when they have a choice to not participate.

Bring back the good old days (0)

petrus4 (213815) | about 10 months ago | (#46010405)

There are times when transhumanists cause me to wax seriously nostalgic, for that magical bygone era, when society's answer to potentially extinction-inducing abominations, was to build a large, blazing pile of logs, and place the freak of nature in question, exactly at the center of it.

In most cases of course, when Muslims indulge in this type of behaviour, I consider it as barbaric and uncivilised as anyone else, but for some reason I'm willing to make an exception where transhumanism is concerned. There's just something about human/machine integration, and the erosion of privacy and control of our basic biological functions as a result, that causes me to want to reach for a torch and pitchfork.

1mod up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46010523)

NSA to Disney... it's about info exploitation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46011001)

Doesn't matter what industry. It's all about that your information, aka your privacy.

It's funny how ya'll say Starbucks is OK while the NSA is NOT OK. You opt-in to Starbucks as a consumer. You opt-in to the US Gov't as a citizen. It either makes me conclude that:

a. how people like consumerism more than participating in gov't as a citizen,
or
b. it goes to shows how many non-US folks are on /. using it as a forum for propaganda... and it's still data exploitation -- I mean, it's a fact that countries compete too. and if the US gov't has an advantage (aka spying power), well I'm sure there's some jealously involved... You can't deny that, even with all the moral, so called 'right', justifications.

We all have agendas like it or not, just that sometimes they are the same..... and sometimes different. /. does have smack talk... it's all still info exploitation.

Re:NSA to Disney... it's about info exploitation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46011911)

I did opt-in to Starbucks, I never OPTED in to ANY country, and especially not the US.
I don't think birth should be counted as an opt-in. Nor do I think that voting should be considered tacit approval of the government as it stands. Nor do I think that paying extortion fees every year to a criminal organization should be considered patriotic. Unfortunately I've seen that most people see it that way :(

Magic Band Tech (3, Informative)

gatzke (2977) | about 10 months ago | (#46011923)

We went down recently and got the Magic Bands. Disney uses them in five ways:

1. Ticket into the park
2. "Fast pass+" for some rides in the park
3. Purchases (with a pin, if your card is tied in)
4. Room access if staying on resort.
5. Photo pass (photos shot by in park employees)

In most cases, these are actions that for >95% of us would be tied to our credit card transaction. Even the old paper fast passes would have been tied to your park ticket (which is probably tied to your credit card).

The photo pass is one that previously was not tied to your credit card in any way. You would take pictures and get a code, if you never bought the code or tied the code to your online disney account they would not have your picture. But I am sure Disney has plenty of CCD in place and could tie in your entering the park to a picture if they wanted.

I really doubt they are tracking people in the park. Their RFID sensors stink! You have to orient the band just right to get the RFID close to the sensor. You have to hold it still and sometimes swipe two or three times. I doubt they are long range scanning your RFID in the park without your knowledge.

Also, you only get three of the new fast pass+ "experiences" in the park each day. So they really will only see you in three spots. For them, this stuff is probably more useful for load leveling than privacy invasion.

BTW, problems with the system have been all over the place. Disney invested almost a billion in it and they were considering dropping it, but it worked pretty well for us.

So in summary, if you are skeevy about this at Disney World, pay cash or use gift cards to buy your tickets.

newsflash to Scott (2)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#46011939)

"You don't want your privacy."

That is my decision to make, not yours.

If Scott doesn't want his privacy, fine with me, I don't care. But whether or not I want mine is not his call. That's the basic, simple in-your-face fact that everyone in these pro- and contra-privacy discussions seems to be missing.

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