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Privacy Communications

Cory Doctorow On Privacy and Oversharing 53

slash-sa writes with a link to an opinion piece from Cory Doctorow that begins: "The European Parliament is currently involved in a wrangle over the new General Data Protection Regulation. At stake are the future rules for online privacy, data mining, big data, governmental spying (by proxy), to name a few. Hundreds of amendments and proposals are on the table, including some that speak of relaxing the rules on sharing data that has been "anonymised" (had identifying information removed) or "pseudonymised" (had identifiers replaced with pseudonyms). This is, however, a very difficult business, with researchers showing how relatively simple techniques can be used to re-identify the data in large anonymised data sets, by picking out the elements of each record that make them unique."
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Cory Doctorow On Privacy and Oversharing

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does every damn story on here have to be about Doctor Who? It's getting a bit much.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @06:49PM (#44533017) Homepage Journal

    Cory's site has 7 tracking services that track you every time you logon to his site, and correlate with a multitude of sites that also track everywhere you go online. I would think if you're going to promote digital privacy, the first thing you would do is remove the four google tracking systems installed on your website.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What? You mean a writer on boing boing is a hypocrite when it comes to privacy and censorship issues? Shocking.......

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Just like other "globally-renowned" pontificaters, Doctorow is of course a publicity whore who has grown addicted to the lime-light.

    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @08:08PM (#44533213) Homepage
      I'm not sure if I would classify that as "his site". He's one of many bloggers. His site [], only seems to block 2 cookies (using ghostery), and they are twitter and wordpress stats. I would classify those as at least not completely terrible. That being said, My browser reported blocking 9 things from Boing Boing. That's just a little bit crazy. It's probably one of the highest number of blocks that I've seen a "legitimate" site.
      • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @09:04PM (#44533383) Homepage Journal

        He's listed on the Masthead as a founding member. I don't know what better credentials are needed to call it "his site". Should I have said "his commercial site" and then in subtext mentioned "his personal blog"?

      • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday August 11, 2013 @01:31AM (#44534035)

        "I'm not sure if I would classify that as "his site". He's one of many bloggers. His site, only seems to block 2 cookies (using ghostery), and they are twitter and wordpress stats."

        He blogs there, it's his site. There is no reason to split hairs. He is famous enough, he can blog wherever he damned well pleases, and he pleases to do it on Boing Boing. So it's "his site". Or where he chooses to blog.

        Having said that, there are at least 7 javascript libraries on the site, 2 that appear on Ghostery, that are potential trackers, and some of them are definitely trackers.

        And yes, hypocrisy applies here.

      • Tom's Hardware.

        Ghostery blocks 16 trackers off the bat.
    • There's stuff to privacy besides lack of cookies.

    • Cookies are managed by the user. Scripts that are written to replace rather than sit along side HTML are the problem. Scripts are managed, primarily, by tool-set developers. That makes the script monkeys the evil guys.

    • Yeah I had to say the irony is moist and delicious when the guy banging the drum for Internet privacy has the largest number of red flags from PrivDog I have ever seen at 10, hell the porn sites don't have that much damned tracking!

      Ya know as much as I hate RMS that is one thing I'll give him credit for, i went to his website and there is ZERO tracking going on, it was 100% tracker free. I found that refreshing and it was nice to see there are still some that walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

    • If you think that is dodgy ask his holiness about Federated Media []. He is near the tops in my list of arrogant self-righteous media whores that say one thing and do another.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think a good first step would be to make life tougher for cyberbullies who post images and documents with the clear intention of destroying someone's reputation or making them the subject of ridicule. Whether such incidents would be sanctioned would depend on how public the documents were, whether the victim was a celebrity or public person (e.g. high-ranking government or corporate official), whether the victim knowingly participated in either the photographing or the posting of the images/documents, et

  • Facebook (Score:4, Informative)

    by hoboroadie ( 1726896 ) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @07:27PM (#44533125)

    If you overshare, then every script-kiddie on the planet will be able to hack your life.
    No law available to our Fearless Leaders can prevent abuse of the system by our National Security Industry. Forget about any sort of reigning in of the God-given Rights of our Owners.
    Vote as if it mattered. Ha-Haa!

  • ...anyone who can bribe or impersonate a cop can access them...

    What 'rules' are going to stop that?

  • by yuhong ( 1378501 ) <> on Saturday August 10, 2013 @07:53PM (#44533193) Homepage

    I think the problems with oversharing should be fixed if possible. Of course, some of the problems are more difficult or impossible to fix, but we should try to fix as many as we can.

  • European Parliament (Score:5, Interesting)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @08:34PM (#44533283)

    It is worth noting that this topic is among the "codecision" matters for which the EU parliament has a word to say. But even in that case it is still long away from being a real parliament. The European Commission proposed the initial draft, and it can strip the amendment voted by the parliament (it already happened). Moreover the parliament will have to agree with the European council, which is made of member states' government representative, and acts as a upper house in the EU framework.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's time we got rid of that no good un-elected commission.

      • Do not forget the policies carved into treaties, which are therefore moved outside the field of democracy.
    • The interesting point here, is that the wholedebate is just : The owners of some structures, some creepy sponsors or control freaks, and those on their paychecks (less than 1% of the population reweighted by the strength of their lobbies) vs. The Users (99% of the population; be serious, noboby likes to be followed, spyed on, to receive more junk publicity at least). Now lest's see what democracy is about... For me, the simple fact that it did manage to create a wrangle, points to a problem.
      • But the EU is not a democracy. The elected parliament has little power: it cannot start a directive draft. it cannot have the last word on amendments. It can reject a directive, that is its only real power, but that only apply to a limited range of matters for which the parliament is involved. For many matters, it happens at the European Commission, the European Council, or between both of them.

        The horror show continues: the executive powers of member states act as a legislative power at the EU level, since

  • by anomalous cohort ( 704239 ) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @09:30PM (#44533463) Homepage Journal
    I remember when facebook got big enough that I finally decided to create an account there. Not because I wanted to share private details of my life with my friends. Because the FB audience was big enough that I felt compelled to have some representation there. What my timeline displays is what I call a public profile. Think of it as the linked in for hobbies and vacation travel. Don't publish anything that wouldn't hold up in a criminal investigation. I'm not saying lie. Remember Andy Warhol's now famous "15 minutes of fame" quote? Well, famous people need a PR manager. In today's "15 minutes of fame" world, everyone needs their own DIY PR manager. Think like a PR manager before you post.
    • Don't publish anything that wouldn't hold up in a criminal investigation

      Sir, we have photographic evidence that you were at this location around the time of a nearby murder, we'd like you to come down to the station for "questioning."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is anyone listening to this guy about anything? He's not an authority in any circle - he just curates odd content around the internet and he himself isn't all that bright.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      He is a public figure. He does speak about these issues frequently and held various position in various organization about privacy and copyright issues. I'd say he is the closest thing we have to an expert on privacy from the societal perspective (instead of the technological one).

      Personnaly, I like his writing style in novels. But I tend not to like his blog.

  • Disclaimer: I am affiliated with one of the initiatives about to be mentioned.

    While anonymization and pseudonymization can be broken with access to related datasets, secure computation is harder to break. There are various ongoing efforts like IBM's HElib ( and Cybernetica's Sharemind ( among many others. These tools allow you to build data analysis systems that will not see the data and will work nicely in an environment of distrust.

    Some academic pa

  • by The Cat ( 19816 ) *

    Cory Doctorow is a hypocritical self-congratulatory bigot.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor