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Ask Slashdot: Can Creating New Online Accounts Reduce Privacy Risks?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the that-sounds-like-a-forlorn-hope dept.

Communications 164

rjnagle writes "I'm concerned about the implications of storing personal data on Gmail, Facebook, and other social media sites. I'm less worried about individual data than the accumulating mass of data which potentially be used against me (for targeted marketing, credit reporting and who knows what else?) One solution I'm considering is just to abandon individual accounts and start clean and new gmail/facebook accounts. So while Google/Doubleclick might possess lots of data about me from 2001-2012, from this point on, they only have a clean slate. Would this kind of solution address my privacy concerns? (assuming I remove cookies, change IP address before doing so etc). Or are an individual's profile by now so unique that simply creating a new gmail or Facebook account would fail to prevent these data collection agencies from figuring out who I am? Insights and tips are appreciated."

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Solution? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768597)

"Would this kind of solution address my privacy concerns?"

No.

NO WAR FOR BIG OIL!!! EVIL BOOOOSH! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768915)

YOU STUPID FUCKING DOUCHEBAGS

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77159.html

"Neil Young changes tune on war, slightly

During the Bush administration, rocker Neil Young didn’t mince his words: He wasn’t a fan of the president, especially in the realm of foreign policy.

His 2006 album, Living With War, was a harsh rebuke of George W. Bush, especially the not-so-subtle track, “Let’s Impeach the President.”
Continue Reading

Young still doesn’t like war, but in an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, the host of “Fresh Air,” he seems to have modified his opinion on the issue.

Gross asks about the song “Love and War” on his 2010 album, Le Noise, which includes the following lyric:

When I sing about love and war /

I don’t really know what I’m saying."

FUCK YOU FUCKING FUCKITY FUCK OBAMA LOVING JACKASSES

That's cute, kid. (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44768605)

If the data mining companies already fill in your profile and preferences by scouring multiple resources and linking multiple accounts to get the best picture they can, why would you think that starting a new account would be anything other than a temporary break in their data which they would fill in as soon as they correlate the new account with your old ones?

Re:That's cute, kid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768737)

There will always be some level of uncertainty in the link between the two records. Perhaps they can correlate them with 99.99% confidence, but they will never achieve 100% confidence. The more uncertainty you can inject, the less they can predict about you with certainty. (I teach data mining.)

Re:That's cute, kid. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768775)

(I teach data mining.)

I am also a member of the GNAA and frosty piss clubs. My Slashdot post scores range from +5 to -1, and my submissions far outnumber any other pathetic commenter on this site,. My UID is null, my shopping habits vary widely, and there is a vast amount of knowledge about me available to the marketing bots searching slashdot.

And submitter, maybe this saga of anonymous coward will teach you something! After all, I have posted at least one or two other useful comments and a whole fuckton of insults on this exact topic.

Re:That's cute, kid. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768857)

(I teach data mining.)

I am also a member of the GNAA and frosty piss clubs. My Slashdot post scores range from +5 to -1, and my submissions far outnumber any other pathetic commenter on this site,. My UID is null, my shopping habits vary widely, and there is a vast amount of knowledge about me available to the marketing bots searching slashdot.

And submitter, maybe this saga of anonymous coward will teach you something! After all, I have posted at least one or two other useful comments and a whole fuckton of insults on this exact topic.

And yet, subgrouping the ACs on here really isn't all that difficult. Data Mining is one thing; Data Application something else again. Newsflash: 100% confidence is never achieved, and rarely needed. When you're dealing with large groups of people, you rarely are looking for an individual -- the individuals get flagged up at the end of the sifting process.

What do 'they' care if they can only be 99% sure that you are the same rjnagle? If the correlation fits, you get stuck with it. You'll get the customized ads, be linked in the NSA metaweb, and your credit rating will be affected. Even search results won't be affected all that much. (I DO data mining)

Re: That's cute, kid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768967)

Hi Paul, hope your rash is better today!

Re:That's cute, kid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768945)

If two or more different accounts have same (or super set of) contacts (e.g. email address book) or "network", what are the chances that they are not the same person?

Re:That's cute, kid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769161)

"Perhaps they can correlate them with 99.99% confidence, but they will never achieve 100% confidence."

They're happy with 51%.

Re:That's cute, kid. (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44769457)

They're happy with 51%.

My teachers were not.

Re:That's cute, kid. (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44768877)

the data is shit anyways. that's why facebook is a big deal, since they're the only one's who have enough somewhat reliable data to actually sell adverts targeted at 20-35 year old people living in country X.

if you want some crap data for them, visit sites you wouldn't normally. that doesn't stop them from selling targeted ads though, they'll just be poorly targeted.. not that they care too much.

oh and changing your gmail address wont help one bit, clearing your cookies does a lot more(if you're worried about doubleclick etc..). or heck, just use the apk hosts file method. doubleclick doesn't have your email but they have your browsing history.

Re:That's cute, kid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769015)

or heck, just use the apk hosts file method

hahahaha

But seriously, for most people that's overkill. I'd just advise using a script and site blocking plugin, I'm not going to mention names because I'm not a shill or a pants-jizzing fanboy.

Re:That's cute, kid. (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#44769065)

And yet, their data is mostly worthless. By the time I post about something on Facebook, 99% of the time, it is no longer actionable. For example, I'm seeing ads for hot water heaters because mine sprung a leak. That's not the sort of thing you put off fixing, so by the time I saw the first water heater ad on Facebook, the new water heater was already ordered and installed.

And they keep doing that over and over. I'll order something, and the next day they'll show me ads for similar products. Helpful hint: I just bought a cornet. I'm not likely to be interested in buying a second one. At least "You just bought [X], so you might like [accessories for X]" ads would be useful, but the "You just bought [X] so you might be interested in [slight variant of X]" ads are pretty much useless. Thus far, I've seen exactly one such ad that was even marginally plausible—an ad for camera lenses from some vintage products website after I bought a vintage lens on eBay. However, even that is not the sort of thing you buy every day. Show me that ad again in a year or two.

What makes the ads even more useless is that they're for the same type of product from companies that I already do business with. They aren't introducing me to new businesses. They aren't introducing me to new products that I'm not already aware of, having just studied that business's offerings in that area. So what exactly is the purpose of showing me this ad?

But the best part is that they keep showing me ads for products made by my employer's biggest competitor. They know who my employer is.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure their data mining strategy involves a drunken monkey flinging crap against the wall.

Re:That's cute, kid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769453)

Brace yourself for a flood of drunken crap-flinging monkey ads.

Re:That's cute, kid. (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#44769493)

And by that, of course, you mean "Reporting pirated software saves IT jobs" ads from the BSA.

Re:That's cute, kid. (3, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44769111)

Even with clearing cookies, there is still plenty of identifiable stuff in a browser, such as order of plugins, order of the font list, etc. The EFF has their Panopticlick which pretty much shows that almost every browser is unique.

If one wants to keep two accounts completely separate, I'd go to the length of having the second account in a completely different VM.

Re:That's cute, kid. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768997)

ONE TWO THREE FOUR!!!

We'll support Obamas War!!!

Re:That's cute, kid. (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44769069)

So my company wanted me to either create a FB account or link to my existing FB account for some social media activity. I created a new FB account with just my name and the barest of details. Within a week, FB was suggesting friends from old account.

Re:That's cute, kid. (2)

guevera (2796207) | about a year ago | (#44769359)

Did you create the new profile under the same name?

Re:That's cute, kid. (3, Insightful)

zenjah (989288) | about a year ago | (#44769593)

Or use an email address that any of these suggested friends might have in their address books?

Re:That's cute, kid. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769087)

I designed and developed such a system. The relationships are typically scored by some weight, or at least some form of network distance. If you break the connections enough, it will ultimately distance the overall relationship beyond the level that they are willing to target. We go after low hanging fruit first, and throw out nearly all of the data we even manage to get, through great difficulty, just because it is commercially useless beyond a few months.

Remember, we targeting groups, not individuals. Groups mean scale. Individuals mean work and difficulty. The low hanging fruit is what bumps up the margin. The commercial use of meta data is very different from government use of meta data. Commercial use is about groups, and an industry where people view PII as a potential liability. Government use is about PII itself, buddy favors, and corruption.

For example, the governments already know who associates with terrorists, and have been able to figure that out for decades with people on the ground, hovering around terrorists. The information they are gathering now is all about individual data. It can serve no other purpose. That is what is scary! I am not paranoid about my information being in these commercial systems, because I have seen how difficult it is to even do anything with it other than to sell some product a little bit better. Even blackmailing would be extremely difficult with commercial data. Even if I decided to try to target a single person, I would have a hell of a time doing it. The systems are not designed for that. However, the government access with no accountability, and no legitimate purpose, with data organized to target individuals, and systems developed for correlating massive amounts of historical information... commercially useless old data... old data that has no reason to be there except to harass and intimidate. That is scary.

My advice is to keep accounts fresh, delete cookies regularly, and change your IP. And, importantly, do the changes all at once so that there is no overlap that can be used to glue the new with the old. That alone will make you meaningless to any commercial system I am aware of. Government systems? I am not an expert there.

All your data are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768613)

belong to us!

Note that it's against the rules (5, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about a year ago | (#44768627)

Notice that a lot of these services, particularly Facebook and Google+, specifically say it's against the rules to have more than one account.

It shows precisely their intent: To gather as much information about you and your habits as possible. They can't do it as effectively if people have multiple accounts.

This, along with not allowing pseudonyms is one of the worst things that has happened to the Internet in the past decade or so. It used to be you could have as many different accounts on different sites as you wanted. Now everything is being condensed into a small handful of services, all of which have gestapo-like policies requiring your real information and name. It's just sad.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (4, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about a year ago | (#44768739)

What part of "abandon the old accounts" and start new ones did you miss? The day when you are prohibited from closing/disabling/abandoning an online account will be a sadder day than the one you're lamenting about.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768827)

You cannot close accounts, you merely remove your ability to access them, they are there forever. All the data remains intact by law, and given to anyone with access to it, such as law enforcement, home security agencies, ad agencies, marketing services, and credit rating agencies.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44768837)

What part of "abandon the old accounts" and start new ones did you miss?

The part where it's Google/Facebook/Whomever that decides whether an account is your and open, not the user.

Case in point: Facebook won't let users close accounts, only "disable" them. They still retain all your shit.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769823)

And that is why I will never sign up for an facebook account !

Re:Note that it's against the rules (5, Interesting)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44768747)

I tried signing up for a new youtube account today and was REQUIRED to give them my phone number in order for them to send me a text message to 'verify my account'. I was unable to upload a video without doing so. I ended up signing up to vimeo instead.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (2)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44768959)

Nobody even questions, why should you need an account to share a video in the first place? Slashdot is practically the only place left on the web where you can do anything (such as posting a comment) without an account. I really do think buying anything with cash may become highly suspect within the next 20 years.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769501)

You are aware that there are entire boards more or less dedicated to anonymous posting, right? /. is far from the only place where you can post anonymously, and those other places even encourage it. They are mostly shit holes, but that is beyond the point.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769049)

Does that mean you can't get an account unless you have a mobile phone to receive the text message? What if you don't, or it is broken, etc?

Re:Note that it's against the rules (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769285)

I tried signing up for a new youtube account today and was REQUIRED to give them my phone number in order for them to send me a text message to 'verify my account'. I was unable to upload a video without doing so. I ended up signing up to vimeo instead.

You only have to provide a phone number if you check the box to skip the captcha.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44768765)

What they really don't want(though people screwing up on cookies and IPs and such reduces the risk a bit) is effective segregation of different parts of your life at the same time.

If somebody merely tries to 'start clean' every year/2years/5years/whatever, either he also gives up all his friends/family/contacts, or he might as well not bother, his new account will slot neatly back into his old networks and habits, and it just won't do much.

If somebody has a strictly segregated set of accounts for different purposes, it makes each individual account less valuable(because the 'being a social dickhead' account now has no attached consumer preferences or professional income data) and it isn't necessarily the case that the accounts tie back together, barring mistakes on the user's part.

Of course, with many of them enforcing 'real name' policies, and using facial recognition such that anybody posting a picture of you can rat you out, it isn't clear that you can win.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (1)

Meostro (788797) | about a year ago | (#44768767)

Notice that a lot of these services, particularly Facebook and Google+, specifically say it's against the rules to have more than one account.

This could work out well - create a second account and hope they both get deleted, then you can be 100% sure you're starting from bare-metal / scorched-earth.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44768847)

That's assuming they actually delete the content, as opposed to taking complete ownership of it and blocking your access.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about a year ago | (#44769875)

Either that or they'd just merge the accounts...I've had this happen before I *think* with Google, but not certain. Regardless, they are under no obligation to remove your content...really the only decision that YOU get to make is whether or not you log in.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769075)

So stop lapping up the free shit that they're grunting out in your face.

Demand paid services that will guarantee you some privacy, and pay for it. Stop expecting Google to run Gmail for free.

Time was, you'd make a product, and charge a reasonable fee for it, and have a happy customer.

Now, you make a product, give it away, and make money by doing things that harm your customers - like selling their personal data for a quick buck.

Thanks Google.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about a year ago | (#44769889)

While I agree with the sentiment, I'm really glad that the Internet didn't go in this direction to begin with. Why? Well, it doesn't matter how much I'm paying for security if the NSA (or whoever else in the Government feels like taking a peek) can still read all of my shit.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769097)

I won't be surprised if their services become "optional" like car insurance is. For example, some places use FB as their primary means of authentication (plus they get to install an app to get a piece of the data mining action.)

It is tempting to create a new account, but all it takes is one goof of using the same browser (with the same meta-cookies) or using the same IP address, and then both accounts will be linked together somehow, resulting in a possible ban of both, or in an extreme case, allow for an arrest for a CFAA violation. So, if one creates a new account, run it in a completely separate VM on a VPN so it never sees the same traffic that one's other account is on.

Of course, most services (FB, Yahoo) demand a phone number, so be prepared to buy a burner phone and set the ringer on silent with no vibrate because usually the number ranges on some MVNOs are plagued by robocallers. I prefer using a GSM provider because I can just keep the phone and replace the SIM card for less waste.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769663)

How can I delete my account?
You can't. But don't sweat it; the unused accounts don't hurt anything.

Unlike slashdot at least facebook and google allow users to delete their account.

Re:Note that it's against the rules (1)

xystren (522982) | about a year ago | (#44769713)

And they also want you to include your mobile number - nothing better than being able to link separate data pieces from multiple sources with a phone number. Might as well call that a unique numeric identifier for yourself.

Depends (2)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44768649)

Who are you hiding from? If it's simple google searches, sure it'll help. Just doing a quick search on my schneidafunk nick turns up a surprising amount of info. However, the NSA has a wide variety of tools to track down me down, including writing analysis [chronicle.com] .

Re:Depends (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768793)

Yes, Aaron.. who are you hiding from. Maybe the next time you lose another $50 at poker, the person searching for you won't just stop at posting your Picture [tagstat.com] on some crummy tech news site.

Re:Depends (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768831)

Hi, Aaron. Maybe you are hiding from the people you lost $50 to in online poker. Maybe all they need is a picture of you [tagstat.com] to know who's house to knock on. Or maybe it's just a telemarketer that wants to sell you knives. You won't know until you open the door, now will you?

I have enough accounts.... (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44768659)

I need people to just let me get things done as Guest.

Get a bong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768661)

Get a bong that should help

Advice (2)

Shagg (99693) | about a year ago | (#44768673)

I'm concerned about the implications of storing personal data on Gmail, Facebook, and other social media sites.

Good.

Insights and tips are appreciated.

Don't.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768675)

You're going to delete your FB and gmail accounts, yet open new ones. That's a good plan, at least until you start communicating and friending the EXACT SAME PEOPLE you did before.Did you actually think this thing through or not?

Yes, separate accounts would be a good solution. But you will need a unique email account for each of your social media accounts, you will need to seperate your shopping into different accounts, and you will sure as shit need to wipe all cookies all the time.

This is an ask slashdot?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768713)

Oh, and I forgot to mention. Limit each of your FB, email, etc contacts to one, and only one, social media / email address tandem.

And while I'm waiting for the 120 second countdown, make the tandems unique. No jdoe1, jdoe2,jdoe3.. I realize that is blindingly obvious, but I'm responding to the question asked in a manner the submitter will hopefully understand.

Probably not (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768685)

Germany does that, actually.

(I believe) Since it's unification, a German national ID number changes every time document ID is renewed, which is about every 5 (?) years. This is exactly to make it more complicated to track German nationals. Passports work this way as well.

But, on the same time, whenever I asked the some police officer if I was allowed to drive in the country ( as people who have only a non EU driver's license may legally do it just for a year ), the police man asked my full name, my birth day and the city I was born and this way he was able to narrow me down. (and I was born in a city with 18 million people.... )

So you must have a lot of a accounts and different fake data on all of them.
Also, if the IP checking fakeself@gmail.com is the same checking realself@gmail.com, you won't go very far either....

It's hard to have a private life nowadays :(

If You Don't Want Others To Kow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768687)

If you really don't want other to know whay you do or upto you should not be using a computer in the first place.

There is no reset. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about a year ago | (#44768695)

So when you create a new account and the same people tag you in pics and send you email and you write in the same way from the same geolocation..you get the picture. There is no reset, there is no hiding. We have turned the corner and there is no turning back. Welcome to the machine.

There are many trace points (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768715)

Did you replace your NIC adapter or manually change the MAC address.
- sites can identify you by your network interface
Did you burn all your web history in your browser?
- sites leave cookies and other stuff
Did you change your browser or hack it's ID string?
- the browser ID and OS combination are pretty good identifiers at infrequently visited sites or with cross correlation.
Did you ever attach your old ID to address or credit card information?
- they will attach the new online account to the history if they can make a match
Do you have any commercial games that you have attached to the online account info?
- again they can update account info to a new account
Did you throw out all your old contacts and don't talk to your old friend network, parents, work or other contacts?
- your contact list is a pretty good identifier of you. This is what the NSA surveilance meta-data collection is all about.
Did you change your browsing practices? Use new news sites, forums, game and porn sites?
- again your browsing habbits are the meta data the NSA tracks
Did you change your phrase usage, captialization and misspelling style?
- again good identifiers of individuals

Re:There are many trace points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768867)

OK, this is where I wonder whether we have just gone full conspiracy retarded.

Your MAC on your computer is not externally visible, in order for that to matter they would have to be inside your gateway, and if that is the case no amount of changing NICs, or any other change is going to make a lick of difference.

Perhaps you mean to suggest changing ISPs or at least IPs...

Re:There are many trace points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769037)

Your ISP logs your account against the MAC that connects and the IP it assigns. I have had to MAC spoof when visiting friends. Granted it will usually be a gateway MAC that might be shared amoung a few users.

You think your ISP would pass on the opportunity make extra bucks by selling info to the marketers?

Re:There are many trace points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768937)

Installed fonts, too.

See

https://panopticlick.eff.org/ [eff.org]

What, son? (3, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year ago | (#44769127)

Did you replace your NIC adapter or manually change the MAC address.
- sites can identify you by your network interface

What? Anything beyond the first-hop router has no idea what your MAC address is.

Re:What, son? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769351)

IPv6 is working hard to fix that oversight.
Can't wait for the first network appliances which will randomize those last 64 bits for me (and keep track of state).

Re:What, son? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769387)

What? Anything beyond the first-hop router has no idea what your MAC address is.

That is true if you are talking strictly about websites. However, some of these "online services" provide or require local app clients, which may or may not be able to get the MAC and send it home.

This is all good info. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769409)

Everything on this list is accessible, one way or another.

If I needed this info, there are legal ways to obtain all of it.

There are easy illegal ways...

I've been playing with SecretAgent for firefox, it does some interesting things to the metadata collection, lol.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768735)

As long as you continue to use it, they will accumulate data and as long as you don't change all your friends at the same time, they can easily identify you based on your social circle (of course they could also use other behaviour for identification). So: No, it won't work.

Re:No. (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44769071)

As long as you continue to use it, they will accumulate data and as long as you don't change all your friends at the same time, they can easily identify you based on your social circle (of course they could also use other behaviour for identification). So: No, it won't work.

That said, you could probably do it the other way around...
Start 10 new identities, and feed them from different random sources. Also start one real identity. At the same time, turn your old identity into a fake one, filled with fake info (don't close it, it never really "closes" anyway).

Now, anyone filtering by IP, cookie, etc. won't know which information is legit at first glance. You'll hide better in the noise than by providing information analysts a fresh clean start with no noise and very strong correlations that starting up new accounts creates.

Every once in a while, you could spin off some new accounts; every once in a while, you can make one of them real.

Of course, this will really confuse real acquaintances, and you'd better be doing this with your credit cards as well, or you haven't really done much.

Reverse honeypots (5, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#44768745)

I've always maintained that passing laws to protect our privacy is a losing battle. If you make a law to make someone stop doing something they want to do, all that usually ends up happening is they figure out a way to do the exact same thing while skirting around the law.

Instead, we should pollute their data. Create programs which can run when you're not using your computer, which look like multiple browsers and access websites in a random but quasi-human-like fashion. They'll amass tracking cookies, but the cookies will be tracking bots rather than real people. Decrease their signal to noise ratio so much that it's no longer cost-effective to collect people's private data, at least from monitoring people's browsing habits.

Re:Reverse honeypots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768843)

Given the sort of noise online, all that will do is get you more ads for porn, sex toys, kinky sex toys, and stuff that you wouldn't want to talk about even to the people you laugh about the kinky sex toys with.

Re:Reverse honeypots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768851)

Sounds like a plan. As long as your random-ish web searches don't look for both 'pressure cookers' and 'backpacks'

Re:Reverse honeypots (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about a year ago | (#44768891)

That'll either target you differently, or they'll just assume that you're a bot and opt you out of tracking. I prefer to just block the ads in the first place.

Re:Reverse honeypots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769487)

we should pollute their data. Create programs which can run when you're not using your computer, which look like multiple browsers and access websites in a random but quasi-human-like fashion. They'll amass tracking cookies, but the cookies will be tracking bots rather than real people. Decrease their signal to noise ratio so much that it's no longer cost-effective to collect people's private data, at least from monitoring people's browsing habits.

That's exactly the idea behind TrackMeNot [nyu.edu] , an add-on for Firefox/Chrome/Chromium. There are also add-ons that block or change your browser headers, to reduce the amount of information that is leaked.

Aggregation (1)

dreamstateseven (2742929) | about a year ago | (#44768751)

And on some remote NSA system somewhere ... all of your new accounts will just get aggregated with your old accounts once your profile with the NSA has enough to make a reasonable enough assumption that you're the same person.

already wrong (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44768769)

You've already done it wrong. Paypal needs your real name and address, etc. There is absolutely no reason why Gmail does. So guess who's "John Smith" on Gmail since 2007? Me! I haven't used my real, actual name for any online account that doesn't truly verify it since the internet was invented.
Yes, making a new account everywhere will help slightly but you should have given them a fake name in the first place.

Re:already wrong (1)

imatter (2749965) | about a year ago | (#44768901)

I don't think that a fake name used to create an account prevents them from knowing who you are. If your account acts like a 45 year male living in his parent's basement and your IP address results in your parent's house, I think you've been made.

Pay for it (4, Insightful)

holophrastic (221104) | about a year ago | (#44768785)

If you don't want someone to amass your private data, why are you giving it to them for free in the first place, and why is your solution to keep doing so?

You're talking about e-mail. Buy your own e-mail server from any shared-server host out there. Pay for it. It'll cost you something like $20/month. POP, IMAP, and WebMail isn't difficult.

Quite frankly, if you've got a static IP (or buy one for a few bucks a month), you can just run your own from home.

If you want it to be yours, buy it. Welcome to ownership. And the moment you pay for it directly, there are countless laws to protect you and your information.

If you want free, then you're going to pay for it with your information instead of with your dollars. It's that simple. It's always been that simple.

Re:Pay for it (1)

Mr.Intel (165870) | about a year ago | (#44769353)

This is the answer to almost every Internet-inspired drama. The internet wants to be free. Information wants to be free. The bottom line instead is, everything has a price including the internet and your information. Pay for it, own it and no one else can.

Re:Pay for it (1)

volxdragon (1297215) | about a year ago | (#44769473)

Quite frankly, if you've got a static IP (or buy one for a few bucks a month), you can just run your own from home.

You do realize this violates most residential ISP TOSs/AUPs in the US, right? Just because you have a static IP does NOT mean you can run a 'server' unless you have business-class service (and by 'server', I mean anything that accepts inbound connections offering a service....be it email, a web server, ssh server, etc). Now, will they detect it and do something about it? Likely not in most cases unless there are complaints, but I know a lot of residential ISPs now block SMTP to deal with spam malware (forcing you to use the submission ports instead or webmail, but breaking running a SMTP server). Frankly, I do what you suggest, but I have a business-class line run into my house (have for the past 15+ years) for exactly the reasons above...

Re:Pay for it (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about a year ago | (#44769631)

I would have argued that buying a static ip on most isp's tends to jump you out of residential class in the first place. but in any event, that's not my concern. I'm not in the U.S.A., and I know nothing of the poster's isp.

Re:Pay for it (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44769693)

I also found that the dynamic IP addresses provided tend to be in a blacklist so E-mail will get shitcanned the moment it hits someone else's SMTP port. Of course, the trick is to use the ISP's or a third party's SMTP server as a relay.

Re:Pay for it (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44769839)

Which would implying that torrenting is inherently illegal, as uploading small parts of the latest linux distro is providing a service.

Re: Pay for it (1)

volxdragon (1297215) | about a year ago | (#44770007)

I didn't say illegal - I said violated the TOS/AUP which means they can terminate your account for breach of contract. In theory, BitTorrent, Skype, or hell, even BattleNet could fall under the clause of most residential TOS/AUPs, but you aren't likely to run into issues there... It's all about economics and money for the ISPs, plus you can actually get a real SLA with business service (residential is always best effort)

Re:Pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769749)

Please tell me how I can buy (and own) functionality equivalent to what gmail was a month ago (before the compose fiasco).
I'd pay good money for that (but only if I own it, so it runs on my server, and they're not capable of changing it).

Re:Pay for it (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about a year ago | (#44769825)

Cowards don't get advice from me.

watch out for panopticlick methods (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year ago | (#44768787)

level of paranoia increase: start with a new machine

just using the same machine will id you

no cookies, user accounts, or ip addresses needed

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/01/27/1638216/tracking-browsers-without-cookies-or-ip-addresses [slashdot.org]

http://panopticlick.eff.org/ [eff.org]

No. Suck it up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768809)

So while Google/Doubleclick might possess lots of data about me from 2001-2012, from this point on, they only have a clean slate.

I'm afraid not.

What may happen is that there would be "two of you". In other words, let's say your Joe Blow who lives in East Timbucktu Idaho and like cherry pie with his cat blah blah blah ... What may happen in the corporate Big Brother data World is that there will be two Joe Blows with extremely similar profiles - and then when some algorithm figures out it's the same guy, it'll merge.

Your only hope is to:

disconnect ALL electronic subscriptions (internet, phone, cable, etc ...), get rid of your credit cards, pay off ALL debt, pay EVERYTHING in cash (Good luck traveling!) and after about ten years, you'll "disappear" from corporate America. How do I know?

I met a couple out in the country (rural GA) who did that. During the real estate melt down in '08, they wanted to buy the farm next to theirs - 50% CASH down - and mortgage the rest - remember they had NO other debt. The bank said "now way" because they had no profile in the credit bureaus or anywhere else. They pointed out that they were putting down 50% in a DEPRESSED market so the pretty much couldn't lose, the bank said sorry, you don't exist.

Fucked up isn't it?

Worry about everything else (too) (3, Insightful)

vinn (4370) | about a year ago | (#44768811)

The things you need to worry about with regards to privacy is everything else in your life. Did you apply for the grocery card that gives you those special discounts? If so, your information got sold. Did you buy a season pass last year at a major ski resort? If so, your information got sold. Did you get one of those cards at the casino so you could rack up some gaming points? If so, your information got sold. All of this, and a whole lot more, are available to marketers or really anyone who wants to pay for it.

As a general rule, if you are filling out a form - regardless of whether its on the interwebs or printed on a dead tree - any information you provide is going to get sold. Actually, in many cases it's even worse, the information is just given away.

So, if your reasoning for changing your online accounts is to beat the marketers, credit agencies, etc then you've got many other things to worry about that have probably already got you householded and deduped from everyone's databases. Now, if your goal in life is to, say, build an encrypted email platform and promote it for worldwide privacy use, then yes - I think you should be careful how big your online presence is. If you're worried about receiving a piece of direct mail from a private golf course because it's known you reside within 50 miles from their clubhouse, have a net income of $X, and drive an Audi, well, in that case you're probably already screwed because they already know all that.

Re: Grocery Store discount cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769741)

The grocery store discount cards are primarily paid for by Nielsen. Nielsen actually pays for, provides, and manages entire discount card programs as part of the advertising analytical tools it provides to TV advertisers. This allows the advertiser to more directly correlate sales with ads.

Right vector. Incorrect magnitude. (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about a year ago | (#44768853)

To truly create the anonymity you are looking for, you should create 200 accounts on each service and spend every day creating false data to obfuscate the real you. Spend at least 10 times the time you would normally spend on Facebook, Reddit, Google accounts and Spotify doing things you'd never do. No algorithm would ever truly know if you were a My Little Pony customer or a porn addict.

Re:Right vector. Incorrect magnitude. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768923)

No algorithm would ever truly know if you were a My Little Pony customer or a porn addict.

Or?

Re:Right vector. Incorrect magnitude. (1)

imatter (2749965) | about a year ago | (#44769151)

I once did a painting in art school, well it was 900 small paintings that made up one large painting. While I was working on this painting Peter Saul [wikipedia.org] gave a lecture at the school. When he finished I approached him and asked for his autograph on one of my little canvases. When I hung the 900 paintings in the final show I create reproductions of that one canvas for fear that the original would be stolen. I hung all five so that no one would know which painting was the original.

The real solution... I never hung the original.

Re:Right vector. Incorrect magnitude. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44769293)

And thus explaining to the world you are a paranoid person who would let is paranoia prevent him from sharing art.
You should see someone about that.

That's nonsense (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | about a year ago | (#44768871)

First: it only take one of your FB friends to tag a picture of you with your new profile that were tagged before in your old profile to link both accounts.

Second: why would you trust FB (or any other third party service, anyway) with your information if you want it to keep private? Social networking (and the internet in general) is for publication of info (with emphasis in the "public" part of publication).

Bottom line: keep your private things in your own disk, not in a service designed to share content with as many people as you can.

Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44768961)

Facebook thinks that I am 82 years old and unemployed. I never get any adverts from them.

Here are some rules (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year ago | (#44769011)

1) If you are abandoning the old accounts, do it when you buy a new computer. 2) Never give out more information than necessary 3) If they demand a phone number, send it to either a friend's phone or if truly paranoid a burner phone purchased with cash. 4) Before abandoning the old accounts, fix their information by replacing it with new, incorrect information. 5) Then delete them. 6) Never use Facebook for anything. They are too expensive privacy wise for the cheap stuff they offer. You can get what they offer (or similar stuff) at other web sites, for less of a privacy invasion. 7) On your new PC, set security HIGH and accept a bit of inconvenience,

Free services cannot be trusted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769073)

I think its clear that you should not expect a "free" service like a Facebook, Twitter or other social site to worry so much about YOUR privacy. They are worried
about paying those data bills from YOU sharing your worthless pictures and comments. Anyone who thinks Free means protected is in a Utopia land of the internet.
I think you might as well pull the internet plug now. Their are ways to reduce your foot print but most people are too lazy to do things like enter in passwords, or credit card information or sign in information every time they use a site that requires it. We use tools that help us do these things automatically. Why does Google sniff your mail? Because they can. Hey, Google's primary money maker is still ads. Sure you think they make tons on Android, Chromebooks and their other pet projects. Yea right. Like I said, if your that paranoid stay off the internet.

There isn't much currently that will help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769147)

Not only do they monitor the account, but they also do pattern recognition to analyze the way you type. I would advise dropping facebook. as they log pretty much everything about you. Removing cookie and changing ip's no longer protect you as there are other means to track you http://lucb1e.com/rp/cookielesscookies/ Like ETag

Not enough (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year ago | (#44769149)

You need to change your computer to remove any identifying signature the trackers can use to correlate with their old records of you. Then you have to assume your ISP is ratting you out so you'll have to leech off of someone else's WiFi (with a spoofed MAC changed daily). For the really paranoid you should also consider completely changing the websites you visit (switch from Google to Bing, etc.) since that "metadata" can be used to identify you through your behavioral profile.

Once you've established a sanitized connection you must ensure that you never transmit identifying information or allow malicious code to execute that could search for identifying information on your computer. You did remember to run GNU shred on that hard drive you reformatted, right?

Good luck.

Security rather than privacy (1)

santosh.k83 (2442182) | about a year ago | (#44769251)

I'm more interested in security rather than privacy. What's the worst that can happen? Targeted ads? I block ads anyway. Future employer might look at my Facebook posts? He's welcome to... it might educate him. Bank may refuse loan? I care two hoots. My govt or NSA can track me down? Lol that'd be a really stupid thing on their part. What I wouldn't want though are insecure systems which could enable my accounts to get hacked or my transactions to be compromised.

You're concerned...? (4, Funny)

albacrankie (1017430) | about a year ago | (#44769327)

I used to get ads featuring young ladies in skimpy underwear. Move on a few years, and now I get ads for 'mature' dating sites. These ads are extremely depressing. So much so that I suspect it's a euthanasian plot intended to make me top myself. It may succeed. And now you're suggesting I could fix things by changing my e-mail address. That may be even more depressing. Fuck it!!!!

No Robert Nagle, it can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769377)

-NSA

Not going to work (3, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year ago | (#44769431)

It has been observed that some very basic data can uniquely identify people in the US. IIRC this can be as simple as: Your zipcode, gender, and birthdate. Never mind your browser, IP, list of contacts, common words you use. Just those 3 things are enough to uniquely identify most people.

A creepy anecdote (4, Informative)

ebunga (95613) | about a year ago | (#44769551)

For the longest time I had a fake facebook account, as did an acquaintance. Despite the fact that neither of those accounts were connected to our real lives, and the fake accounts did not follow each other, Facebook was able to suggest I may know my acquaintances brother...

Facebook is a stalker so dedicated to looking in your windows while masturbating in the bushes behind your house that it not only planted the bushes, but also built the house.

give them bad data (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44769939)

I remember a story here on Slashdot that mentioned a browser plug-in that sent Google, etc random searches, keywords, etc., thus corrupting the data that was collected about the user.

Does anyone remember the name of that project or any other details? I would think that it might be useful if you could seed the data that is mined with enough crap to make it much less useful.

I'd be happy to use something like that. I'm already using disconnect.me and startpage.com and https everywhere and pay for email that (I hope) is a little more protective of my communications than gmail or any of the big webmail providers. But I'd really like to do everything I can to frustrate attempts to use my personal data.

I know it doesn't mean much for one person to do this, but it's the principle of the thing.

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