Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html en-gb 30 Tue 30 Sep 2014 22:09:39 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html John Gilby http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=93#comment14 A good post to the blog raising important issues of which there should be more awareness, but why use an image of a CCTV camera? There are legitimate concerns of the use of CCTV but they are rather different from the digital footprint that we leave all over cyberspace. Almost always when the BBC have anything on privacy a similar picture is used.At present CCTV is one of the most inaccessible forms of digital data and the Criminal Justice System is struggling to make best use of it. As such the privacy issues of CCTV have a rather different nature to those of our digital footprint. The BBC confusing the two prevents proper debate.The recent appointment of the Interim CCTV Regulator is likely to be positive move in opening up the public debate on CCTV and how it is used. I hope the BBC reports on that debate rather than continue to confuse the issues. Fri 12 Mar 2010 12:43:19 GMT+1 Grey Animal http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=86#comment13 the word guy wrote:Grey Animal, that's an excellent point about Skitt's law :-)I'm afraid you may have miscounted your digits though.*blush* Um, yes. In mitigation, may I plead that it's been a long, complicated day?Ten digits is about 34 bits of information. (Just in case my maths brain is still malfunctioning, I worked that out by converting 9,999,999,999 to binary.) You could encode a fair amount of useful demographic, social and economic information into those 34 bits (for example, the least significant bit could encode sex; the next two for age range (say) 00=0-24, 01=25-49, 10=50-74, 11=75+; and so on), but in general that wouldn't give unique identification.I think I'll join you in quitting, and go and make myself a nice cup of cocoa :) Thu 11 Mar 2010 20:41:59 GMT+1 the word guy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=80#comment12 Grey Animal, that's an excellent point about Skitt's law :-)I'm afraid you may have miscounted your digits though. If the population is 7 Billion, that's 7,000,000,000 i.e. 10 digits. If we're lucky, it will be quite awhile before we can get back down to 7 digits.In any case, I found the # of digits comment in the article a tad confusing. While it did clearly refer to the ability to label each person on Earth uniquely, in my mind it was conflated with actually encoding the information about that person, e.g. encoding name, birth, credit card numbers and other bits of info ("datums?" :-) into just 10 digits of information. I'm not sure why I think that, but that's just the way it came off to me. I'd like to think that my life would take at least a few kB :-)I should quit before I'm penalized for excessive use of smileys.Dale Thu 11 Mar 2010 19:15:15 GMT+1 Grey Animal http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=73#comment11 As for comments correcting other commenters' spelling or grammar, it's as well to bear in mind Skitt's Law: "any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself" or "the likelihood of an error in a post is directly proportional to the embarrassment it will cause the poster."Skitt's Law is the online version of Muphry’s Law: "any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one eror".For further information, see the Wikipedia article on "Muphry's Law". Thu 11 Mar 2010 15:42:43 GMT+1 Grey Animal http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=66#comment10 "[Juels] claims that it takes a mere 10 digits of information to label uniquely each human being on the planet."Given that current estimates of the global population place it somewhere a little below seven billion, it takes only seven digits to label each person uniquely. What are the other three for? Thu 11 Mar 2010 15:34:20 GMT+1 Kite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=60#comment9 Vincent, the trick of getting around entering your DoB onto sites is to make up a false one, but making it something you can remember easily if you forget your password. Thu 11 Mar 2010 10:36:15 GMT+1 Vincent http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=53#comment8 The one thing I'd like all the website registrations to stop is making it required for people to add their birthday.It should be optional, with ability to just say the year - again optional. Thu 11 Mar 2010 03:20:54 GMT+1 the word guy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=46#comment7 EMC2, I must admit you are correct on that one. And there may be a couple other grammatical problems as well (like starting a sentence with "and" :-). Ah well, I guess it's good that its not signed "the grammar guy".Thanks! Wed 10 Mar 2010 23:42:20 GMT+1 EMC2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=40#comment6 To the word guy: as long as we're getting into grammar, at least use "its" and "it's" correctly! "IT'S" is a contraction of "IT IS," and is emhatically not the possesive form of "IT". You used "it's" rather than the correct form "its" not once but twice in your correction of KZwert. I'm neutral on the usage of "data" but the its/it's thing is completely unambiguous: no dictionary will agree that "it's" means the possessive of "it"; it is and always will be (famous last words, I know) a contraction of "it is."I'm sure I've made some other grammatical mistake here, for which I'll be taken to task. In the meantime, I'll add that the article was very good; anonymity is now a function of being as bland and normal as possible so that your data points don't flag you as someone worth anyone's time. Wed 10 Mar 2010 21:25:13 GMT+1 MacBookPro http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=33#comment5 It's easy to remain anonymous, or at least safe, online if you're not stupid. Making Facebook accounts private is basic common sense, as is not broadcasting your address on Twitter or telling strangers online when you're out of your house.It seems social networking has removed people's basic concept of common sense, which is just stupid... No wonder so many people fall for phishing scams and such. Wed 10 Mar 2010 11:27:34 GMT+1 EMC http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=26#comment4 Speaking of location based services, word has it it's all coming to FB and Tweeter very soon: http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=31743&tag=content;col2The thing about these social networks, though, is that they're like tabloids in that they thrive on personal information being made public as much as possible. Clearly it is not in FB's interest for people to be able to hide all information about themselves from the public. That's why FB keep changing their privacy T&Cs, which increasingly are leaving people unknowingly exposed.Then again, people want to know other people's personal details. Wed 10 Mar 2010 09:39:48 GMT+1 the word guy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=20#comment3 >For another please refer to 'these data';I'm reminded of a 3rd grade teacher who insisted, when referring to an american "Rodeo" (pronounced ROH-dee-oh), on pronouncing it "roh-DAY-oh", because the american word was originally derived from a Spanish word (for a similar but somewhat different festival). She was confusing the etymology of the word with the word itself. The same seems to be true of pedants who, when confronted with the word "data" (commonly used to refer to a body of collected facts), seem to insist on using plural pronouns in it's presence. Every dictionary within easy reach confirms that this is not necessary. Data can be used as a plural of the archaic "datum" (more common modern usage would be "data point"), but it is also perfectly acceptable as "singular in construct", i.e. interchangeable with "information" or "a collection of facts". In fact in common usage, outside of publications that insist on "these data" as part of their style guide, I almost never hear anyone use this awkward construction.A living language is a moving target, and while I find etymology fascinating, a word's roots should not be confused with it's definition. Where I come from, they used to say "Ain't ain't in the dictionary", but alas it now is.But I've probably given too much information away by now; no doubt the grammar police will be able to track me down and teach me a lesson :-) Tue 09 Mar 2010 21:52:20 GMT+1 BluesBerry http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=13#comment2 Wonderful, timely piece.I think more teachers should assign a project similar to Dr Hugh Thompson"s, even better the students should be asked to trace their own personal data through cyberspace, see how much they have revealed about themselves. Have they revealed enough to have their identity stolen? Enough to cause them to be fired from their job?Cyberspace crime is already BIG and getting BIGGER; sadly, we are setting ourselves up by walking down that dark street, ignoring danger at our peril, in other words; MAKING BAD CHOICES.p.s. If you look at FaceBook, Twitter and the like, it is plainly evident that most young people are totally oblivious - babes in toyland. Tue 09 Mar 2010 17:06:40 GMT+1 Peter Hood http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=6#comment1 For one thing, it is possible to be anonymous, if one is in the know. For another please refer to 'these data'; if it were 'this data' there'd be no problem, since a datum is more than highly unlikely to be unique to one individual, unless we are speaking of the highly fantastic and unlikely number of the beast. The sooner people manage to wrap their minds about these sorts of things the sooner they are likely to prevent outsiders triangulating them.HTH. Tue 09 Mar 2010 16:57:39 GMT+1 James Rigby http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/03/the_end_of_anonymity.html?page=0#comment0 People are either blind to the privacy risks of technology use, or they take the view that the risks are worth it in exchange for the ability to connect with people over the net.Here's a simple example: If you get hold of someone's email address, any email address, you'd think you can't garner much information from it. But, enter it into the search feature of Facebook, and more than half the time you'll be able to find the email address owner's full name. If they've not locked down their Facebook account, you can see their status updates, friends, and information such as their date of birth. Perhaps one of their status updates mentions a problem they've had with their bank and when they're going on holiday. Perhaps one of their friends is their mother, who mentions her maiden name. So you now have their full name, date of birth, mother's maiden name, when they're away from home and perhaps other information such as their pet's name. All useful information for those with devious intentions. And all from just having the email address of someone who didn't take the time to lock down their account on a social networking site.And as technology progresses and we have more and more devices and places we store information, it will get worse and worse. I work in computer security and am aware of the risks and what to do about them. Among my friends, I know of no one else who has anything close to an understanding of the issues. Tue 09 Mar 2010 12:40:06 GMT+1