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    While I agree with the threat model (mostly), the proposed solution lie somewhere between naïve (policy can fix this) or counter-productive/orthogonal (make android as secure as iOS).

    What gave these information parasites their supposed strength, is that we provide them with relevant data about our means and motives - and that the few outliers that skew the truth can be corrected by statistics or damned statistics (machine learning).

    Suggestion: slowly poison the well. Systematically mix in incrementally larger doses of plausible lies, at scale and watch the hitrate of the predictions (consumer A would buy product B if presented to them) go down. Force the information parasites to separate truth from lies at a cost that is higher than what the advertisers would pay.

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      I chose to opt out.

      Somehow Facebook reactivated my account, which I heard of by accident. Maybe it was a glitch on the five-year anniversary of quitting, I can’t know or care. Eternal fuckings to them for that. Got myself removed again, though.

      Duckduckgo is my search engine and I host my email. Of course Google gets most of my correspondance, but I don’t see how that could be disrupted. Anyone wanna do to SMTP what LetsEncrypt did to SSL?

      Besides that, I hope people will realize that living life on Instagram, Tinder and HackerNews is mainly psychological damage. And that social media will go down in the history books as a failed experiment and a lesson in what should not be done.

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        Can you opt out of living in a society where everyone around you is subject to these forces?

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          I never opted in in the first place, but with friends and family being part of the thing it’s hard to not get inadvertently sucked in. For instance, I have no doubts that the ‘dark profile’ that Facebook maintains based on data from relatives that share address-book, take photos and use the messenger app has a fairly decent idea of who I am, likely even to the point that it has figured out my face, voice and various mannerisms.

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        This is one of those incredibly rare and precious articles that deserves an otherwise pointless +100 button.

        Thank you for posting this Mr Burke.

        …the algorithms have learned that users interested in politics respond more if they’re provoked more, so they provoke. Nobody programmed the behavior into the algorithm; it made a correct observation about human nature and acted on it.

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          I mentioned this on HN (and of course pinboard made fun of me for it on twitter) but it’s not necessary for your phone to have all your email on it. I have a pretty extensive email archive (no idea why, I’ve never looked at it) but it’s in the form of tar files stored offline. I can’t access it in an airport.

          Even if you use gmail for everything, you can make a second account that all your travel email, hotel reservations and airline tickets etc., get sent to. Hook up U2F on the main account, and leave the key at home when you travel. This is a reasonable precaution to take even if you love border patrol. There’s no reason to have access to the email that subsequently grants access to your retirement account while hitchhiking with strangers across Europe. I don’t think such precautions are burdensome even for casual users, and 90% of what a privacy advocate would do to protect themselves from the jackboots is applicable to protecting oneself from pickpockets.

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            I don’t see him making fun of you on Twitter but do think it’s a bad idea to encourage most users to get email off their phones (their most secure device) and onto their computers (their least secure device).

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              Is it common for people to have email only on their phones? All the people I know who have the Gmail app on their phone use it in addition to the Gmail webapp on their computers, not instead of it. I could be out of the loop on usage trends though.

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                The device used to access email is somewhat independent of how frequently you rotate your archives. Or, like I said, whether it’s logged into two accounts or just one while traveling.

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                I don’t think such precautions are burdensome even for casual users

                I do, to be honest, every user test I do leaves me with the conclusion that we should offer less configuration for people and make things easier to get started with.

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                  I bought my parents a chromebook and set them up with a gmail account for banking, separate from the one used to email friends. They’re not super savvy and they make it work. I could have just told them to do it too, and I think they could have done so.

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                  I’m very happy with the two-account solution, though in my case it was motivated by not wanting work email on my phone more than by privacy (that’s just an added bonus). I initially resisted putting email on my phone at all, but it eventually became too much of a hassle not to have access to electronic boarding passes, hotel reservations, etc., so now I have an account only for those things.

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                  If you don’t like this sort of thing, feel free to donate to orgs fighting the good fight.

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                    Curious, where did idewords get these numbers “Together, these companies control some 65% of the online ad market”?

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                      Thanks, you caused me to explore his site and find http://idlewords.com/2010/03/scott_and_scurvy.htm which has been discussed previously https://lobste.rs/s/mvwz2j/scott_scurvy_2010

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                        I’m sure I’m missing the point of this, but the Pac-Man anecdote seems to be implying that Pac-Man was an American-made game. However, it was made in Japan. Not sure what the lesson is in that.

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                          I’m sure I’m missing the point of this, but the Pac-Man anecdote seems to be implying that Pac-Man was an American-made game. However, it was made in Japan. Not sure what the lesson is in that.