My data + your data = mined data

A superb article by Guy Kewney about how people can get information about you through data mining.

How frightened would you be if you were secretly planning to get pregnant, without telling your husband, and discovered that someone had written to him telling him about it? Or, put the other way, how would you feel if you discovered your wife was pregnant only when someone dropped you a letter?

Well, the thing to remember is that it really did happen. And no, if you thought it was phone tapping, you’re wrong, and it’s a misunderstanding which I won’t make any friends for clearing up. But you need to understand the basic principles of data mining to understand why the world of spooks and the world of search engines are about to overlap, and why you should be nervous about this.

That’s the start and then he hooks you with the ending, which goes:

But frankly, anybody who owns a credit card, bank account and a passport probably has enough data out there already to make them pretty predictable.

Don’t worry about Google giving your geographical position away to corner shop coffee sellers. Worry about the governments, who will have tools of oppression that make simple Stalinesque brutality look like freedom, and who will make “pre-crime” a reality.

Via Schneier on security . Here’s the article link again.

PS: The article has superb hooks both at the beginning and the end and is great to read just to see a well-written piece.

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