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Malwarebytes Labs' Data Privacy Survey

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Want to participate in a research study for an upcoming article in Malwarebytes Labs on data privacy? Take our survey, and tell us how you feel about sharing personal data online here.

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Question 9 uses a 1 to 100 bar instead of 1 to 5 (as stated in the question) :) 

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13 hours ago, Aura said:

Question 9 uses a 1 to 100 bar instead of 1 to 5 (as stated in the question) :) 

Same here... I was able to just put my number in the box however....

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I'll let the Malwarebytes Labs team know.

Thanks guys!

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Does anyone else see the irony in a survey about concerns regarding sharing data online requiring that participants enter private demographic information about themselves (i.e. age etc.)?  I get why, I'm just saying, I suspect that some of the individuals you probably want to hear from most won't participate specifically because they guard their privacy and info so intensely.  My personal opinion is that you consider making it more concise and only ask questions relevant to the subject at hand rather than including and requiring answers for questions that really have no bearing on the topic itself.  Again, I understand why you ask these things because you want to establish heuristic patterns based on demographics and trends within each demographic/group with regards to their opinions on privacy/how much/how little data they share online rather than making assumptions and probably have some existing assumptions that you want to either prove or possibly disprove if inaccurate, but it's likely to turn some people off for sure (even when you offer more vague responses as options like a specific age range).  This is especially significant for those of us who understand how machine learning/AI works and how such seemingly anonymous/ancillary data can actually be correlated with other seemingly innocuous data from other sources (both public and held by individual companies' private databases) to determine precisely who an individual is, at least within a very high probability of accuracy.

Just to cite a widely known and acknowledged example, Google can easily determine who a user is based on their searches based on past searches and data they've collected even when an individual starts using an anonymized service such as Startpage or any other aggregate privacy related search engine that queries Google or any other large data harvesting search engine service provider (Yahoo, Bing/Microsoft, Yandex, Ask etc.).  Machine based profiling is a real thing, and regardless of how much or how little we share deliberately online, these machines and algorithms can and do track far more of our activities and are able to determine far more about us (even outside of our page visits, public postings and search tendencies) than we realize.  They can (and do) even go as far as recognizing our typing patterns which some researchers say can be as accurate and unique as an individual's fingerprint in identifying them (this is no different from the way AI can recognize a person on a video feed or through motion sensors based on the gate and rhythm of their steps/body movement as they walk, even if it can't see or recognize their face, clothing or any other markers related to their physical appearance).  Just like playing a game of poker with a single deck, if you do the math you can easily determine the probability of winning or losing based on the cards that have turned up so far and the cards in your own hand without knowing what your opponents have in their own.  AI and complex mathematics allow these organizations to do the same thing with people, using metadata, public info and the aggregate to determine more specific things about them, both based on connections within the data itself as well as assumptions based on knowledge of other individuals with similar data that it already knows more about as well as what it knows of people and the data sets in general (i.e. if it determines you are not an infant, which is likely always assumed, that's one possibility eliminated; if it sees you visited WebMD on multiple occasions and at least a few of the items you viewed were specific to one biological gender, then that's another; if it sees you looking up the weather for a particular country/city/state/province etc., there's a hint as to your probable location) and all of these things add up to a profile that is retained and constantly cross-referenced and refined until it either identifies precisely who you are or determines a sufficient amount of data about you to satisfy its classification requirements for whatever its purpose is (obviously many of these entities behind these programs don't actually care about identifying individuals, but would be interested in things such as your purchasing habits, tastes in entertainment, topics of interest, political leanings etc. etc.).

On top of all this, the things we've learned about what certain governments have done/are doing is just downright terrifying and I'm pretty convinced that privacy is essentially an illusion at this point if you use any kind of digital device (including a television now that they exclusively use digital signals which are 2-way and service providers now know what you watch and when without any kind of 'Nielsen' box in your home) and with smart home/IoT devices becoming commonplace as well as 'always on/always connected' devices in our lives such as cell phones (especially smart phones, equipped with everything a surveillance organization could ever want to put on anyone they wanted to track/spy on, including a camera, microphone, motion sensors, GPS along with all the usual call logs/text logs and internet logs that go with such devices), anyone with access can learn more than they'd ever want to about any and all of us without us volunteering anything knowingly/willingly.  It is the ultimate sacrifice of personal privacy and security for convenience and we all go right along with it all the while as AI gets smarter and the technology that powers it becomes orders of magnitude more powerful every year (for example, both major GPU manufacturers are now far more interested in building the most powerful 'compute card' than building the most powerful 'graphics card' like they used to be, and even Intel has plans to get into the GPU business within the next couple of years for that very reason).

It's like we all woke up one day and the world had changed completely while we slept without us realizing it, with the most powerful organizations now being those with the most data rather than the most assets and the consumer/user now being the product rather than the buyer/user of products.  Coke and Pepsi still taste the same, but their purpose has changed, and TV is still entertaining but now you are the show that everyone tunes in to.

Edited by exile360

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On 1/25/2019 at 8:55 PM, exile360 said:

Does anyone else see the irony in a survey about concerns regarding sharing data online requiring that participants enter private demographic information about themselves (i.e. age etc.)?  I get why, I'm just saying, I suspect that some of the individuals you probably want to hear from most won't participate specifically because they guard their privacy and info so intensely.  My personal opinion is that you consider making it more concise and only ask questions relevant to the subject at hand rather than including and requiring answers for questions that really have no bearing on the topic itself.  Again, I understand why you ask these things because you want to establish heuristic patterns based on demographics and trends within each demographic/group with regards to their opinions on privacy/how much/how little data they share online rather than making assumptions and probably have some existing assumptions that you want to either prove or possibly disprove if inaccurate, but it's likely to turn some people off for sure (even when you offer more vague responses as options like a specific age range).  This is especially significant for those of us who understand how machine learning/AI works and how such seemingly anonymous/ancillary data can actually be correlated with other seemingly innocuous data from other sources (both public and held by individual companies' private databases) to determine precisely who an individual is, at least within a very high probability of accuracy.

Just to cite a widely known and acknowledged example, Google can easily determine who a user is based on their searches based on past searches and data they've collected even when an individual starts using an anonymized service such as Startpage or any other aggregate privacy related search engine that queries Google or any other large data harvesting search engine service provider (Yahoo, Bing/Microsoft, Yandex, Ask etc.).  Machine based profiling is a real thing, and regardless of how much or how little we share deliberately online, these machines and algorithms can and do track far more of our activities and are able to determine far more about us (even outside of our page visits, public postings and search tendencies) than we realize.  They can (and do) even go as far as recognizing our typing patterns which some researchers say can be as accurate and unique as an individual's fingerprint in identifying them (this is no different from the way AI can recognize a person on a video feed or through motion sensors based on the gate and rhythm of their steps/body movement as they walk, even if it can't see or recognize their face, clothing or any other markers related to their physical appearance).  Just like playing a game of poker with a single deck, if you do the math you can easily determine the probability of winning or losing based on the cards that have turned up so far and the cards in your own hand without knowing what your opponents have in their own.  AI and complex mathematics allow these organizations to do the same thing with people, using metadata, public info and the aggregate to determine more specific things about them, both based on connections within the data itself as well as assumptions based on knowledge of other individuals with similar data that it already knows more about as well as what it knows of people and the data sets in general (i.e. if it determines you are not an infant, which is likely always assumed, that's one possibility eliminated; if it sees you visited WebMD on multiple occasions and at least a few of the items you viewed were specific to one biological gender, then that's another; if it sees you looking up the weather for a particular country/city/state/province etc., there's a hint as to your probable location) and all of these things add up to a profile that is retained and constantly cross-referenced and refined until it either identifies precisely who you are or determines a sufficient amount of data about you to satisfy its classification requirements for whatever its purpose is (obviously many of these entities behind these programs don't actually care about identifying individuals, but would be interested in things such as your purchasing habits, tastes in entertainment, topics of interest, political leanings etc. etc.).

On top of all this, the things we've learned about what certain governments have done/are doing is just downright terrifying and I'm pretty convinced that privacy is essentially an illusion at this point if you use any kind of digital device (including a television now that they exclusively use digital signals which are 2-way and service providers now know what you watch and when without any kind of 'Nielsen' box in your home) and with smart home/IoT devices becoming commonplace as well as 'always on/always connected' devices in our lives such as cell phones (especially smart phones, equipped with everything a surveillance organization could ever want to put on anyone they wanted to track/spy on, including a camera, microphone, motion sensors, GPS along with all the usual call logs/text logs and internet logs that go with such devices), anyone with access can learn more than they'd ever want to about any and all of us without us volunteering anything knowingly/willingly.  It is the ultimate sacrifice of personal privacy and security for convenience and we all go right along with it all the while as AI gets smarter and the technology that powers it becomes orders of magnitude more powerful every year (for example, both major GPU manufacturers are now far more interested in building the most powerful 'compute card' than building the most powerful 'graphics card' like they used to be, and even Intel has plans to get into the GPU business within the next couple of years for that very reason).

It's like we all woke up one day and the world had changed completely while we slept without us realizing it, with the most powerful organizations now being those with the most data rather than the most assets and the consumer/user now being the product rather than the buyer/user of products.  Coke and Pepsi still taste the same, but their purpose has changed, and TV is still entertaining but now you are the show that everyone tunes in to.

That’s creepy :(

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America eats its young, one byte at a time.

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Although, these days it seems as if it is by the truckload....

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