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#off-topic
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2018-04-04
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john03:04:50

"The basic principle is that a system must be designed not to collect certain data, if its basic function can be carried out without that data."

seancorfield03:04:42

You don't want to know my thoughts on Stallman... πŸ™‚

seancorfield03:04:46

(I will, however, go read the article...)

seancorfield04:04:21

The article doesn't change my opinion of him -- he's still a paranoid loon 😐 The reason systems collect ever more data about people is because that's how they offer the ever-increasingly personalized services that the great masses want. Sure, they'll squawk about privacy but they're still extremely happy to exchange their information for personalized features. It's a trend that's been going on for decades.

seancorfield04:04:42

If all that was taken away, people would complain like mad about the loss of all the features they love...

dpsutton04:04:55

please put your thoughts on RMS in #off-topic

seancorfield04:04:24

Hahaha... trust me, I checked the channel before I started! πŸ™‚

seancorfield04:04:04

At least the title of the article is honest: it is a radical proposal.

dpsutton04:04:06

i read an article about him and guy steele hacking on emacs. it talked about the AI lab there at MIT. it sounded amazing and he's been trying to recreate that for everyone

seancorfield04:04:45

A good friend of mine has had years of dealing with Stallman over Emacs stuff... he's even less complimentary than I am!

dpsutton04:04:22

i'm glad he's out there doing what he does. i could never live up to his standard but good for him

dpsutton04:04:33

yeah i've seen him no the mailing list and he's got some strong opinions

seancorfield04:04:47

That's putting it mildly.

john04:04:10

I don't see the contours of his proposal. How do you define the specific rules?

seancorfield04:04:17

But it's fair to say that a lot of the more radical characters in any industry are going to be very opinionated and, often, not very good at dealing with people or "how the world works" -- after all, they want it to behave their way and they're in a small fringe of society in general.

john04:04:18

"don't record data you don't need"

seancorfield04:04:24

I work in online dating: the whole point of joining a dating site is to share a bunch of personal details with thousands of other people, and the system itself, so it can help guide your matches.

john04:04:40

yeah, case in point

seancorfield04:04:05

His point about travel payment cards not tracking individuals is reasonable at a general level: they only need aggregate data and no PII for that... up to a point. What if your card is lost or stolen? Then you bet people want it tracked back to their identity so other folks can't use it. Suddenly you have a critical reason for PII tracking.

john04:04:13

He seems to be trying to exploit the current hype wave around privacy. Not quite a 'manifesto' though, I'd say

seancorfield04:04:40

At that point, the rest is gravy: once you admit your PII for security of identifying payment methods as "yours", you might as well take advantage of all the personalized logging/history -- and then you you'll see benefit of targeted offers based on your travel patterns and you're off down the slippery chute again.

john04:04:45

and AI that detects when a purchase pattern isn't "you"

seancorfield04:04:54

For all the current (temporary, IMO) outcry about privacy, people love personalization. Look at all the voice activated purchasing systems that are coming into the home... sure, people don't like the idea that "it listens to everything" but they love the convenience of everything it can do for them.

sundarj04:04:19

for me i'm not against the idea of personal data collection in principle, but I do think that 'collect everything' is a pretty crazy default. if you want a specific feature, you should be asked to opt-in to the requisite data collection. i.e. if you'd rather risk your travel card getting stolen than hand over that data, that should be your prerogative

sundarj04:04:40

I suppose opt-out would also be acceptable, since most people don't care

sundarj04:04:19

the only choice we get currently is a Hobson's choice, which isn't very nice

seancorfield04:04:26

Well, your choice is: use the convenient card, or pay cash every time (which Stallman references in connection with London cabs)

sundarj04:04:33

true, although that's sort of a false dichotomy. and using cash on the tube leaves you noticeably worse off economically

seancorfield05:04:45

How much is your privacy worth? πŸ™‚

sundarj05:04:07

ha! touchΓ© πŸ™‚

sundarj05:04:13

you know, when Amazon Smile started I gave my choice without thinking twice about it, though now I wonder how much a person's choice of charity says about them πŸ˜›

seancorfield06:04:49

We give away information about ourselves all the time. For example, I did the 23andMe DNA analysis and since then I've completed dozens of surveys that cover behavior, health, food tastes, and for your relatives too. We tell airlines whether we prefer aisle or window seats. We rate restaurants on Yelp and Facebook. My phone company donates to charity every month and asks customers to vote on three possible charities each time. We're always being asked for more about ourselves and we mostly give willingly...

seancorfield04:04:21

I'm old and cynical -- I've been "me" online for over 25 years and I can tell you that privacy died decades ago...

john04:04:58

He may be talking mostly about public infrastructure, as a matter of public policy, preferring zero knowledge systems

john04:04:09

pushing all PII aware systems to the edges

seancorfield04:04:12

I live in the Bay Area, California. I have a FasTrak tag for the bridge tolls and express lanes. It's tied to my identity so I can have one tag and multiple vehicles. The tag isn't perfect so sometimes it doesn't "read" but the toll tracking uses digital license plate cameras so it can trace the car back to the tag. One of my tags "broke" and it was about six months before I actually noticed that it wasn't beeping as I well thru the "gates". But it had happily allowed me to keep using the system, tracking my car everywhere, and auto-refilling the balance on the tag. I'll take that convenience for the trade off of lack-of-privacy there.

seancorfield04:04:21

If you take all the PII out of public infrastructure, suddenly that scenario isn't possible and I'm horribly inconvenienced -- and FasTrak still has to have license plate cameras to track violators and send them fines/tickets anyway...

seancorfield04:04:12

But then I come from England which has the highest density of CCTV per capita than anywhere else in the world I think... We've traded privacy for public safety for decades.

john04:04:00

yeah, it's easy to see lots of pros and cons

john04:04:29

Another option is absolute transparency

seancorfield04:04:34

I've always reacted with a bit of an eye-roll at anyone who starts making a fuss about privacy online πŸ™‚

john04:04:03

Does England make their CCTV's public?

seancorfield04:04:30

Yes, and GDPR goes some way toward that transparency -- requiring that users can see exactly what data a company holds on them and have the ability to get it corrected, or deleted.

john04:04:45

Perhaps that'd be a compromise for Stallman. What if you could see all the data that FasTrak has on you and delete it at will?

seancorfield04:04:30

CCTV's are mostly run by police and security services I think. I expect some are public. But data is shared across the whole country so, for example, a crime caught on camera in one area can lead to the suspect being tracked across multiple systems until they're caught. And they have facial recognition and license plate tracking active across a lot of England ...

john04:04:30

I don't know, these data regulations seem like rough waters

seancorfield04:04:47

Yeah, I think companies will struggle to comply with GDPR.

mpenet04:04:31

Not that we have a choice (it's not that difficult in reality)

mpenet04:04:06

I think it's a good thing personally

seancorfield04:04:54

As for my data... to be honest, I don't care. Once, out of curiosity, I downloaded all my Google account data. I got bored with it pretty quickly. Lately Microsoft has introduced a lot of privacy controls in Windows 10 and the ability to inspect everything Windows tracks -- and delete it. That may be in the next public release of Windows? I think it's in RS4. I have to say, I was pretty surprised at just how much Microsoft knows about me...

seancorfield04:04:42

...I use Bing on my laptop, desktop, and phone. I use Edge on my laptop, desktop, and phone. I use Cortana on all three as well. And Outlook on my phone and Windows Mail on my laptop and desktop. And they've tied all of that together is a giant, historical tapestry of everywhere you've been, everything you've searched for, all the contacts you've interacted with, and how that all fits with your calendar etc.

seancorfield04:04:40

But how else is Cortana going to make location-sensitive and time-sensitive suggestions based on my needs/wants?

john04:04:46

The ML mana will surely fall from the heavens soon πŸ˜‰

mpenet04:04:39

I am more concerned about border agent asking for passwords/hd content

seancorfield04:04:20

Yeah, that bothers me.

mpenet04:04:48

2fa can help with the former. Sending encryoted hard-drives via postal mail for the latter... But meh

seancorfield04:04:49

I think it's unconstitutional -- but it hasn't been challenged in court yet (right?).

mpenet04:04:16

Dunno (I dont live in the us)

john04:04:38

The hacker is always on top

mpenet04:04:37

I wouldnt try to argue with tsa about the constitution tho :)

john04:04:53

I mean, truecrypt-like hidden volumes are pretty simple

john04:04:03

I'd be worried if they tried to make hidden volumes illegal though

qqq12:04:33

Anyone know of a good resource for "groovy for clojurists" ?

john13:04:55

Google's guava collections are probably a good idea for Clojurists on Groovy

sveri19:04:28

@seancorfield Is that spam already?

seancorfield19:04:47

Thanks for the heads up @sveri -- it will be dealt with!

john22:04:18

have I mentioned how much I love Clojure today?

john22:04:22

Cause I do...

john23:04:56

Sorry for the public adulation πŸ˜„ I just participated in team building exercise where we reflected on where we need to improve and where we're succeeding. One of my associates had an anecdote about a client meeting where he was asked, "Clojure? Don't you have a hard time finding talent?" And he said, "Actually, yes. But once you find them, they're usually really good!" ... we also did some personality tests that showed some striking similarities in character that we didn't expect. (at least I didn't) One of the takeaways from the day was that Clojure tends to attract very curious and inquisitive minds.

john23:04:21

Also, that Clojure tends to be a sort of educational language where, if any given abstraction, algorithm or software programming methodology is converted into Clojure, that domain becomes much more understandable. So, because Clojure is so simple, if you read enough different kinds of programming ideas encoded in Clojure, you end up being able to learn advanced concepts that would normally take a lot longer to learn in other languages.

john23:04:30

I'll have to put together a blog post about it in the future. It'd be a good point of reference.