Tuesday, April 10, 2018

They don't make anything.

I know it's very Luddite of me to attempt to make corporeal today's finance-driven, data-demolished world. Maybe because I was raised by parents deeply-scarred by the Depression, but at the end of the day, I like to see what I made.

Admittedly, what I made hasn't added up to a fortune. But that's ok. Again, it could be the sentimentalist in me, but I take pride and succor in writing an ad, in creating a commercial. Even a lowly banner ad, the butt of more jokes than Henny Youngman's wife, I take pride in. If I were a carpenter, I'd be planing the wood to a velvet softness, dovetailing the joints and making, at least, a thing that functions, at most, something that is a joy to look at.

Since the news of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook broke, people have been fulminating and breathing through their mouths about the wholesaling of their privacy. 

How did they think Zuckerberg and Company were getting rich? 

I checked this morning and Facebook's market cap is a staggering $461 billion. That makes it more valuable than nine General Motors or 11 Coca-Colas.

When it comes to Facebook, I always did a little math in my head. Accurate or not, the whole picture or half, naive or wise, it made sense to me.

I divide Facebook's market cap by the number of their users. For the sake of easy math, let's round up their 1.8 billion users to 2 billion. So divide their market cap, $461 billion by 2 billion and you have $230.50.

By my calculation that's how much Facebook are selling your data for. They're making over $200/user selling user-data.

Someone smart can come along now and refute my math and the components of my calculation. I welcome the discussion. And I could use a good comeuppance. In reality, who couldn't.

It's folly to think of Facebook as "free" or benign. It's folly to believe in companies doing something for nothing. As my Yiddesche mama would spit, "You don't get rich giving things away."

There's no doubt why Facebook considers its customers users.

We've been used.

And now some words from the cheery neo-Fascist "Wall Street Journal."

How Pizza Night Can Cost More in Data Than Dollars

Even a low-key evening at home can mean handing over a trove of personal information to high-tech companies

Published April 10, 2018 at 5:30 a.m. ET

The smartphones, Facebook accounts and other technology products deeply embedded in modern life help people get more things done every day. They also gather more information about us than we often realize.
But Facebook's crisis over how it handles and protect user data has led some to ask: What data am I giving up?
Imagine “Sally” sets up a pizza-and-movie night with her friend “Kristen.” The Wall Street Journal reviewed privacy statements to assess just how much data could be unknowingly shared on top of the price of that pepperoni pie.

The Plan

Sally pulls out her iPhone X and exchanges some texts with Kristen.
Sally and Kristen are using Apple iMessage to text. The messages are encrypted, so that Apple never sees the words exchanged.
As messages are sent, Apple captures and analyzes anonymous metadata, such as time stamps, so it can be used to ensure servers have sufficient bandwidth for future traffic, for example.


 End-to-end encrypted text
 iMessage address information


 Anonymized time stamps
 Anonymized message routing information

The Order

As Kristen cleans up her apartment, she turns to her Amazon Echo: “Alexa, open Domino's and place an order.”
The Domino's app installed on the Echo pulls up Kristen’s stored credit-card information. "Do you want to use your Visa ending in 1234?” Alexa asks.
The stored credit-card information is used to complete the pizza purchase. Alexa also logs the interaction, and Domino’s creates a transcript of what she said.


Voice characteristics
Content of request
Payment and billing information
Type of pizza ordered
Quanity of order


 Interaction history
 Type of Echo device
 Last four digits of credit card
 Transcript of what she said
 Hardware settings
 Operating system
 Performance statistics

The Trip

Sally jumps in her car and pulls up Google Maps on her iPhone to get directions to Kristen’s place. The app uses iPhone sensors to determine her location as she travels, tapping into the accelerometer for speed and the gyroscope for direction.
Google collects anonymous bits of data on her speed and location, as well as that of nearby drivers, to detect if there’s heavy traffic.


 Address of her destination


 Cardinal direction of travel
 Device type (iPhone X)
 IP address assigned to device
 Closest Wi-Fi routers
 Closest cell towers

The Selfie

Sally and Kristen haven’t hung out in forever, so Sally suggests taking a selfie.
After Sally uploads the photo to Facebook, the app suggests she tag Kristen based on its facial-recognition system, which Kristen has given permission to use.
Facebook could collect Sally’s location based on the IP address used to upload the photo, which it could use to suggest local events that might interest her or show her ads targeted at people near a specific place. Its system also analyzes the photo as it does with all images to make sure there’s no inappropriate content.


 Uploaded photo
 Text submitted with photo
 Facial recognition


 Photo analysis
 Location of the photo (if included in metadata)
 Type of device (iPhone X)
 Device ID
 Device operating system
 Battery level
 Signal strength
 Bluetooth signal
 Connection speed
 Available storage
 App and file names and types
 Nearby Wi-Fi beacons and cell towers
 Nearby devices such as a TV for phone-to-TV streaming
 Time zone
 Mobile operator or internet service provider
 IP address
 Time, frequency and duration of activities
 Hardware version
 Software version

The Movie

Kristen turns on her Apple TV and searches for “Wonder Woman.” They purchase the movie. Apple could later suggest other movies Kristen should buy, such as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” By default, Apple offers personalized recommendations, but users can turn off that setting.
In the process, Apple checks Kristen’s Apple ID and charges her stored credit-card information. It also uses internet-bandwidth information to make sure the movie downloads at the appropriate speed.


 Movie selected
 Apple ID
 Credit card information


 Internet bandwidth information
 Purchase history

The Cost in Data

Sally and Kristen potentially gave up at least 53 pieces of information together. The data detailed in the scenario reflect information the companies could collect according to their privacy statements, terms of service and related documents.
Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Domino’s privacy policies collectively total 76,069 words. At an average reading speed of 250 words a minute, it would take someone more than five hours to read all the policies reviewed for Sally and Kristen’s scenario.
"Users have lost sight of what they give up and that's through no fault of their own,” said Gennie Gebhart, a researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties group.
The companies generally handle data differently and use them for different reasons. Apple, for example, often disassociates information from users and uses it primarily to improve devices. Facebook and Google primarily use data to improve services and support their advertising businesses.

What Else Is in the Privacy Policies

The information handed over by Sally and Kristen are only a few of the pieces of data the biggest tech companies have the ability to collect, according to their privacy policies. Below is a list of some, but not all, of the kinds of data that could be gathered.
User-Provided Data 
Company-Collected Data
ENTERING INFORMATION ON WEBSITE Name Phone Number Mailing Address Credit Card InformationPeople's Names to Whom Purchases Have Been Shipped People's Addresses to Whom Purchases Have Been ShippedPeople's Phone Numbers to Whom Purchases Have Been Shipped Friend's Email Addresses Content of ReviewsContent of Emails to the Company ‘Your Profile’ Personal Description ‘Your Profile’ Photograph Social Security NumberDriver's License Number Login Email Address Password Purchase History Products Viewed, Searched For IP AddressTime Zone Browser Type Browser Version Browser Plugins Operating System Clickstream DataPhone Number Used to Call Company Opened an Email From Company Page Response Times Download Errors Length of VisitsPage Interaction (Scrolls, Clicks, Mouse-Overs) Methods Used to Browse Away From Page APP USE Location Device IdentifiersALEXA-SPECIFIC Name Phone Number Contact Details To-Do, Shopping Lists Music PlaylistsDefault Payment Information Default Shipping Information Voice Characteristics Mobile Phone Contacts, If ImportedContent of Requests Interaction History Types of Purchases Zip Code If You Ask For Weather 'Skill' Custom Music StationsAuxiliary Product Information Smart Home Device Type Smart Home Device Name Smart Home Device FeaturesSmart Home Device Status Smart Home Device Network Connectivity Smart Home Device Location Voice MessagesContact Communicated With the Most
“Our privacy notice describes what information we collect and how we use it. We never sell our customers’ personal information. We encrypt data in transit and at rest, as well as offer customer the ability to turn on multi-factor authentication.”
CREATE APPLE ID, MAKE PURCHASE, ETC. Name Mailing Address Phone Number Email Address Contact PreferencesCredit Card Information Date of Birth USE OF SERVICE/DEVICE Location Occupation App Store ActivitiesServices Search Queries Phone Carrier Language Country Zip Code Area Code Operating System Browser TypeInternet Service Provider Referrer URL Unique Device Identifier Time Zone IP Address Opened an Email From AppleFriend or Family Names Friend or Family Mailing Address Friend or Family Emails Friend or Family Phone Numbers APPLE MEDIA SERVICES Home Country Payment Method Apple ID Device Activity Location Usage
The company doesn’t believe companies should build detailed profiles of customers. It often disassociates information from users and uses it to improve the devices it sells but doesn’t sell personal information to advertisers.
REGISTERED USER Name Mailing Address Phone Number Email Address Billing Information Areas of InterestProduct Usage Credit Card Information Password TRANSACTIONS Location Nature of Purchase Quantity of PurchasePrice of Purchase Transcript of Words Spoken Individuals, Entities Communicated With For Transaction USING THE SERVICESecondary Communications, Background Noise Device Identifier Device Type Operating System Browser TypeHardware Settings Performance Statistics Server Name IP Address Internet Service Provider General Geographic InformationDate and Time Site Accessed Pages Accessed Within Site or App Referral URL Exit URL Transaction History Installed FontsJavascript Objects Content of Social Media Post If Using Domino's Hashtag
“Any customer information we collect in a digital order is used to fulfill the order or to improve the customer experience.”
USING THE SERVICE Name Email Address Shared Content Viewed Content Type of Content Engaged WithContent Commented On Messages and Communications With Others Connections to Friends, Groups, Accounts and HashtagsLife Events Religious Views Political Views Who You Are "Interested In" Health Racial or Ethnic Origin Philosophical BeliefsTrade Union Membership Address Book ("If You Choose To Upload, Sync or Import It")Call Log ("If You Choose To Upload, Sync or Import It") SMS Log History ("If You Choose To Upload, Sync or Import It") Contact DetailsPayment Information Shipping Information Mobile Phone Number Precise Device Location Uploaded Photos, VideosFacial Recognition Device Settings Messenger Communication Actions on FacebookInteractions With Friends, Groups, Accounts and Hashtags Features Used When You're Using Facebook ProductsWhen You Last Used Facebook Products Location of a Photo (like metadata) Date Time, Frequency and Duration of ActivitiesOperating System Hardware Version Software Version Battery Level Signal Strength Available Storage Browser TypeApp and File Names and Types Plugins Device Behavior (Mouse Movements, Windows in Foreground or Background) Device IDDevice You Use Bluetooth Signal Nearby Wi-Fi, Beacons and Cell Towers Mobile Operator Internet Service Provider LanguageTime Zone IP Address Connection Speed Nearby Devices Such as a TV for Phone-to-tv Streaming Purchases DonationsServices Used Activity Off Facebook Including Websites Visited, Purchases Made, Ads Viewed and Services UsedOnline and Offline Actions From Third-Party Data Providers Instagram Activity Where You Live Places You GoBusinesses You're Near People You're Near Events Attended Friends' Comments About You Friends' Messages To YouFriends' Contact Information For You Friends' Photos of You Facebook Search Queries
“We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find, and that we must do more to keep people informed.”
SIGN UP FOR ACCOUNT Name Password Login Email Address Phone Number ‘Your Profile’ Photo GenderDate of Birth Country USING THE SERVICE Language Preferences Analysis of Interactions with Google ServicesCredit Card Information Contacts Reviews You Write Comments You Post Location Location History Map SearchesTraveling Speed Direction of Travel Voice Search Content Photo and Video Uploads Date and Time Photos, Videos TakenLocation Information of Photos, Videos Age (confirmed through credit card transaction) Browsing History Date and Time of QuerySearch History Frequency of Visits Ads Viewed, Engaged Categories Interested In Gmail Messages Gchat MessagesFacial Recognition Google Drive Content (i.e. docs) YouTube Watch History Calling-Party Phone Number Forwarding NumbersCall History Recorded Conversations Time and Date of Calls Voicemail Messages Voicemail Greetings Duration of CallsTypes of Calls SMS Routing Information IP Address Mobile Network Information Operating System Hardware ModelDevice Identifiers Hardware Settings Crash Report Browser Type Bookmarks Installed Extensions Open Browser TabsReferrer URL Calendar Events Login Locations Date and Time of Request Contacts Shared With the MostLinked IP Addresses to URLs Visited Record of Website Downloads Strength of Wi-Fi or Cell Signal
“In order to make the privacy choices that are right for them, it's essential that people can understand and control their Google data. Over the years, we've developed tools like My Account expressly for this purpose, and we'd encourage everyone to review it regularly.”

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