A Curmudgeon's Guide To Privacy
from the avoid-telling-anyone-anything dept
Yesterday I was on the phone with a company that had sold me something. I was confused because they had charged my credit card 3 months after the purchase. After we worked out what had happened, the guy asked for my email address… for no clear reason. I was surprised and almost gave it to him, when I realized this company had no reason to know my email, and politely told him I preferred not to give it out. David Holtzman from Network Solutions sounds like he’s even more afraid of giving out any information (I usually give in once it gets annoying) and has a guide to protecting your digital privacy. Of course, even following the strategies he outlines (things like pay cash upfront, don’t use membership cards, and never use wireless devices), I would imagine most people have very little real privacy. Most of our privacy these days (unfortunately) comes from obscurity. There’s simply too much data for anyone to be too interested in your specific data (until, of course, you do something wrong).
Comments on “A Curmudgeon's Guide To Privacy”
No Subject Given
I find it easier to make stuff up. I gave fake data for my grocery store card, although I usually pay by credit card so if they are smart enough to correlate that somehow… Radio Shack thinks 202-555-1212 is my phone number, email@example.com is usually my email address, etc.
No Subject Given
Mike, you own several domains, so do what I do: give them your e-mail address as “their company name”@yourpreferreddomain.com. Makes it clear that if they spam you, you’ll know it. Even more effective over the phone (I’ve done this several times).
Re: No Subject Given
I used to do this and it’s a complete waste of time. Because, down the road, when you need to login or give them your email address again I always forget which one I gave them. It’s more of a pain than anything else. Besides, my problem wasn’t what they would do with the email address, but why they wanted it in the first place.
Re: Re: No Subject Given
It’s not really privacy,per se. The downside is much worse. Privacy sounds like a bunch of annoying phone calls at dinner or a bigger bunch of junk mail to throw away. The problem is that they’re creating key fields for large scale federations of data bases. For instance, Bank of America’s privacy statement reserves their right to link your transactional information to information in other holding companies that they have. When you look at the breadth of today’s multinational corporation, that’s pretty open-ended. Every extra bit of information means a “join” somewhere down the road and this allows creation of metainformation about you. Are you a “spendthrift”, do you impulse buy cyclically, etc. I’m more worried about this kind of invisible categorization.