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Poisoning Big Brothers Well -- making data mining worthless

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posted on Sep, 24 2009 @ 11:58 PM
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Seems like a good place to place this so...

I have been noticing a lot of buzz on ATS and other places about the emergence of the massive data monitoring and data mining projects in the US and Europe that will sift through all the data that gets collected on you to look for suspicious patterns that might indicate a possibility that you might do something someday. Of course this is all wrapped in one of the two standard reasons of either keeping us safe from terrorists or hunting down paedophiles.

Historically we know that any time something this Orwellian is introduced for either of those reasons, it soon becomes too tempting to use only for that. For example, every nation that has instituted internet filtering for “child porn” winds up filtering our sites critical of the government or that it just doesn't like. Just consider the massive abuse of the Patriot act to regularly circumvent normal civil rights when it is just to darn inconvenient to follow them while doing police work.

The simple fact of the matter is that whether we like it or not, these massive data collection systems are on line and collecting data about you and there is not a thing you can do about it.

Of is there?

You see, this data only means something if it is representative of your normal, everyday activities. In other words, the data mining works backwards from the data using patterns it finds to reconstruct what you are doing out there in the real world. But that only works if the data is really representative of what you do. See where I'm going with this?

First of all, the terrorists and paedophiles and all those other people that are supposed to get caught, at least the ones that really do all that stuff and not some moronic wanna-be's that only get caught because some FBI undercover agent patiently led them through the basics; not them but the those real pros -- the ones trying for the suitcase nukes -- the guys we need to catch already know how to not get caught by this big brother database.

For example, the TSA is looking for patterns of ticket purchase and seat selection to identify terrorists. They are obviously also using ethnicity and other factors but won't say so for political correctness. If I'm a terrorist, then I'm going to change my apparent behaviour by creating data that looks like someone who does not fit the profile. I change my name to an Irish one, I become a life-long baptist and republican, I create a regular pattern of travel between Dallas and Washington over a multi-year period using a credit card to pay and always asking for a window seat. Things like watch lists only work when those being watched are unaware.

We need to poison the well (so to speak) of these big brother systems. To reclaim our privacy, we need to make the reliability of the predictions and usefulness of these massive databases and mining models so low that they are not worth doing any more. What about finding those real terrorist guys? Isn't this going to make America/Europe less safe? No. But more on that later on so hang tight.

How do you poison the well? We have to do it in significant numbers to make an impact. Here are some things we can do.

1.Use cash. Worked for our parents and grandparents. Why do you have to put dinner on your credit card? Buy gas with your bank card? This means that the more you work off line, the more incomplete your data is.

2.Contra purchase: that means I buy stuff for you and you buy stuff for me in ways that leave records. It works best if I'm a 65 year old male with prostate trouble and you are a 22 year old pregnant woman with a small family. My data now represents two different people/families and their buying patterns and not just me. Now extend that to contra buying with a group of 20 people. Sort that out!

3.Random activities. Regularly do bizarre internet searches (goggle sailing a lot if you live in Kansas), register on knitting websites, take out library books written in Swedish, join all the political parties in your community. Get everyone else to do that too. Populate those databases with all kinds of bogus data. Drive around aimlessly and wave at all the CCTVs.

Once we start to deliberately create data that is not representative, the underlying assumption of most of these predictive data mining techniques no longer holds and it is all rubbish.

Oh, but wait, what about catching real terrorists? The big brother approach doesn't work. Anyone who works with this stuff knows that. What does work is good, old fashioned human intelligence assets out in the field doing the kind of intelligence work that has been done for decades. If you follow the news, most of the terrorist arrests have come from exactly that – good field intelligence work that is supplemented by TARGETED data collection on specific individuals.

Should we use data mining? Yes, but not as a tool for sifting through the general population – the potential for abuse is too high. But a small group that can use whatever means necessary to hunt down real terrorists is the way to go, but only with stringent oversight to ensure that they stay on mission and do not become tools for the political masters to weed out “wrong thinkers”




posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 12:05 AM
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007 since 1st grade...



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 12:39 AM
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Thanks for that. Your idea helps me further my silent revolution.

Some of you may have already read some of my replies in various threads about how I'm no longer funding the PTB by keeping my income below the taxable level. I supplement that by doing things for people without monetary reimbursement, or I take only cash payment (I bake, train dogs, etc., using this system). Those cash payments can be considered a gift because they are not solicited, I have no price list of any sort. I only ask that people give what they wish to give, what they feel the service is worth. That's important for their well-being.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 01:07 AM
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great,now they'll be watching people who do random searches and whatnot to confuse them.

do you think if i just act nuts they'll leave me alone?



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 03:12 AM
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I like your way of thinking. Very good ideas, I'm gonna give it a shot. Lets see if we can actually make a difference.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 03:26 AM
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One thing I have done is not give my name for all those idiotic cards the grocery stores make you use to get the "sale price". One little way of them not knowing who is buying what. They really don't need to know what food I buy and I feel it's quite wrong of them to use that info however they want, sell it to others or what not. I'm sure they say they don't do that in the fine print but I don't believe them for a millisecond.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 04:31 AM
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Wow! What an idea: mess around with an aspect of the government. I can't help feeling that I have heard all of this before; but, seeing as how the idea has originated here, surely it'll be easy to figure out the anarchists right? I mean, if this 'Big Brother Pool' thing collects data on everyone, surely they will know each and every one of us on this site? Then, no matter what we do to muss it up, they'll always having something to link us together and then what? We get our own category in the pool wherein we're REALLY watched.

I mean I'll be happy to try it out, I always pay for things with cash so that's sorted, the rest I'll have to get sorted out in, I mean 'unsorted'
; and you never know, ATS might be known in the future as 'The online group that saved the worlds freedom', but I ain't getting carried away with this cause it all seems a bit 'off' to me.

Ramadwarf on ATSers



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 08:16 AM
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Originally posted by metamagic

1.Use cash. Worked for our parents and grandparents. Why do you have to put dinner on your credit card? Buy gas with your bank card? This means that the more you work off line, the more incomplete your data is.

2.Contra purchase: that means I buy stuff for you and you buy stuff for me in ways that leave records. It works best if I'm a 65 year old male with prostate trouble and you are a 22 year old pregnant woman with a small family. My data now represents two different people/families and their buying patterns and not just me. Now extend that to contra buying with a group of 20 people. Sort that out!

3.Random activities. Regularly do bizarre internet searches (goggle sailing a lot if you live in Kansas), register on knitting websites, take out library books written in Swedish, join all the political parties in your community. Get everyone else to do that too. Populate those databases with all kinds of bogus data. Drive around aimlessly and wave at all the CCTVs.



You pretty much just described how myself and quite a few others live that I know of.

I would also add, have all your forms of id registered in different addresses be it a friends or family members, register at a GP that is not in your area if you must and do not under any circumstances register on the voters roll.

I wouldnt have it any other way, keeps life interesting and ensures your free from debt.



[edit on 25-9-2009 by XXXN3O]



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 09:11 AM
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Those are great ideas for protecting your private information from the data snoops, but I also like to (now and then) purposely mess with the insane data collection programs.

1. Open a free email account (gmail, yahoo, mailvualt, safe-mail, hotmail, etc.)
2. Copy a huge text file ("war and peace" perhaps?)
3. Encrypt it with highest PGP encryption you can find, preferably a russian scheme)
4. Take the encrypted text and keep encrypting it (the more the merrier!)
5. Email it to anyone and everyone. Post it to message boards.

Let the FBI or NSA choke on all that useless data.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 01:29 PM
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The only people with anything to fear from data-mining are those with something to hide.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 01:40 PM
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Originally posted by TheLoony
One thing I have done is not give my name for all those idiotic cards the grocery stores make you use to get the "sale price". One little way of them not knowing who is buying what. They really don't need to know what food I buy and I feel it's quite wrong of them to use that info however they want, sell it to others or what not. I'm sure they say they don't do that in the fine print but I don't believe them for a millisecond.


Almost all Point of Sale Systems have a test number. If you use your Area Code + 867-5309 (yes, from the Tommy Tutone song) it will work just about everywhere that has a Preferred Buyer Card program.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by butch_uk
The only people with anything to fear from data-mining are those with something to hide.


Actually it all rather depends on who is looking and why they are looking for, doesn't it? Since I actually teach data mining, I can also point out that if I'm looking for something in a data set, I can often find it even if it's not there. It's about the assumptions I bring to the mining process.

Most people don't realize that data mining is about looking for putative patterns in data and then assuming that those patterns in data accurately reflect patterns in the real world. So even if you had nothing to hide, data mining can very likely show, erroneously perhaps, that you do.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 01:43 PM
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Another idea...

Create a Facebook and MySpace page for yourself. Give entirely misleading information about yourself...where you live, where you work, what your interests are.

Join all the Garden Club and Knitting Circles you can find on Facebook & MySpace.

Invite a bunch of 60 year old women to be your friends.

Don't post any real-life photos on your profile.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 02:06 PM
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So even if you had nothing to hide, data mining can very likely show, erroneously perhaps, that you do.


As I said, if you have nothing to hide, then there's nothing to fear.

So they know what I buy off of eBay, they know how much I spend on groceries, they know I have asthma, they know I donate money to a right wing political party, they know I surf sites with young ladies with no clothes on, they know what car I drive blah, blah, blah.

So what? If they're that bothered then they only have to ask and I'd tell them.

Data-mining must be the dullest job in the world



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 07:30 PM
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Originally posted by butch_uk

Data-mining must be the dullest job in the world


Teaching it is even duller.



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