back to article Privacy? Forget it. Sell your brain and desires to the highest bidder

All around us the toasters are getting smarter. Sadly, we don't seem to be keeping up with the program. We remain poor schlubs. In the good old days, a toaster was just a toaster. It warmed bread and issued the odd electrocution. Tomorrow's toaster, however, brings with it a new set of functions that travel well beyond bread. …

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Jobs Horns

Final Paragraph of 1984

"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding ! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast ! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

I think our political leaders may have sold our brains for us already. :(

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RW
Coat

Deja vu

These prognostications remind me of nothing so much as some tag lines of the past:

"Better living through chemistry!"

"Nuclear power will be so cheap it won't have to be metered."

"Our experimental atomic fusion apparatus will generate more energy than it consumes within 12 months."

"Nuclear powered automobiles"

"You'll fly to work in your own <whatever>."

Need I say more?

Special message to El Moderatrix: <smooch>

Gotta run now!

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Deja vu

Er, please be aware that the Moderatrix does not moderate <i>all</i> comments. Your smooch has landed on a sweaty Texan man with a belly quickly distending toward middle age.

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Marketing

These dirty pimps have been trying to sell us garbage we don't want for many many decades. People have evolved and will continue to thwart the salesmans lame plans.

If someone gives you the firm handshake and uses your first name in every sentence: He's read that awful 1950s book and is trying to sell you something, scrape the fool off.

My father told me when I were a nipper: When reading a magazine check out who the advertisers are before reading the section on top 10 toasters, there's usually quite the correlation.

Your grandpaw could tell you never believe what you read in the papers and read between the lines.

Nowadays all you have to do is control the data being gathered. Why tell these imbeciles the truth? If some clown asks you what way you voted when leaving a polling booth tell him a pack of lies. When the people at xyz corporation ask you what your household income is, tell them it's under $5,000 per annum. GIGO.

Consumers of the world rise up, you have nothing to lose but your coupons.

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Toasters

Ha, I bet even in that (hopefully) far-off idyllic age the Pundits witter on about that toasters will still either send slices of warmed bread flying across the kitchen to the everlasting joy of the cat, or produce an end-of-cycle so lacklustre you need a knife and a willingness to risk second-degrees burns to lever the fodder out of its cavernous maw.

One can only hope that in the future beating a salesman to death with your cybernetic toaster will be legally recognised as justifiable homicide.

PS Would you two please stop smooching? The Google ads for this page are currently all trying to sell Asian or Russian brides, or something called Cowboy dating.

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Coat

O Brave New World, that has such, err, wonders in it

Found at the bottom of "my" comments page (URLs deleted):

"Ads by Google:

"Meet a Boyfriend for a fulfilling Relationship. We will find him!

"Why Women Divorce: Find out why so many women today are divorcing their husbands

"Fix Your Marriage: An Alternative to Counseling. Get Free Marriage Help Immediately.

"AMD Athlon 64 Processor: AMD Athlon 64 Processors Are Here! Custom Configurations Available.

"AMD Quad-Core Processors

Quad-Core AMD Phenom™ Processors, Buy AMD Processors Online/In-Store.

"Free ebook gives guidance on love and sexual intimacy."

All this, without risking kissing middle-aged Texans or being punished by British Moderatrixes (Moderatrices?). And after repeated visits to The Register, too. If "some of the world's smartest people working on these tracking systems", methinks it will be some time before Mr. Vance's sarcastic, yet valid vision of the future of our privacy comes to pass.

GIGO, indeed.

Mine's the one with the silkscreen of Aldous Huxley taking peyote.

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Paris Hilton

Ads

Hehe.

I keep forgetting the internet has ads. The comedy instances like the one pointed out by anarchic-teapot are the *only* thing that tempts me into turning 'em back on.

If you're automatically servin' up ads for toasters, I'm automatically batting back those toaster ads. I already have enough toasters. If the toaster vendor has had to pay for the priviledge of *trying* to sell a toaster to me, something's wrong somewhere. If/when I want to purchase a new toaster, personal judgements or unbiased recommendations will be the basis on which I shall proceed.

I presume there actually are toaster ads aplenty at this stage...?

Paris -> crumpet etc.

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PH

The beginnings of a revolution

The one thing people - even those who want to protect their privacy - never seem to think of is a campaign for legislation that makes their personal data (i.e. data about themselves) their own property.

Trademark your own face; copyright your own name; assert your moral rights to be identified as the author of your own bank statement. And so on and on. And then sue any f*cker who scrapes your data and sells it to the highest marketer.

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About those ads

But first: @Seán

In a total information/surveillance society lies will be tossed out as anomalies by software designed to ferret out the truth based on information from combined databases. To defeat this the lying would have to be so all encompassing that the lie would become your life and then they know you don't they?

You can run but you can't hide.

Well that's just too depressing so about those ads. I want to see if anything happens if I repeat a word unrelated to the post...

butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly

If there is anything related when I next visit this page this could be a fun game.

butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly

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Pah!

Made no difference at all. If 'Ads by Google' responds at all it is to a very limited range of sex related words - and reveals a very limited experience.

Pah! No fun at all.

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Paris Hilton

Title

The future is creating value in the data we give away for free, no wonder there is such disdain for privacy amongst companies and governments, it has no monetary value in this market.

People have attempted to purchase this data through offering free or enhanced services yet we continue to give it away for nothing. Consumers can safeguard their privacy by grouping up and selling on.

Once our privacy has value, scavangers must compete not only for access but to protect that data bounty. Currently Google reward us with a simple search engine , that's it. They create none of the content or infastructure, yet advertisers pay them Billions for the chance to place a few lines of text on a page.

Stop being a slut with your data, Google are at least charging a few cents for each nibble.

We need Privacy Pimps for the data whores, or something.

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Tehehehe

@first commenter+response... that was hilarious... made my morning...

As for the rest I use tor and privoxy to protect who I am online. I only provide limited info about myself online and ofter use misinformation all over the place.

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Just

fnord

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Talkie Toaster (TM)

I would draw reader's attention to the Red Dwarf episide 'White Hole' where the actions of a toaster, similar to the description offered, wreaks havoc by having its own bright ideas after reading an operations manual. A salutory and cautionary tale for all those who do not own their own rocking chair. Or shotgun. Or whittlin' knife.

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Lying may be the only defence

Living a complete lie may be the only faux-privacy left for most.

Or maybe humans will evolve truly random buying patterns that have no correlation with their needs/wants making data collection & mining worthless.

I'll just have to limp along by never knowingly clicking on an ad.

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Coat

Hi! I'm Talkie Toaster!

"Howdy Doodly doo, how's it going, I'm Talkie - Talkie Toaster, your chirpy

breakfast companion. Talkie's the name, toasting's the game. Would anyone like any toast?"

Mine's the one with the deerstalker shoved in the pocket.

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Bronze badge
Flame

Damn you, faceless data-gathering corporations!

They may take my consumer data but they'll never stop me whittling!

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Jon

To paraphrase Heinlein

It is your duty to buck the system at every turn - if you can't get away with paying less tax, pay a little more - it messes with their system, and causes headaches. Give false, or as little information to governments, corporations and other bodies. Make it as difficult to profile you, and in turn profile the world, as you can.

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Alert

"Intelligent " Toaster

Please don't make our toasters more intelligent - we don't want to end up with "Talky Toaster"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZslRQvv5zM

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Bucking the system

The thing is, if you work really hard to buck the system - data cleansing; anonymising; polluting social profiles with lies, etc ... it is just one of the squillions of records that has been affected. The data miners don't care about you, they care about the population. The only person who has been affected is you.

It is fortunate that the people who have the data and the competence are motivated by greed, so their only desire for this information and profiling is to make money out of it and us. The scary people who might want to subjugate us a) are clutzes and b) can't afford the clever people who can use this data.

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Pirate

what ads?

dude, wait.. what? I haven't seen an ad in years... must be that darned ABP addon for firefox.. that and NoScript. I have marked googleanalytics as untrusted and don't store cookies unless absolutely necessary. I would hope that my debit card transactions and the data they contain fall under the DPA but knowing the bunch of corporate cock sucking arse bandits that populate our pernicious parliament I doubt it.

Oh well, another nail in the coffin of common sense and decency. It seems I may have to become a luddite.

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Coat

Are you listening BMW?

If that's the car of future, where are the wings? Clearly they haven't being doing their automated research on this site, nor through the archives of Tomorrows World.

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Flame

butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly butterfly

I do have ONE question that isn't bready related... Would anyone care for a waffle?

Anyway - one the more general subject of "service" - a significant (greater that 2.5%) of the population have a mobile phone on contract. It's "a phone". Okay it might be capable of being an alarm clock, a timer, a radio, an mp3 player, a movie screener, internet browser, wifi enabled bluetooth multitasking megapixel hotrod of a device... but "it's a phone". Servicing one of these "phones" regularly costs the subscriber upwards of £30 per month, often double that.

I "purchased" a phone a few months ago. It cost me £15 brand new plus £20 topup on the PAYG. Odd term that, I'll say it again, "PURCHASED". This means I actually OWN the phone right now so if it gets lost I do not have to keep paying for the old one (or have not needed to fork out an extra £15 insurance in case it got lost/broken/stolen).

Icon - best way to make toast is in front of an open fire.

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Linux

Tipping the scales

Whilst this story paints a terrifying and possible view of the not so distant future, I don't think it will ever reach this degree of personal intrusion.

Just look at the uproar over Phorm etc.. While the individuals and companies pushing society in this direction are very powerful, the individuals and organisations pushing back are also powerful and grow stronger the further the scales are tipped against them.

There will always be a level of privacy intrusion but the law and countermeasures will always catch up to some degree keeping it below true Orwell scale (unless we end up in some kind of dictatorship like China).

It's not exactly reassuring but I don't think that, in this case, the worst that can happen will happen.

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Assumptions

@Dunstan Vavasour

"The scary people who might want to subjugate us a) are clutzes and b) can't afford the clever people who can use this data."

Re: b) How do you know? The 'scary' people could (are probably) already hiding certain areas of spending. For all we know they might even have started some of these data mining companies - thus self-financing. At the very least they would have people employed by these companies - perhaps up to the level of director. If not then I would assume they could entice, encourage, or persuade these companies to cooperate and assist for the 'good of the nation' if some employees/owners/management were not already so inclined.

Re: a) Never ever underestimate the capabilities of those you might oppose and always remember that stupidity, while it may sometimes be true, is a very useful disarming pose. Also remember that with regard to clandestine behaviour you are only going to hear about some of the mistakes. With no comparable revelations re ongoing successes you don't have enough information to accurately judge capability.

@AC - Tipping the scales

"It's not exactly reassuring but I don't think that, in this case, the worst that can happen will happen."

I agree. I think that to some extent we can count on the messiness of democracy and the pendulum swing of ideological fashion it permits to (over time) moderate the direction of travel and effects of any trend.

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Well, I'm not really a texan...

"Your car might use sensors to communicate with a nearby vehicle and discover that the driver of that car often breaks at the last minute."

And I have noticed that. The pieces keep getting in my way.

--Glenn

P.S. You other guys; that was not an accidental error on their part. The toaster did it while being cheerful in the morning to the person falsely accused of writing the article.

8]

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Gold badge

Sod the toast!

I gave up on this one when the vision of the ideal car turned out to be the bastard offspring of a Porsche Speedster and a BMW Z3 as apparently imagined by a blind, Albanian peasant cloned from the moustache of Salvador Dali.

Is this stuff Bollocks 2.0?

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Silver badge
Happy

Toast

No toaster for me -- I cannot stand the taste of electric toast!

I always slip a couple of slices of my own homemade bread under the pre-heated grill; not at the same time but with an interval between them corresponding to how long it will take to butter the first slice when toasted, so the second slice will be ready for buttering as soon as the first slice is done. Then serve with real butter that has been allowed to warm up to room temperature and spread while the toast is still hot, taking care to load the knife sufficiently so that it need not be returned to the butter while dirty with toast crumbs.

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Butterfly won't work.

No-one aggressively sells butterflies or lepidopterist kit.

Let's try something with guaranteed banal marketing:

house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies house Insurance policies car Insurance policies

and ducks.

Mine's the one with the large cover

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Silver badge
Alert

Marketing vs Consumer

Seán: "These dirty pimps have been trying to sell us garbage we don't want for many many decades. People have evolved and will continue to thwart the salesmans lame plans."

Don't underestimate marketing, they get paid top-$ to break down your will and they'll catch you with your pants down eventually. Think you can outsmart the toaster crowd? Every bagel you buy, 3 cents towards the marketing funds, so have a nice breakfast (and would you PLEASE pull up those pants)!

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Coat

A marketing luddite writes:

Speaking for myself, if and when my toaster breaks, I'll probably make a mental note to pick up a new one next time I'm at the supermarket. It'll cost something like twenty quid, will toast four slices of bread roughly as well as the previous one, and hence will perform its role (or roll, for the pun-addicted among you) adequately without having to be all internet-connected or pseudo-intelligent.

Even if someone were trying to market the latest and greatest toasting gizmo to me, I very strongly doubt whether I'd fall for it. I mean, it's hardly the ultimate lifestyle accessory, is it?

Or is it?

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Black Helicopters

your gubmint at work

you really don't have to worry about internet companies gathering up your data or some toaster maker caring if you had rye or wheat this morning..

all your data are already belong to the gubmint as they monitor the phone lines, credit transactions, bank transactions, cable and internet.

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Anonymous Coward

'Breaks'

"and discover that the driver of that car often breaks at the last minute"

Do you mean some kind of nervous breakdown or something? Or do you mean 'brakes'?

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@A marketing luddite

"I mean, it's hardly the ultimate lifestyle accessory, is it?"

Well, yeah it is. Dump your old one and get a new smart one as soon as you can.

(pssst. my toaster told me to say that or it would start making false reports about me. help me, someone, pleeeease)

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Silver badge

You all missed the point.

What OS will be the taster running? Is the XBox a first disguised attempt at selling "intelligent" toasters? Will it be possible for a blackhat to trick the kit into serving you burnt toasts?

Forget the privacy, we need serious answers!

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Anonymous Coward

@A J Stiles

After years of badly cooked works breakfasts and all this low-cal, low-fat rubbish, that sounds almost orgasmically nice. The long drawn out tease, the careful thought that's gone into the timing, the.... hmm, I'll stop there....

This is what the world needs, advertisers! People taking a little more time and care over what they do! Give us a time-slower-downer. That's not an illegal smokable...

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Silver badge
Coat

Now I get it!!

amanfromMars is actually warping the AdSense machine!!! With his postings, the adsense system picks up so much words it starts to screw up the ads it serves!!!

I remember reading many years ago about "intelligent fridges" that would tell you "Hey dude! You're low on milk! BUY MORE! BUY MORE!" Even better was that coupling this with RFID would give stuff like "Duuuude!!! Yoour milk's rotten! Expiration date was last week!!!".

Mix in these old (ca. 2000?) ideas with Web 2.0 and Phorm, and you'll end up getting "You're low on milk, do you want me to order Borden 100% Top-Quality Milk?"

Or one I'd find hilarious: "You're almost out of Pepsi. Do you want to restock?" *click yes* "Thank you. Ordering 4 liters of Coca-Cola Zero. Coca-Cola, official sponsor for the IntelliFridge 2.0"

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marketeers ?

Marketeers.... Shiteweasel shitwits one and all.

I am not a target market

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FUD

Move along, nothing substantial here.

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Big Google? Not likely

Ashlee I really enjoyed your article. I have serious concerns with data privacy but I don't fear Google collecting my buying habits. Mixing private and public use of behavioral data into the one category is a mistake.

Private use of data (google, amazon et al) is benign or laughable at worst and beneficial at best. It saves me time rummaging around for what I want to buy when I log into my amazon account (although it bums me to be reminded that I am in fact a stereotype).

The real danger is government use of this data. They're the ones with the coercive power to do nasty things with the data. All a company can do is beg me to buy something it sells. Only when the companies give their data over to the government does it become a real threat to our lives. Or of course when they lose a laptop with my bank details on it.

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Anonymous Coward

@OC there is substantial law breaking infact

"FUD

By Anonymous CowardPosted Tuesday 20th May 2008 00:48 GMT Move along, nothing substantial here."

your wrong OC, there is substantial law breaking infact.

http://www.p2pnet.net/story/15980

for the PDF version

http://www.paladine.org.uk/phorm_paper.pdf

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