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Preorders kick off for Sproutling, a 'Nest' for your child's nursery - Page 2

post #41 of 68
It seems they totally avoid discussing how the technology works. From the blog it appears the monitor depends on the charging base to communicate, that sounds like it uses Wi-Fi. That is too bad. Here I'm thinking that this monitor could communicate directly with the iPhone using Bluetooth LE. Now that would have amazing possibilities.
post #42 of 68

And if you thought helicopter parents were bad, this will give us parents that can't go 1 second without checking on their baby's status bringing in an era of super-p&ssy parents raising super-p#ssy children that can't take a step for fear they may hurt themselves.

 

Big Brother will be nothing compared to Big Parents who now know everything about their child for every moment.  Not all will be this way, but now the door is opened.

 

It's not all bad.  Maybe some abusive baby-sitters will be caught because of this.

post #43 of 68
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Big Brother will be nothing compared to Big Parents who now know everything about their child for every moment.  Not all will be this way, but now the door is opened.


Been opened for roughly a generation. We’re already seeing the effects.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #44 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

I actually have first-hand experience of this.  My 3rd daughter had a chromosome abnormality and a Cong. heart defect.  Open heart surgery at 9 days old, and we spent more time in the hospital than at home during her life.  And when we were at home- we couldn't go anywhere due to her immune system.  A cold would send us back to the hospital.  She passed away at 14 months old Christmas Day 2012.  She's so much better for it.  Ya- it sounds heartless Maestro- and it was the hardest thing we ever did- allowing her to pass away instead of electing for another 4+ surgeries that she likely wouldn't have survived- but her quality of life was terrible.  Constant pain and she had way more fear/sadness than happiness.  We would have been prolonging the inevitable.  Just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should.



My heart goes out to you in a huge, huge way. I too know parents who have had really difficult decisions regarding kids who have no chance of getting "better". I won't get into personal stuff on a public site like this, but I understand firsthand some of the feelings you went through - though not nearly at the level and duration you did. RIP little one.
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post #45 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I seriously doubt Google ever sells your personal information. It is much more useful for them to keep it private. What Google sells is targeted advertising. Without a doubt they develop personal profiles when possible, but it does them no good to sell it to an advertiser who has no way to deliver ads on their own. The advertiser needs Google to deliver the ads based on their custom profile.

 

Google is not going to bother sending you a random ad when they can send you a targeted ad. If Google knows you are interested in a specific topic, they have a better chance of getting a click from you than if they sent you an ad that was completely irrelevant. In a way, you can think of targeted ads as a service. Ads are everywhere. Wouldn't you rather see ads about something you were interested in if you have to see ads anyway?



No I would not! How wedded to the disease of being "marketed to" are people these days anyway?

You are misunderstanding (or at least misusing) terminology (above). I'm perfectly fine with targeted advertising. It merely requires knowing what kind of site I'm visiting, and displaying reasonably relevant ads to that content. It's been around for at least 50-60 years, probably longer. Nothing wrong with it, other than it can be annoying.

I'm NOT fine with personally individualized advertising, which is truly immoral and dehumanizing if I didn't explicitly agree to it. THAT is what google does, and no one should be okay with it.

The former is fully ephemeral. You visit the site and an ad is delivered based on the site's content and perhaps other transient info like date/time/etc. End of story.

The latter is forever. The data mining companies (google's main competitive advantage these days is simply that they are arguably the best data miner in the world) gather as much personal data about each individual as they possibly can, both long-term and real-time data. They use that data to build detailed psychological profiles, movement patterns and purchase patterns of every single person they can identify, regardless of whether or not they have explicitly agreed to be mined. How can people not understand that this is unacceptable?

It's not seeing ads that's offensive, it's the data mining!
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post #46 of 68
Back on topic, I have at least 3 big problems with this product.

1) To jump onboard with a couple other folks here, I don't believe in data mining, especially for kids, and holy crap, now babies?!. As talented as many google employees are, they cannot guarantee that this data will be secure. Not now, and certainly not forever. They've already had their security broken by our government and by at least one foreign government. The amount of personal data they have is just too big a target to ever be considered "safe". How can you trust a relatively unknown company like this with personal, identifiable (believe me, it is), data that includes biometric and behavioral data?

2) How does this product send data outbound? WiFi? Bluetooth? Whatever it's doing is almost certain to use some kind of transmitter. Do you really want a transmitter essentially touching your infant?? Sure, we're all using cell phones, but, a) we're adults, b) we make the choice ourselves, and c) it took a long time to understand and quantify the levels at which those devices caused damage -- to adults! The allowed levels have changed a lot over the years. This is a big unknown with infants, who, as most of you should know, are far more susceptible to lots of materials and conditions than adults. EM hypersensitivity is unproven as of yet (though I know someone terribly affected), but higher doses of EM can be problematic for adults, so scale it down to an infant and consider whether you'd want to attach a WiFi transmitter to your baby's leg.

3) Again, others have mentioned this, but this product reeks of lazy parenting. Anything and everything that puts you in direct view/contact with your infant/baby/toddler/kid/teen is a plus. When you choose to have kids, it's life changing. You simply don't get to have long spells of uninterrupted time - and in general that's a good thing! You need to learn about your kids firsthand, not through some kind proxy parenting device.

Before closing, I do understand that there are special cases where a device like this could be of more value than the downsides listed above. Special needs kids, those with physical ailments, extended hospital stays, etc. I'm all for helping those families. But the sproutling picture of a parent sitting down eating a meal with their glasses of wine and the caption "Know if it's getting too loud." is just too much. If your baby is sleeping, and you want them to continue sleeping, be quiet! Good parenting requires direct contact: eyes-on baby, and vice-versa.

/rant off
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post #47 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post
 
I'm NOT fine with personally individualized advertising, which is truly immoral and dehumanizing if I didn't explicitly agree to it. THAT is what google does, and no one should be okay with it.

I can see your point, it may be unethical, but it is not illegal, unlike selling your personal information is, as was alleged by the OP.

 

But let's put the blame where it really belongs, on the advertisers and the websites that host them. If the website owner does not put scripts in the page to allow tracking and the display of dynamic ads, Google would not have any way to track you or send you ads. Of course the funding for the websites comes from ads, so without them, the website might not exist.

 

Anyone who is concerned with what information Google is collecting about them is perfectly capable of preventing it with some simple steps such as never logging into Google services and using ad blockers like Ghostery. Unfortunately iOS devices do not permit ad blockers.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #48 of 68
Technology is amazing. It never fails to deliver the dumbest things I've ever heard of.
post #49 of 68
But will it tell me when I need to baste my turkey? I hate it when they get too dry.

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GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #50 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I can see your point, it may be unethical, but it is not illegal, unlike selling your personal information is, as was alleged by the OP.

But let's put the blame where it really belongs, on the advertisers and the websites that host them. If the website owner does not put scripts in the page to allow tracking and the display of dynamic ads, Google would not have any way to track you or send you ads. Of course the funding for the websites comes from ads, so without them, the website might not exist.

Anyone who is concerned with what information Google is collecting about them is perfectly capable of preventing it with some simple steps such as never logging into Google services and using ad blockers like Ghostery. Unfortunately iOS devices do not permit ad blockers.



Unethical vs. Illegal: I agree that there is a big difference, and perhaps we can even agree that while acting within the confines of the law, they are acting unethical. I have a big problem with that, and it bothers me to no end that so many people ignore it. Beyond that, from a legal standpoint, google and their ilk are almost completely unregulated. They can change their policies at any time and people are stuck/screwed. They will keep their treasure troves of data secret for exactly as long as it benefits them more to do so than to sell or give it away. Oh, except when they are legally compelled to give it away. Let's hope that part doesn't get out of control.

I don't blame the web site owners nearly as much as the data miners, simply because they are mostly small-fry consumers of the services, stuck in the middle. Big players have their own systems in place. The small players need to have something to bring in some revenue, and for many of them they have no other feasible alternatives. Google, on the other hand, knows exactly what they're doing. On the other hand, I do put a lot of blame on the grocery stores and real-world retailers that sell their customer data to data mining companies like axciom. Those guys make me want to puke.

I'm sorry to say, your last point is just not true. Google (and other data miners - many are ethically worse, just not as good at what they do) are collecting data about you without regard to whether you have a google account or use ad blockers. Think about gmail. Hundreds of millions of people are sending google data about not only themselves, but about others they communicate with. How do you stop people from sending emails TO YOU with personal information? And yes, mobile devices are extremely difficult to use anonymously (essentially impossible for anyone not highly technical and obsessively diligent), not just iOS. Unless you take ridiculously obscene steps, google and others, like your ISP, are collecting massive amounts of data about everything you do online.
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post #51 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post


Unethical vs. Illegal: I agree that there is a big difference, and perhaps we can even agree that while acting within the confines of the law, they are acting unethical. I have a big problem with that, and it bothers me to no end that so many people ignore it. Beyond that, from a legal standpoint, google and their ilk are almost completely unregulated. They can change their policies at any time and people are stuck/screwed. They will keep their treasure troves of data secret for exactly as long as it benefits them more to do so than to sell or give it away. Oh, except when they are legally compelled to give it away. Let's hope that part doesn't get out of control.

I don't blame the web site owners nearly as much as the data miners, simply because they are mostly small-fry consumers of the services, stuck in the middle. Big players have their own systems in place. The small players need to have something to bring in some revenue, and for many of them they have no other feasible alternatives. Google, on the other hand, knows exactly what they're doing. On the other hand, I do put a lot of blame on the grocery stores and real-world retailers that sell their customer data to data mining companies like axciom. Those guys make me want to puke.

I'm sorry to say, your last point is just not true. Google (and other data miners - many are ethically worse, just not as good at what they do) are collecting data about you without regard to whether you have a google account or use ad blockers. Think about gmail. Hundreds of millions of people are sending google data about not only themselves, but about others they communicate with. How do you stop people from sending emails TO YOU with personal information? And yes, mobile devices are extremely difficult to use anonymously (essentially impossible for anyone not highly technical and obsessively diligent), not just iOS. Unless you take ridiculously obscene steps, google and others, like your ISP, are collecting massive amounts of data about everything you do online.

I think we agree on most everything. Welcome to the 21st century. There are people in third world countries who have no digital 'paper trail' whatsoever. They don't know anything but anonymity, but they long to be online and part of the global community. These are our times.

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post #52 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

Perhaps, but I still think your delusional conspiracy theory is ridiculous. I'm pretty sure that is not how Google works.

 

I seriously doubt Google ever sells your personal information. It is much more useful for them to keep it private. What Google sells is targeted advertising. Without a doubt they develop personal profiles when possible, but it does them no good to sell it to an advertiser who has no way to deliver ads on their own. The advertiser needs Google to deliver the ads based on their custom profile.

 

Google is not going to bother sending you a random ad when they can send you a targeted ad. If Google knows you are interested in a specific topic, they have a better chance of getting a click from you than if they sent you an ad that was completely irrelevant. In a way, you can think of targeted ads as a service. Ads are everywhere. Wouldn't you rather see ads about something you were interested in if you have to see ads anyway?

 

I was going to respond on a few items but blah64 seems to have done a good job at expressing my viewpoint.  Hardly delusional conspiracy theory, and you give way too much credit to google.  They are like samsung - pathetic, and I do my best to avoid giving them any of my data.  However, I got bitten when I bought a Nest thermostat and they suddenly became google, and they suddenly went from saying that they will run completely separately to now saying they can't promise that the data from my Nest won't be mined (straight from google).  So, as soon as I replace my heat pump this fall, bye bye Nest.  Just warning people about the future likelihood of google buying this company.

 

But one thing you said bothers me:  "Google is not going to bother sending you a random ad when they can send you a targeted ad."  The entire point of my post WAS targeted ads and not random ads.  Can't you see that?  Based on what the baby is doing or feeling, google can mine that data and 'target' me with ads related to what I may want to do for my baby.  This is BEYOND acceptable in my opinion!!  Completely wrong.  If it's too bright or loud in the room for the baby to sleep comfortably, I want the product to TELL ME the information and let ME assess what to do about it.  I swear to you, when google owns this company, the day that the stupid Sprouting tells me that it's too bright in my baby's room, I WILL get advertisements from STUPID OVERPRICED mini blind companies who will gladly send someone from 80 miles away to install mini blinds that I can install myself for 1/3 the price.  "Wouldn't I rather see ads about something I was interested in if I have to see ads anyway?"  NO.  ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

post #53 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

I think we agree on most everything. Welcome to the 21st century. There are people in third world countries who have no digital 'paper trail' whatsoever. They don't know anything but anonymity, but they long to be online and part of the global community. These are our times.

 

Wow, so justification for the likes of google is, 'Welcome to the 21st century'?!?!?  Very sad.  So, just roll over and take it, since it's the 21st century?!?!?  Unbelievable.  Reminds me of when Coach Bobby Knight got into trouble telling a reporter that when you are being raped and there is nothing you can do about it, you may as well relax and enjoy it.  Don't be a sheep.  Fight against it!!  Do what is right to fight unethical behavior.

post #54 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think we agree on most everything. Welcome to the 21st century. There are people in third world countries who have no digital 'paper trail' whatsoever. They don't know anything but anonymity, but they long to be online and part of the global community. These are our times.



It's an interesting point about third world countries with little access to online services. It makes me wonder if there's a natural path for cultures to go through, or whether they will learn from our mistakes as "leaders" in digital technology. Will they necessarily follow a path where all the early users go "Woo Hoo! We can put anything we want online!" and overshare more and more and more until they finally realize they've been taken for fools by big data mining and marketers? Or will they be able to learn from places that have already been there and pulled back from the edge to a more rational way of life (if/when we make it there!) where consumers are actually in control of their own personal data? Hopefully the latter, but it will be years before we find out. The problem is that entire categories of "free" services the data miners are providing these days are so addicting that it's really, really hard for people to let go of them. These are drugs, just like chemical drugs; they provide pleasure, but with consequences. That right there should tell people something, but I think most people are so deeply embedded and addicted, that it's too late for many.

If we more or less agree on most of this, that's cool. But I too, take a little issue with the "Welcome to the 21st century" notion. Mostly because it reminds me of Scott McNealy's quote "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." Made me so angry I wanted to punch him in the mouth every time I heard other people parrot his idiotic words. (No, I didn't have that feeling with you right now, but the comment vaguely reminds me of his). I do feel like as a society we're slowly pulling back from the edge, especially with all the various "private" communication apps and services that are popping up these days. The success that some of them are having gives me hope, but there's a long road ahead of us, and the Internet of Things is going to be a big challenge.

Anyway, the 21st century comment made me want to say this: As we move toward more and more data mining and surveillance, what I find is that the gap between basically selling your soul and handing over the keys to your brain for commercial purposes to everyone and everything, and living in a cave is growing smaller and smaller. As the reach and efficiency of these companies (and govt organizations) gets stronger and stronger, it's harder to avoid. Frankly, I don't want to live in a cave, and I don't want to whore myself out to companies that want to know every fricking detail of what I do and who I am. That's just evil and dehumanizing. The gap between these two modalities has become extremely difficult to navigate.
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post #55 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonMG View Post

 

Wow, so justification for the likes of google is, 'Welcome to the 21st century'?!?!?  Very sad.  So, just roll over and take it, since it's the 21st century?!?!?  Unbelievable.  Reminds me of when Coach Bobby Knight got into trouble telling a reporter that when you are being raped and there is nothing you can do about it, you may as well relax and enjoy it.  Don't be a sheep.  Fight against it!!  Do what is right to fight unethical behavior.



Thank you! Both for being a fighter and for pointing out the Bobby Knight quote. I'd long forgotten about that, but I think it illustrates perfectly what so many people are doing now. What's happening is vile and reprehensible, and most people are still just laying back and taking it even though they feel violated (social media firms are near the very bottom in "trustability" surveys, so people DO know better, they're just not rebelling in big numbers yet).

Knight's exact quote was: "I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it". Sick man. Just like McNealy.

Please keep spreading the word, and I see myself using this quote a lot in the future to illustrate the point. Thanks.
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post #56 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

Back on topic, I have at least 3 big problems with this product.

1) To jump onboard with a couple other folks here, I don't believe in data mining, especially for kids, and holy crap, now babies?!. As talented as many google employees are, they cannot guarantee that this data will be secure. Not now, and certainly not forever. They've already had their security broken by our government and by at least one foreign government. The amount of personal data they have is just too big a target to ever be considered "safe". How can you trust a relatively unknown company like this with personal, identifiable (believe me, it is), data that includes biometric and behavioral data?

2) How does this product send data outbound? WiFi? Bluetooth? Whatever it's doing is almost certain to use some kind of transmitter. Do you really want a transmitter essentially touching your infant?? Sure, we're all using cell phones, but, a) we're adults, b) we make the choice ourselves, and c) it took a long time to understand and quantify the levels at which those devices caused damage -- to adults! The allowed levels have changed a lot over the years. This is a big unknown with infants, who, as most of you should know, are far more susceptible to lots of materials and conditions than adults. EM hypersensitivity is unproven as of yet (though I know someone terribly affected), but higher doses of EM can be problematic for adults, so scale it down to an infant and consider whether you'd want to attach a WiFi transmitter to your baby's leg.

3) Again, others have mentioned this, but this product reeks of lazy parenting. Anything and everything that puts you in direct view/contact with your infant/baby/toddler/kid/teen is a plus. When you choose to have kids, it's life changing. You simply don't get to have long spells of uninterrupted time - and in general that's a good thing! You need to learn about your kids firsthand, not through some kind proxy parenting device.

Before closing, I do understand that there are special cases where a device like this could be of more value than the downsides listed above. Special needs kids, those with physical ailments, extended hospital stays, etc. I'm all for helping those families. But the sproutling picture of a parent sitting down eating a meal with their glasses of wine and the caption "Know if it's getting too loud." is just too much. If your baby is sleeping, and you want them to continue sleeping, be quiet! Good parenting requires direct contact: eyes-on baby, and vice-versa.

/rant off

Well you summed up nicely what I was saying in a long winded way. I have told a number of people who all have older kids now and they all said the same as you, learn about you kids first hand.

 

I do not know this as fact but I suspect Nest will be mining all this data, the question will be where will all this data or analysis of the data end up. You know researchers we love to get their hands on this kind of data on every aspect of a babies day. But is here is the rub on this, you pay Nest $200+ for the product and you get nothing in return, Normally if you are involved in a research study they pay you. My daughter participated in a research study for concussions and they gave her a fed ipod and paid her $200. 

 

Unlike google who give people a free email account in exchange to freely read your email, Nest is making you pay for the them to make money off your babies activities data.

post #57 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlevier View Post

I've got a 3 year old and I can honestly say that I don't wish I had this and if I have another one, I would not want this.  

You don't want your three year old? Poor soul!

😉
"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
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"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
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post #58 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Kids are pretty annoying, but I recognize that this is a cool product for those that have successfully bred and produced little monsters.

Indeed.

Children should be seen and not heard. If only parents still adhered to those wise words. Children being seen and heard is the one great failing of modern parenting.
"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
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"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
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post #59 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePieGuy View Post

Wow! You and the person you replied to are idiots. I can tell your parents wanted you guys to STFU all there time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Indeed.


Children should be seen and not heard. If only parents still adhered to those wise words. Children being seen and heard is the one great failing of modern parenting.

And I can tell you were one of those children whose parents let him be heard; we all have to suffer the consequences now.
"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
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"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
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post #60 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

And I can tell you were one of those children whose parents let him be heard; we all have to suffer the consequences now.

If this isn't the perfect PSA; calling on all parents to beat their children more, I don't know what is.
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post #61 of 68
I love all the "let your child become accustomed to uncomfortable environments, it will benefit them in the future...I'm a badass no nonsense parent" comments. That's silly. Look, a baby cries for two reasons: to communicate something it can't in words and just because. If one of those reasons happens to be that it gets hot in there around 11pm and you had no idea precious to this device then great! It may have saved you having to check on them dozens of nights. No harm in trying it. Stop trying to read too much into it. Your baby's sleeping habits are not being sent to the NSA nor does this make you a helicopter parent. From a scientific perspective, I think it's pretty cool.

iPod, iPad, iPad2, iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, AppleTV (1,2 & 3), 13" MacBook Pro, 24" Cinema Display, Time Capsule, 21.5" iMac (Mid 2011)

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iPod, iPad, iPad2, iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, AppleTV (1,2 & 3), 13" MacBook Pro, 24" Cinema Display, Time Capsule, 21.5" iMac (Mid 2011)

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post #62 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post


And I can tell you were one of those children whose parents let him be heard; we all have to suffer the consequences now.

Whatever...

 You made an idiotic statement that children should be squelched. People with that sort of attitude usually haven't had children, or they have a superiority complex. My guess towards you is just that. Maybe you won't try to be such a bully or dictator if you ever do have children. Regardless, their well being, their ability to grow and communicate will be in question knowing what a domineering parent you would probably be. 

 In the early 60's punishment was usually swift and straight to the point if you interrupted people/parents in conversation. Though my parents where never the dictator or domineering type as you seem to be.  We all knew when to speak, but were also encouraged to participate. Maybe you feel powerful and invigorated by bullying children. There has to be someone somewhere you can be above... It isn't near me - I assure you of that.  

 

If you make an idiotic statement and I feel like reminding you what an idiotic statement it is, then I will do just that. 

 

If mods want to delete my posts reminding you of you of the idiotic statement you made then so be it.

 

Are you feeling tough and domineering now? Any of you? If so -if you have the guts- and you are within a few hours drive of Notre Dame, let me know. PM is fine.  I will gladly come see you and personally explain all this to you. Just remember, I am not a little child that you can bully. Alternately, I am what it is in your nightmares relentlessly chasing you down.

     

Have a nice day 8^)

post #63 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I can see your point, it may be unethical, but it is not illegal, unlike selling your personal information is, as was alleged by the OP.

But let's put the blame where it really belongs, on the advertisers and the websites that host them. If the website owner does not put scripts in the page to allow tracking and the display of dynamic ads, Google would not have any way to track you or send you ads. Of course the funding for the websites comes from ads, so without them, the website might not exist.

Anyone who is concerned with what information Google is collecting about them is perfectly capable of preventing it with some simple steps such as never logging into Google services and using ad blockers like Ghostery. Unfortunately iOS devices do not permit ad blockers.


Blah, just wanted to put a perspective on your posts. You nearly always mention Google as a privacy offender tho rarely mention others by name. Kudos to you for mentioning Acxiom prominently this time. Now for the perspective.

What is Google's business model and what do they use profiles of you and me for? As far as I know the business model depends on ad revenue to support it's widely-used and extensive search products, and your anonymized "profile" serves to make Google a more valuable resource to advertisers, increasing returns to Google investors and allowing business expansion and research. I don't think directly selling personal information to third parties is any part of their business. It's almost entirely on-line ad placement. Selling what they know as a Google product would cause harm to their primary business would it not? Therefor it's likely treated like the crown jewels and never leaves their control.

What is the business model for Acxiom who you mentioned, and what purpose is served by the highly identifiable and personal information they collect? Is the sale of personal information including name, address, occupation, sexual preferences, relationship status, income, family dynamics, social interactions, and leisure activities a part of their business? If so why do you believe Google to be the most dangerous to your privacy, more so than big data-brokers such as Acxiom and the 100''s/1000's of companies like them flying under the radar?

Personally I don't really see anything fearsome about Google so far. The only thing they do with what they think they know about us personally is sell ad placement and views to the best of your knowledge and mine. Correct me if I'm wrong. (PS: Google gets several things wrong in my profile including even my age-range) So perhaps you're giving more weight to something that could potentially happen someday maybe, than to real and happening today privacy dangers? I would agree that there's a potential for misuse of information someday if things were to change really significantly at Google , but MY concerns today are with the real rather than imagined possible future.

One further question. There's no shortage of advice on how to avoid feeding Google. Perhaps you can offer advice on how to avoid feeding Acxiom, or companies like them.
Edited by Gatorguy - 8/10/14 at 10:51am
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post #64 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Blah, just wanted to put a perspective on your posts. You nearly always mention Google as a privacy offender tho rarely mention others by name. Kudos to you for mentioning Acxiom prominently this time. Now for the perspective.

What is Google's business model and what do they use profiles of you and me for? As far as I know the business model depends on ad revenue to support it's widely-used and extensive search products, and your anonymized "profile" serves to make Google a more valuable resource to advertisers, increasing returns to Google investors and allowing business expansion and research. I don't think directly selling personal information to third parties is any part of their business. It's almost entirely on-line ad placement. Selling what they know as a Google product would cause harm to their primary business would it not? Therefor it's likely treated like the crown jewels and never leaves their control.

What is the business model for Acxiom who you mentioned, and what purpose is served by the highly identifiable and personal information they collect? Is the sale of personal information including name, address, occupation, sexual preferences, relationship status, income, family dynamics, social interactions, and leisure activities a part of their business? If so why do you believe Google to be the most dangerous to your privacy, more so than big data-brokers such as Acxiom and the 100''s/1000's of companies like them flying under the radar?

Personally I don't really see anything fearsome about Google so far. The only thing they do with what they think they know about us personally is sell ad placement and views to the best of your knowledge and mine. Correct me if I'm wrong. (PS: Google gets several things wrong in my profile including even my age-range) So perhaps you're giving more weight to something that could potentially happen someday maybe, than to real and happening today privacy dangers? I would agree that there's a potential for misuse of information someday if things were to change really significantly at Google , but MY concerns today are with the real rather than imagined possible future.

One further question. There's no shortage of advice on how to avoid feeding Google. Perhaps you can offer advice on how to avoid feeding Acxiom, or companies like them.


I'm not really sure why I'm replying, but here goes...

I usually try to mention other companies or do like above, with "google and their ilk", because it's absolutely more than just google doing this crap. Acxiom is probably the worst of the non-online service providing data miners and google is probably the worst of the online service providing data miners (though facebook isn't far behind - they're just easier to avoid). Six vs a half dozen, no one gets a pass.

What's bothersome about your arguments, and why they are so weak, is that they are usually just like Daniel Mead's "all the kids do it" reply to the FCC. See: http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/08/08/fcc-chairman-slams-verizons-all-the-kids-do-it-defense-to-data-throttling

Just because other companies are attempting to do the same thing as google (though in almost all cases, far less effectively), doesn't excuse what they're doing. Full stop, read that sentence again until you can reply without the "everyone does it" nonsense. I don't feel bad about using google as a proxy for what's wrong across the world in terms of data mining, because they (and maybe facebook) are not only the most prominent, but the most prolific and effective at what they do.

Many years ago I had great respect for Google. During their early years the founders believed in providing great search results without tracking individual users. Larry and Sergey had a well-publicized argument about it at one point, and Sergey finally caved. That was one of a handful of key turning points in their history.

The company is no longer trustworthy for trustworthiness' sake. Look at the Safari fiasco as just one example. Look at the StreetView/WiFi fiasco as another. Google is a large multinational corporation, made up of tens of thousands of individuals, many of whom are flawed human beings. It's unavoidable. They are stewards of what is likely the biggest trove of personal tracking data in human history. There is no way on Earth to keep that safe indefinitely, and in fact we've seen several instances in recent years of security problems, even with the incredible resources they throw at security.

Your argument that you don't see anything fearsome about google SO FAR doesn't hold up, because the lifetime of that data is forever. It's not a matter of if google (management, workers, encryption technology, policies, legal issues, etc.) will change, it's only a matter of when. They're not as bad as facebook about changing policies every week, but remember, originally they didn't even want to use cookies to track users. Seems almost quaint now, no?

Advice on how to avoid Acxiom? It's difficult, though in some ways easier than google. Don't use plastic to make everyday purchases. Don't use (incredibly obnoxious) "loyalty cards". Don't ever, ever! give retailers your phone number when they ask, or even your zip code. Don't use facebook or other public social networking companies, etc. Yes, they have access to public records, so there are a few things you cannot avoid, like property ownership, but remember, google has access to that data as well.

I don't believe you're really interested in learning about why this kind of tracking is bad, but if you are, and for others reading this, I highly recommend reading "Dragnet Nation", by Julia Angwin. Great research, great information, though even she doesn't understand the deeper stuff because she doesn't understand the underlying technologies.
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post #65 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

I don't believe you're really interested in learning about why this kind of tracking is bad, but if you are, and for others reading this, I highly recommend reading "Dragnet Nation", by Julia Angwin. Great research, great information, though even she doesn't understand the deeper stuff because she doesn't understand the underlying technologies.

I'm very interested in the subject of privacy and not just on-line either. A recent event helped frame the importance of it as a matter of fact.

I completely agree with Angwin's conclusion. Burner phones, fake credit cards, anonymous e-mail and the like can't hide you. The only way to wrest back some semblance of control over our private lives is serious political action. It wouldn't even harm a company like Google if personal data-gathering were limited by strict law. Everyone would be on the same playing field if it was properly and fairly enacted, and advertisers ain't gonna stop advertising. Google would still get more than their fir share and their revenue stream would stay intact, just not as "personal". AI and other blog sites would still have an income source to support the costs and administration so the services could continue. On the surface it seems like it would be a no-brainer to do so wouldn't it? Pass international laws (not just US or EU) to restrict and limit the collection of personal data and ban on-line tracking entirely. Simple right?

You and I both know it won't happen, and it's not the Google's, Facebook's and Twitter's that would make it impossible. You seem to surprisingly focus on the little picture as tho companies like Google are the bad-guys and are the ones to make it all better if only they would. They "and their ilk" are the source of all anti-privacy evil so to speak. So take away their ability to track and data-mine users along with everyone else's legal right to do so too, (Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, Verizon, ATT and everyone else), and they still survive just fine IMHO. But start treading on government agencies turf, or financial institutions, or even university researchers with the best of intentions and any efforts to rein in the data-mongers are dead before they start. That's where the REAL stonewall is.

There was a recent story about a European effort to make researchers more effective in their work. Using sensors and tech that allows a person's physical status and state-of-mind to be determined they think learning opportunities could be more effectively designed, targeted and delivered for you specifically. If you aren't emotionally and/or physically prepared to understand a data-set as presented it gets modified so as to be more useful to you individually. Sounds like a noble goal doesn't it and one that could see parts transition to public education if proven effective. Do you see any dangers in admirable programs like this, or a likelihood that the same EU funding the project would put legal limits on it?

http://ceeds-project.eu/ceeds-objectives/aboutceeds/

Much as you want to stare at Google, or Facebook or Acxiom that's not where the source of the problem lies nor where it can be corrected, and the ones that can fix it have no interest in really doing so IMO. They may not even recognize where the problem really resides.

It matters not if Google collects personal data to deliver ads. It's entirely fixable and Google can still go on offering an incredible search engine if our government representatives really made a fair honest and comprehensive effort to give us back privacy rights. But Google themselves can't fix it no matter what they do. So what do you suggest and how would you proceed if you were king? Honest question.
Edited by Gatorguy - 8/11/14 at 11:26am
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post #66 of 68
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Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonMG View Post
 

 

Wow, so justification for the likes of google is, 'Welcome to the 21st century'?!?!?  Very sad.  So, just roll over and take it, since it's the 21st century?!?!?  Unbelievable.  Reminds me of when Coach Bobby Knight got into trouble telling a reporter that when you are being raped and there is nothing you can do about it, you may as well relax and enjoy it.  Don't be a sheep.  Fight against it!!  Do what is right to fight unethical behavior.



Thank you! Both for being a fighter and for pointing out the Bobby Knight quote. I'd long forgotten about that, but I think it illustrates perfectly what so many people are doing now. What's happening is vile and reprehensible, and most people are still just laying back and taking it even though they feel violated (social media firms are near the very bottom in "trustability" surveys, so people DO know better, they're just not rebelling in big numbers yet).

Knight's exact quote was: "I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it". Sick man. Just like McNealy.

Please keep spreading the word, and I see myself using this quote a lot in the future to illustrate the point. Thanks.

 

Sorry for my delayed response.  You're very welcome, Blah64.  I agree with you - the Knight quote IS the perfect illustration for this.  We definitely think a lot a like.  And mstone, you made very good points as well, and I don't want to minimize them.  But if we don't get angry about what is happening, our children and our children's children will suffer for it.  I truly hate how google's stock continues to rise based on unethical behavior, not to mention the fact that they blow money and completely idiotic purchased and are rewarded with increased stock price as well.  Unbelievable, and definitely a problem that needs to be solved.

post #67 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonMG View Post

Sorry for my delayed response.  You're very welcome, Blah64.  I agree with you - the Knight quote IS the perfect illustration for this.  We definitely think a lot a like.  And mstone, you made very good points as well, and I don't want to minimize them.  But if we don't get angry about what is happening, our children and our children's children will suffer for it.  I truly hate how google's stock continues to rise based on unethical behavior, not to mention the fact that they blow money and completely idiotic purchased and are rewarded with increased stock price as well.  Unbelievable, and definitely a problem that needs to be solved.

While dislike of Google is absolutely OK, and they've invited much of the criticism, how does Google's stock price cause our children to suffer and why does something need to be done about it? If instead you really meant something should be done about on-line data-mining I'll absolutely agree with you. Don't stop with Google either (because you couldn't legally anyway) but make sure it applies to everyone whether Apple, or Facebook or ATT. Not just US either, make it International Law. Put everyone on the same playing field. For an expanded take see my previous post #65.

If done fairly and comprehensively it won't hurt companies like Google or Yahoo or websites like AI or ArsTechnica at all and we still get to use their excellent services without worries over what might happen with our data in the future. Problem solved right?
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post #68 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post



I'm very interested in the subject of privacy and not just on-line either. A recent event helped frame the importance of it as a matter of fact.


I completely agree with Angwin's conclusion. Burner phones, fake credit cards, anonymous e-mail and the like can't hide you. The only way to wrest back some semblance of control over our private lives is serious political action. It wouldn't even harm a company like Google if personal data-gathering were limited by strict law. Everyone would be on the same playing field if it was properly and fairly enacted, and advertisers ain't gonna stop advertising. Google would still get more than their fir share and their revenue stream would stay intact, just not as "personal". AI and other blog sites would still have an income source to support the costs and administration so the services could continue. On the surface it seems like it would be a no-brainer to do so wouldn't it? Pass international laws (not just US or EU) to restrict and limit the collection of personal data and ban on-line tracking entirely. Simple right?


You and I both know it won't happen, and it's not the Google's, Facebook's and Twitter's that would make it impossible. You seem to surprisingly focus on the little picture as tho companies like Google are the bad-guys and are the ones to make it all better if only they would. They "and their ilk" are the source of all anti-privacy evil so to speak. So take away their ability to track and data-mine users along with everyone else's legal right to do so too, (Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, Verizon, ATT and everyone else), and they still survive just fine IMHO. But start treading on government agencies turf, or financial institutions, or even university researchers with the best of intentions and any efforts to rein in the data-mongers are dead before they start. That's where the REAL stonewall is.

There was a recent story about a European effort to make researchers more effective in their work. Using sensors and tech that allows a person's physical status and state-of-mind to be determined they think learning opportunities could be more effectively designed, targeted and delivered for you specifically. If you aren't emotionally and/or physically prepared to understand a data-set as presented it gets modified so as to be more useful to you individually. Sounds like a noble goal doesn't it and one that could see parts transition to public education if proven effective. Do you see any dangers in admirable programs like this, or a likelihood that the same EU funding the project would put legal limits on it?


http://ceeds-project.eu/ceeds-objectives/aboutceeds/


Much as you want to stare at Google, or Facebook or Acxiom that's not where the source of the problem lies nor where it can be corrected, and the ones that can fix it have no interest in really doing so IMO. They may not even recognize where the problem really resides.


It matters not if Google collects personal data to deliver ads. It's entirely fixable and Google can still go on offering an incredible search engine if our government representatives really made a fair honest and comprehensive effort to give us back privacy rights. But Google themselves can't fix it no matter what they do. So what do you suggest and how would you proceed if you were king? Honest question.


I agree with some bits of this, though not all of it. You are right that without legal restrictions, google and all the other data miners simply will not change their behavior. However, this does not justify their behavior! The problems with simply taking that tack alone are (at least) twofold:

1) These companies, and there are many of them, have HUGE $ behind them, with huge lobbying efforts. Extremely difficult to overcome.

2) Who wants this data just as much as the commercial organizations? Oh yeah, various govt organizations. And they have their own inside pathways to lobby against restrictive legislation.

Europe is a different situation, and I believe that we will continue to see leadership in these matters from overseas, at least for the foreseeable future. Hopefully those changes will slowly migrate here to the US. (Although the "right to be forgotten" notion is so unworkable as to be borderline stupidity -- as much as I appreciate the overall goals)

So how does the "problem" get fixed? Education. People -- everyday people -- need to understand that everything they do online, given the current laws, policies and behaviors, is tracked. They need to understand that there is a dark and non-beneficial side to said tracking.

Right now, most people have become addicted to services that are wedded to tracking, be it behavioral, location, purchases, whatever -- online or offline (paying with plastic, RFID tags in cars, etc.). There are few alternatives, in most people's minds, to facebook, even though according to most surveys, their user base doesn't trust or even like the company. That's a fragile system, and I definitely wouldn't be a long-term investor in facebook stock, even though it may have a few more upswings remaining.

The only way this changes is if or when the average Joes around the world become educated about the depth of tracking that's happening, care enough to change, and have alternatives that work well enough for them without 3rd party tracking. When enough people care, that will be the catalyst that forces legislative changes, which, as you suggest, is the only hope for real, meaningful changes to companies like google. They simply have too much riding on being able to track their users. And as was mentioned earlier, 3rd world nations are barely entering the pathways that we have been on for the past few years. US companies will be able to take advantage of less-sophisticated markets long after we have made changes here.

It matters not if Google collects personal data to deliver ads. It's entirely fixable and Google can still go on offering an incredible search engine if our government representatives really made a fair honest and comprehensive effort to give us back privacy rights.


It really does matter -- to them. Sure, they can continue to offer the same outstanding search engine, but they cannot generate the same level of revenue without tracking, and the more detailed, the more revenue, so they are hugely vested in getting deeper and deeper inside people's minds and behavior patterns.

If I was king? Ha. I would enact laws that completely disallow storing or analyzing any data on individuals that they did not publicly post themselves in their own name (i.e. public blogs). I would look to create and entrench standards (like Levison is attempting with Dime) that makes it impossible for centralized services to have access to data that is not intended for them, but to pass through to others. There would likely be no such thing as "free" email, because as we all know, there is no such thing, and if you took away the ability for google/yahoo/microsoft and the rest of the gang to analyze every email, there's a good chance they would no longer offer those kinds of services without fees. Or they would change radically.

At the very, very least, I would make it illegal to create profiles of users who did not actively and intentionally sign up for services (shadow profiles). This is the most egregious of all the tracking crap. I would make the penalties for this particular practice so painful that companies would tremble with fear. If you're caught with this kind of data, anyone that authorized it goes to jail for many years.

For the most part, we would enter a pay-for-play world. Sure, you could argue that some of our poorest citizens can't afford to pay for things like email, but I disagree. Most ISPs provide multiple emails with their paid internet services already, and many of our poor, less-educated citizens are the ones that are preyed upon the most heavily by these companies. I'm virtually unswayed by advertising, targeted or not, but the less educated you are, the more you can be swayed. Everyone is paying one way or another, but when you pay real money for services, there is far greater transparency.

Speaking of transparency, I would be happy to allow companies that actually provide end-user services (goog/fb) to continue on with modifications to their business practices, but the pure data miners, like axciom, would be shut down outright in "my kingdom".

re: education. Studies, training, learning tools, and all that, have a complex set of issues to deal with. I need to stop typing now, but in a nutshell, the individual/personal data in most cases should not leave the local devices. Anything that does leave the local devices should be legally required to be anonymized such that it's impossible to be attached back to any individual. This is stuff I've spent a long time thinking about and working with others to change policies on, and it's really challenging stuff.

Sure, there are holes all over the above off-the-cuff stream-of-consciousness ideas, and the devil's in the details. But it would take a long time to craft real policies, and for better or worse, I have real-world work to do...
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