One issue that really struck me this week was data mining. I did not realize that there were private companies doing data mining and collecting information on private citizens. That bothered me more than if it was just the government doing it because at least that is something that is not such a far fetched activity for the government whether it is legal or not. But the fact that there are private companies making logs of where I go on the internet, what I like to buy, etc is really unsettling. The internet creates a false sense of anonymity and reading the text and watching the video made me realize just how much of a trace I am leaving without even realizing it. I know some of it is supposed to make things easier for consumers like by keeping a record of what you buy the store can suggest things you may like but I don’t really find that to be that helpful especially when amazon sends me emails telling about new releases for obscure things.
I started to wonder what kind of things people could find out about me on the internet with my minimal skills. I found out a lot of stuff that I did on the internet just by typing in old email address, log-in names etc. It was crazy the amount of stuff I could find and for how far back. I could trace posts that I made on blogs and forums under a particular name. I even found pictures that I had uploaded on forums that I was not even a member of. I’d never thought before this week to google user names because I figured it did not matter because no one knows who I am, but that really isn’t the case. For one, in some places my email address was visible and in other places my name. If someone happened to find out one of my personal email addresses, they could google and find all of this stuff about me and get a really odd picture of what my interests are. The fact that anyone could read comments left by me is odd since taken out of context they could seem crazy.
During the video, they were asking people on the street about the monitoring that was going on and a lady said it didn’t bother her because she had nothing to hide. But, it really isn’t about that really. It is about principle and about choice. You should be able to chose what sort of information to reveal about yourself. One’s purchasing habits should not be so easily accessible. Do you think that data mining is a serious fringe on personal rights? Does it bother you that it is used for commercial profit? Also would after reading the text, watching the video and listening to presentations about e-monitoring affect the way you conduct yourself on the internet in the future?