Paranoid Technology All things cybersecurity

1Feb/17Off

Digital-Fog; Deceptive Personal Defenses and more…



We live in interesting times, times of transition in every aspect of our lives. Technology is improving non-stop; pushed down our throats sometimes willingly in the case of smartphones, and sometimes not; in the case of smart meters…. We as consumers are under siege by corporations for the data we generate rather they help us generate… And the interesting thing is we pay to give them our information in exchange of convenience and nobody seems to care… This is because for the untrained the lines are extremely fuzzy on how all this works, how it affects our privacy, and ultimately our freedoms.

All of us are on some sort of list and these lists are being bought sold by big businesses and governments for profit, influence and control and of course also to deliver the best personalized service – there is an information asymmetry in the favor of the institutions; these institutions know more about us then we know about ourselves. Data is cash and power...

They have an advantage over influencing our decisions and imposing their will affecting our lives; this is all done using big-data. Big-data looks at patterns and predicts the future from the past, for the privacy conscious this is quite disturbing. What is one to do?

Enter digital-fog – it is effectively a personal disinformation campaign to confuse the list keepers – do you remember Microsoft’s AI experiment Tay? Tay was an artificial intelligence chatter-bot that was originally released by Microsoft Corporation via Twitter on March 23, 2016; it caused subsequent controversy when members of 4chan's "/pol/" (politically incorrect) board hijacked the service and used it to post inflammatory and offensive tweets through its Twitter account, forcing Microsoft to shut down the service only 16 hours after its launch (Source Wikipedia)

Obviously there was a concerted effort to prove a point; essentially creating digital-fog to skew the learning abilities of an AI algorithm - you may ask what is that have to do with protecting my privacy:

You can create digital-fog to defend your privacy, to some extent governments and corporations may deem this dishonest. Engaging in digital-fog as an individual you may be protecting your privacy, but also it could have life altering consequences – for example where your friends are getting loans and discounts the digital-fog you created may cost you the house loan you needed… So use it sparingly... 😉 If only a few individuals engaged in this activity it would probably be counterproductive for them, if more of the society were to engage in creating digital-fog it would be more effective.

See this like the TOR network when the number of nodes are too little than the network is ineffective, when you increase the number of TOR relays and exit nodes the network becomes more secure; through numbers.

Until people become more aware what is being done with their data, the market will not change its behavior and it will do everything in its power to maintain its advantage.

You may say I have nothing to hide – this has nothing to do with having something to hide or a call for rebellion against the system – it is all about preserving the way of life we all so value…

Maybe knowing about one individual is insignificant, but collectively knowing about a large portion of a local or a global society is definitely power, power to influence, power to manufacture consent. By providing information about ourselves freely we become our worst enemy – and in the individualistic societies we live in this proves to be a very interesting social problem – individuals vs. entities that collect data about them  - and their exposure to manipulative tactics [of entities] for influencing decisions – whatever the desired outcome maybe…

To all the Nay-Sayers out there…. Let’s take a different perspective… What if you treated your personal information like your right to vote? Every careless decision you make to share your personal information will ultimately impact our and our descendant’s quality of life and freedoms. Given this context would you still treat your personal information the same?

For the time being this information is used for seemingly benign commercial purposes… It would not be too farfetched to assume in the very near future this information can be utilized by private security companies to deliver whatever they need to deliver. According to the experts there are 1.4 million indicators to qualify to get on the U.S. Kill-List; imagine the possibilities with this kind of information….

Digital-Fog: is a term we came up with for creating cover within the cyberspace to deflect data hoarders and protect your privacy; the term is inspired from smoke-screen that is used to mask movement.

This article only focused on creating awareness, in the upcoming blogs we will talk more on tactical details.

 

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