Paranoid Technology All things cybersecurity

15Feb/17Off

Who has my Data and Why?



Decided to dedicate this entry on how personal information is collected by everyday services we use and how it could impact our lives…

Security professionals quite often find themselves explaining how to protect one’s privacy, but the response is usually one of the following:

  • I have nothing to hide
  • This sounds like a conspiracy theory
  • Glazed eyes

People are focused on the menial conveniences they receive using these free applications in exchange for data… In technology if something is free – never forget – you are the product!!  Even applications and devices we pay for are disrespectfully collecting information in the name of customizing our experience. There is a massive information gathering wars between:

Social Networks – Advertising, Customizing the experience, contacts, relationships, mood, political tendencies, behavioral patterns, locations visited, messages sent, pictures / videos shared, likes…

Cloud Application Providers

  • E-Mail Service Providers – Advertising, other unclear data mining activities, file attachments
  • Collaboration Applications

Utilities

  • Cable Networks – Ratings, Content consumption habits
  • Power Networks – Smart meters – device electrical signatures; appliance usage patterns, wake up, sleep times, with smart appliances this will become extremely accurate. Why would a power company need to know all this? To make the power-grid more efficient of course… 😉 Hopefully with solar usage increasing we will see this die down…
  • ISPs – Your usage stats - If your ISP is your Cable provider the correlation between your Internet and TV consumption.
  • Wireless Providers – Your location at all times; creating patterns on the places you visit, your call history, types of applications you use; how much you use them…. Contacts.

Wearables / IoT

  • Surveillance Cameras – record us at any point in time unbeknownst to us
  • Wearables – exercise patterns, sleep patterns, health patterns

Phone Makers

  • Your location at all times; creating patterns on the places you visit, your call history, types of applications you use; how much you use them….
  • Your search history
  • Website Visits
  • Cloud services – our photos, e-mails, contacts, etc…

OS Vendors

  • Biometrics, voice recognition
  • Via cloud integration files; pictures, documents, music, videos, source code, contacts, e-mail, browser data…
  • Behavioral patterns, usage patterns

Governments – as they sit at the egress points governments in order to protect us indiscriminately collect all electronic transmissions and store them; whether constitutional or not this seemingly is the least worrisome given the landscape above…  Or is it?

Look at the combination of data outlined above, all this data is collected in databases sold on the market and aggregated by data companies and sold later to the highest bidder… Don’t be shocked if one day your wearable fitness computer vendor or your smart fridge vendor disclosing your health stats or your eating habits to your insurance provider make your healthcare premiums to go up or even cause denial of insurance.

The takeaway is we are all being watched by some software algorithm – be selective on who you share your data with understand how the latest gadget you purchased or the hippest cloud vendor you signed up with protects your privacy, read the user agreement understand the terms and conditions don’t become a statistic… Remember what they tell to little children “stranger danger” – this day in age it is “tech vendor danger”, know who has your data and for what reason before you give it up…

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