You Are Not An Individual, You Are A Data Cluster

The alternate reality game tie in app Digital Shadow is an app that you use by logging in via your Facebook and give it permission to access your profile.  The app then builds a profile on you based on your data as if you are a target for an assassination or kidnapping.
First the app views photos you are tagged in or have posted to your page and gives a percent accuracy for how easy it would be to recognize you again.  Then it goes through your friends list and tells you which of your connections are a liability that can be used to gain leverage on you or who are frenemies that can be used against you.  Next it builds a personality profile based on words you have used in recent posts, to show how you can be manipulated.  Then it shows your post history and when you are most active on your Facebook profile.  Then it shows the percent possibility of where you live based on where you post from the most.  Finally it shows based on yours and your family’s net worth your value as a target.

All in all pretty creepy for just a game tie in app.  There is no doubt in my mind that there is a better, more powerful version of this running on a mainframe in one alphabet agencies headquarters or another.  Based on what Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning have revealed about the size and scope of the spying apparatus in this country it is naive, and frankly dangerous, to think otherwise.

What this reveals is that online privacy is an oxymoron.  It is like unicorns, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, it doesn’t exist.  You don’t hear it on the news or people shouting it from the hills because there is much money to be made from it.  Not only could your digital shadow be used to do something bad to you, like kidnap or assassinate you, it IS being used to build profile for advertisers and marketers to shill you crap you don’t need and it IS being monitored for keyword to make sure you don’t step too far out of line.


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