I am more or less clean — I wash my hands regularly, bathe regularly, I stay safe, … whether I do so more or less than the average human, I don’t know.
Yet I do go above and beyond what ordinary folks do on a regular basis. Ordinary folks do not normally take measures to protect their privacy. Ordinary folks do not worry much about manipulation. Ordinary folks can quite easily become suckers.
A while ago, I watched part one of a five part series called “All Hail the Algorithm” [ interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2019/hail-algorithms ] — well over a year ago, in fact. Just the other day, I watched it again … and I decided to check out the other four episodes. There are many recurring themes interwoven throughout the series, but each episode nonetheless comparmentalizes a single story. I find it very well done, even if I find the way Ali Rae (the narrator of the quasi-documentary) addresses the camera in a “selfie” manner while walking along (but at least not stumbling or falling down) a little distracting. To me, it’s quite obvious that this is done in order to sympathise with a particular target audience (which is probably important for selling advertising services).
One of the recurring themes is the notion of “data exhaust” — and this is a sort-of jargon term used to describe the way the people I refer to above as “suckers” above are prone to get sucked in to some kind of propaganda scheme.
The myth goes something like this: Humans reek of data. When someone sees a human, all of this data emerges from their appearance, and in order to protect their privacy, they would need to be sealed off from the external world in order for all the data to not leak out into the surrounding environment.
Very few people are able to recognize that this is simply naive — almost ridiculously naive — and in any case, it’s simply wrong. I can get piece of paper and a pen (or pencil or whatever) and simply jot down notes of my own choosing. I can call the day sunny or rainy, I can note that someone seems to be young or old, I can refer to them with some sort of “racist” and / or “sexist” terms. These are my choices, not anyone else’s. We are all free to take down notes.
Whether anyone likes or dislikes someone else’s notes is a completely different matter. I don’t want some big brother company to sell me bullshit based on whatever “pigeon hole” category they have decided to put me in. So I GTFO of being anywhere near companies like that.
End of story.