Isn’t it legal to collect data online?
If user data is collected for marketing purposes, it may not be against the law. People themselves accept these terms when they sign a user agreement when installing a program or app, says Alexei Malanov. And according to Vyacheslav Medvedev, many apps request more than what is required for their work.
“If you get something for free, you will still pay for it. This is an axiom. If the programs for smartphones are free, then companies have to make money on something. Including the sale of your data,” reminds Medvedev. – Plus, companies are interested in statistics on the use of their functionality – where, when, under what conditions”.
Online tracking: who does it and why
We have two news: the good news is that we will all soon be living like a movie; the bad news is that this movie will be very much like the Matrix. What the fantasts have warned us about is beginning to come true: artificial intelligence is becoming smarter and is about to conclude that a society that is obsessed with cats has no right to live. And we ourselves open the doors to our consciousness.
It’s like a deal with the devil: getting smartphones that give you the opportunity to learn about the world almost everything at any time, people in exchange gave full access to their lives. Moving and negotiating, shopping and photos, personal contacts and lists of friends, correspondence and searches – never before has a person left as many traces as in the XXI century, when the Internet from a zone of complete anonymity has become a space of constant data collection about everyone.
“It is enough to install an application with an advertising module, and it will be able to leak data to third parties, – confirms the anti-virus expert of “Kaspersky Lab” Victor Chebyshev. – In addition, there are spyware programs that include a microphone when the smartphone is in the right location – at the beginning of the year, we found such a feature in the Trojan Skygofree.
So no “Ok, Google” or “Hello, Siri” – they already here, listen and obey, but not us.
Are we being followed online?
“Communication in the world of social media is an excellent source for collecting intelligence, identifying public sentiments, calculating behavioral patterns and predictability of actions” – this is the platform developed by IIT. So far, the use of a smart center has been used by the intelligence bureau and the Mumbai police, on an experimental basis, to verify security issues.
In developing the platform, the task was to protect the country’s most important assets, such as airports, nuclear and aerospace installations, by monitoring Twitter, FaceBook and YouTube. A special group of CISF agents was created and trained to track trends, news, reports and indicators on the Web.
It is their responsibility to check and analyze all suspicious activity in social networks and plan a list of further actions based on this data. To identify the prerequisites for a subversive threat and the infliction of any potential harm. If necessary, coordinate the actions of armed cover and security groups.
This unique platform also has the potential to prevent suicides. Suicidal behavioral tendencies are detected in social networks and assessments of posts are made. On the basis of these indicators, a set of measures necessary to prevent a tragedy is developed.
After the reports about the development of platforms such as IT Delhi, the answer to the question: “Is tracking on the network a reality or a myth? With the security systems of different countries, surveillance is a mandatory tool and is used everywhere. In addition, advanced companies selling goods and services are studying the activity in the Network. Marketers, spies, identifying our preferences, and do not forget about attackers.
Are banks following us?
In the words of Vyacheslav Medvedev, an expert in the field of personal data protection “Doctor Web”, banks monitor their customers, but do it to prevent theft of money – to distinguish fraudulent transfers from ordinary ones. Often it is a question of collecting transfer statistics. “Some banks use open sources, “look through” profiles in social networks in order to assess the reliability of the borrower, but this is more an “analysis” than a surveillance,” – adds Alexei Malanov.
How to minimize data collection about you?
There is no protection against data collection, but it can be minimized. Experts offer such solutions:
- To use “Incognito Mode” in Google Chrome or private viewing with “Tracking Protection” in Mozilla Firefox.
- Set add-ons in browsers, such as Adblock or NoScript, that block data collection.
- Don’t update the operating system to reduce the risk of new programs that monitor activity under the guise of updates.
- Set antivirus that can protect against illegal data collection by fraudsters. There are also apps that block pop-up banners.
- Do not login to a search engine, such as Yandex or Google.
How and why companies calculate my location
This is the liveliest story (not ours) – it is related to the analysis of wai-fi. In all shopping malls, when a person comes, he or she connects to the wi-fi, so his or her mac address is tracked – we can understand how the person moved. This is a very specific such dark matter, because it’s like the hardware vendors have introduced new protocols that prevent this kind of tracking, and it’s like Apple hasn’t implemented this protocol very well, and it’s still possible to really get these mac-addresses – respectively, to track how a person has moved.
How my location allows me to calculate my salary
And then, conditionally, this shopping center “Metropolis”, in which this system stands, shares the data with the conditional “intro-analyst” (conditionally, the operator of all these data in the subway). And we can understand at which station you have landed, which station you have left. Accordingly, collecting data about you for a few days, you can understand where you live, where you work – for almost everyone: what is closer – work, what is next – is home. Accordingly, it is possible to understand whether you live near Metropolis or not, how often you move. In general, by the time a person enters and leaves the subway you can understand his or her style of behavior – a worker, a student, a visitor, a mom with children … Well, there are statistical dependencies. And, accordingly, specifying this sample, we can understand where the person works. Plus, we can also add his photos from social networks.
Then, as soon as we understand where he works, we can understand approximately his position by some parameters; accordingly, then we can compare it with “Headhunter”, “Superjob” and understand the average salary for this place, for this position. In this way, knowledge is gained accordingly.
I: – Offer him credit on certain conditions.
А. J.: – Yes, yes. Then he will go to some country, he will be slaughtered there somewhere, he will be photographed in the same “Facebook” – “I am from Sheremetyevo flying to Panama”. You can look through “Skyscanner”, how much tickets on this date cost by the number of people’s requests to their destination, how much a hotel costs – and, accordingly, to understand how much people spend on vacation, how often they travel, what free funds they have and, in fact, on the basis of this to make predictions and so on.
I: – Sell commercial products, banking products.
А. X: – Yes. Either a bank product, or financial management, or a tax product, because an individual entrepreneur’s card is tied to a legal entity, and he lets in taxes for, say, 100 thousand, and then bought a new car. Here. There is such a car, too.
How artificial intelligence “reads” our photos in social networks and what conclusions it draws
I: – I put a photo in Instagram. It shows me, say, on the background of a car, near some house, I am dressed in certain clothes. How do these artificial algorithms begin to look at me and what do they begin to understand?
А. X.: – Okay, we went to the page and collected this photo. The first thing that is done is to highlight your face in order to understand whether you are or are not you, whether it is your account. Maybe it was someone else who took the photo or you took a photo of someone. The next step is actually a “grid” for pattern recognition (computer vision). Our task is to understand what is in the photo? It is impossible to understand a large number of things. We need to understand the car, color, make, and, accordingly, recognize the license plate number. You can understand the color of your top and bottom clothes; perhaps, the style; perhaps, with an accuracy of 70-80% hairstyle. Somehow. If a person did it, the color of the eyes may be determined.
I: – And the hairstyle, how can we use it?
А. X: – Well, the length of the hair… Oh, you know, “beaty” brands are crazy about it. Some shampoos are sold to certain women, with certain hair color.
I: – Can you tell the name of the champagne brand on the table?
А. X: – Yes. You can define not only the brand of champagne. You can define what kind of alcohol it is. In other words, a glass of wine can be defined. If there is no bottle, the brand can’t be defined. But for most alcohol bottles are specific – there, “Jack Daniels” with a certain form … and so on. From the images, you can understand what it was like and make a sample of what people drink. There are a lot of commercial clients who ask to find people who like to have a party at home with Coca-Cola and Jack Daniels, for example; and then do something with them. Something like that.
Then there is a person brand gives a gift. He thinks: “Oh, how cool! I was randomly chosen”! In fact, all this was not accidental. His potential to attract new audiences, connections, speed of content distribution, 50 different metrics was evaluated.
Why to take pictures with other people’s cars is bad
I.: – A girl with an expensive classic car.
A. X: – With an expensive classic car, which has no license plate. Most likely, the model of the car can be recognized. However, it is clearly visible here – there are algorithms, which recognize the horizon by the floor. In other words, the car is clearly above the floor, i.e. it will get into the exhibited ones, plus there is no license plate number, plus it is most likely the only photo with this car, and most likely the same car is in other photos in this geolocation, so it will not be recognized as such. I see that you can see from the background what this country is, because it is a specific language. I understand that this is some kind of Czech Republic, no? Platza de Skopice… Well, it’s something. From the text, from the linguistics you can understand what kind of country it is, if there is no geometry. Everything, it is impossible to say more about a person, except for clothes and so on.
But this, again, the rest of such, conditionally urban type, a tourist who loves to travel. Somehow so. In fact, people who are photographed in this way with expensive gifts, with expensive cars, they always underestimate the level of income. I do not know why, but statistically, as a rule, this is what happens.
I: – Next. “Instagram”.
How a person’s likes make sense of him
A. X.: – The most important story is probably the content that a person consumes. These are likes. Everyone now thinks that no one can see them. And this is really true, and you can’t get likes of a particular user by any technical method without collecting all the content that is on a social network. To solve this particular problem, some highly specialized content is enough – for example, you will take and collect all the porn in “Vkontakte”, the largest porn tracker and, accordingly, look who liked it (and for “Vk” it’s about every eighth user likes porn – we still do not understand why).
Accordingly, then on the basis of this it is possible to conditionally segment all people, let’s say, by interests.
Two or three years ago we were doing such a study with Life when there was a United Russia primaries, and they obliged all the guys who are going to go to United Russia (4400 candidates)… Somewhere in the 600 of them have submitted their accounts in social networks – we saw what kind of porn they barking. It was very funny there: about 70-75 people got caught up in such unpleasant activity – someone from Navalny Lycal, someone from Rospol, someone from child pornography. In general, it was funny.
All of this leads to what we are trying to explain to users: whatever you do, all of this will fall into the public domain. Because right now people don’t understand that what is said in the public domain is really in the public domain, and there’s no way you can erase it, no way you can get rid of it.
I: – So people think they talk about themselves in the profile on their social network, but you can learn more from the way they bark? If the fortune teller used to guess by hand, now you take, analyze the likes and get an analysis of preferences.
А. X: – Yes, you can understand anything by the content you use. Who is this person: a housewife, a mother with a child, what are her interests in general? And the most important thing is that from the business point of view, based on this you can make a forecast: what kind of product will a person buy in a week, month, six months, year. Here, we have a man, he just had a child, we know that he has a car – we immediately offer him a child seat. Yes, or it, for example, a young girl who went to, say, the site of the online store, she was identified, we know all her photos for the last five years in “Instagram”, what color outer and underwear she was wearing, in what weather, in what emotional color and so on – and. actually, we offer her the ideal option.