Monday, December 2, 2013

Share At Your Own Risk

A lot has been made of the role of privacy in today's society. The general sentiment, long story short, is that most people don't think that the government- the NSA in particular- ought to have the kind of blanket access to online communication that it has. That drones shouldn't be up in the air monitoring our every move, much less delivering things for That people should be able to go about their lives without fretting that someone from the government- or even someone else's government- may be looking at it at some point down the road.

Valid concerns all, to be sure.

Except that to a large degree, we've gleefully handed over the information ourselves. Nor does it require the government to get hold of it.

Meet comedian Jack Vale of Roseville, California. Now, most of Vale's humor involves fart jokes in some way, and his style of humor is the kind of thing that tends to get him banned from places. But we're not worrying about that. What we're concerning ourselves with is his recent 'social media experiment'. What Vale did was, he staked out various spots in the Los Angeles area. From that spot, he ran a search for recent posts geo-tagged to locations near his (meaning, whoever had made that post was still in the area). He picked out someone, then searched their various social-media platforms to see what he could find out about them just from what they themselves had made publicly available. Then he tried to find his targets, which as you can see was quite often accomplished.

Vale found out a rather substantial amount, as you will see.

(Vale also posted a reveal video, viewable here.)

So, sure, perhaps the government shouldn't get as much of a free hand as they might like. But when any random person can look up your social-media posts, come up to you on the street and tell you so much about yourself that you start getting jittery about your privacy... maybe the government isn't the real issue here.

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