Thursday, December 8, 2011

Naked Online


Every morning, when I go downstairs to perform that cherished ritual called ‘taking a bath’, I never miss on 2 things: lock the bathroom door and close the bathroom windows. You can say that I have a thing for privacy.

I look around for thieving maniacs before I press my PIN at the ATM. I defend it like a fat boy fights for ice cream, cake and ice cream cake.

Imagine my consternation when I recently read online, ‘Your Smartphone is Spying on You’.

Ever heard of Carrier IQ? It’s an application running in most Nokia, Android and Blackberry devices. Yeah, the phone you are holding contains a tracker that not only discloses your location, it secretly records your individual keystrokes! The background app, developers say, is ostensibly used to gain insight into customers’ mobile experience and thus, helps makers create better products.

(Yeah right! Now I’m conscious of keystrokes and spelling, lest Nokia send me a pocket dictionary for Christmas.)

I don’t understand why companies need to do this. They don’t need to tap our phones when all they have to do is look us up on Facebook.

An Austrian law student, Max Schrems, requested Facebook to provide him records of personal data they have on him through its 'Download a copy of your Facebook data' feature. What came Max’ way was a document thicker than any Local Government Code -- 1,222 pages, to be exact.

It included photos, messages, comments, ‘Likes’, ‘Pokes’ from years back -- even those he had supposedly already ‘Deleted’. Apparently, ‘Delete’ doesn’t mean anything online.

But wait a minute! Is Facebook allowed to mine and keep such information? What does its Privacy Policy say?

Well, as it turns out, nobody actually reads those things anyway. With their small print, length and complexity, they are not meant to be read. Or understood. Unless one has a fetish for inscrutable gobbledygook, reading before agreeing to the terms just gets in the way of uploading photos and shoving personal information FB’s way.

My discovery of smartphones’ Carrier IQ and what could only be thousands of FB pages about me made me think about privacy. The internet is not designed for people like me.

This picture shows my Nokia smartphone.

This one, the amount of data about me facebook stored and the length of time it will take to download such data.

Above is my online article reading activity, duly traced by Yahoo and duly published by Facebook.

Creepy. I'm freaked out. I feel so naked online.

The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced. I lost all hope and was one click away from shunning the internet for life, when I chanced upon Mo Twister crying his heart out in YouTube.

Needless to say, that 13-minute video changed my mind.

Diana Lutgarda P. Bonilla, Entry # 2


Eli said...

This entry reminds of of Bonilla Dreams by Ron "Jeremy" Garcia

Di Bonilla said...

hahaha! i was actually inspired by Mr. Garcia's pornographic 'original intellectual creations' called Bonilla Dreams. hence, the title and first line. hehe