Privacy Issues: The Slow Reaction Of Internet Sites

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on August 14, 2015 in Internet |

If someone bothered going through a database of all the newspaper and magazine articles about privacy issues and Internet security published online, I suspect they would find a new article, possibly even a new threat, every single day of the week. It is a theme which attracts not only the privacy advocates, the hackers and the politicians, but also those who make an honest living out of security or the reporting of problems.


Photo Source: Jake Rust – Creative Commons

This is what I was talking about in my post a few days ago: the mixing of different data sources to create an overall picture or, something which cannot be left out of the picture, to target a specific person. The Economist comes to the point in their article on anonymity and the use of several different databases to find and consolidate otherwise private information. The information contained in the source code of the Badoo web site is much the same in a smaller way, and an invitation for stalkers of all calibers to do their thing. Mixing publicly available information with that taken from an otherwise anonymous data source can compromise individuals, as well as force them into situations of great danger.

We’re not talking just about those who visit a certain Gentlemen’s Club once or twice and month and then take a taxi back home again, but real people whose names have been published on one site (Badoo) through a link to another site (Facebook) and who, through this linkage, through the simple use of an Internet-based telephone book, can be traced and targeted.


Photo Source: Jake Rust – Creative Commons

Those people in the taxi who follow a set routine each time they visit the Club are, to a certain extent, still anonymous. It may be that they live in an apartment amongst many apartments, there is no link to their name until a hacker manages to get into the credit card records – or membership details – of the Club itself, and puts two and two together.

For the people on Badoo, the information is already there which links a name to a photograph, to a Facebook profile (Real Name Policy), to a family and friends, to a specific area and, through that old trustworthy telephone book, to an actual address.

It’s not just those people who lose their social security information, their medical records, their credit card details who are at risk but, in this instance, specific people, individually and without the need to sift through millions of records. The information freely available is a stalker’s paradise, and one which should be treated rather than simply left as it is.

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