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Chilly in here

I got that email from LinkedIn again today. You know, that monthly “people you may know” email.

I signed up for LinkedIn when it was pretty new and felt obligatory. And perfunctory. Honestly, to this day, I have no idea what you’re supposed to DO with it. The last time I signed in was maybe…seven, eight years ago? I was a whole ‘nother person then, profile-wise.

So. Thing is, that “people you may know” email is always people I *do* know. And people LinkedIn has no business knowing that I know. Okay, one is a former boss at my corporate gig in the States. But the rest? No idea.

They keep recommending Uncle B to me, for example. There is no business based reason they would connect his name to mine. I’m cautious about real names and the internet. Maybe they…bought some data off FaceBook? It’s the only place I can think of that his name and mine appear together.

One recommendation is — I suspect, from the name — the granddaughter of a close friend of my parents. From, like, forty years ago. LinkedIn makes similar astonishing connections for Uncle B, too — and he keeps a WAY lower internet profile than me (deletes his cookies several times a day, he just told me. Imagine!).

So if a useless Web app like LinkedIn can scratch up enough data to make such obscure connections, what can a powerful data mining operation do? What would happen if somebody mashed together your supermarket loyalty card data and your medical history? What if somebody had all of it — credit cards, bank statements, social media, phone records, the lot — the hardware to store it and the software to sift through it?

I’m just a nobody. No reason anybody would be interested in anything I’m up to. Until and unless I tried to do something interesting, like run for office.

I read too much science fiction as a kid. This stuff is scaring me juiceless.


Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: June 28, 2013, 12:08 am

There was a thing about Facebook collecting (and correlating) data about users they had gleaned from sites other than Facebook, and now you’ve just described linkedln doing it also.

Don’t forget all those cute ‘social media’ buttons on all the web sites you visit, click one of those and more data is collected, and correlated. Just visiting a site that has social media scripts generates ‘some’ data cuz the script has to validate a token with the social media server.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 28, 2013, 12:12 am

I saw that. They were dumpster diving your address book, I think.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 28, 2013, 12:13 am

Sneer at the conspiracy “nuts” as people will, something deeply dank, dark and deviant is afoot here.

As Her Stoatliness says, I am, um, ‘careful’ with the innerwebs. I don’t use Facebook, or Twitter and if that satanic arse Schmidt gets within half a mile of my front door, he and his nasty little pack of imps from Google will be extricating badger claws from their backsides pretty damned quickly!

So, yes, I delete cookies. And I don’t post under my own name.

So how did Linked In (which I was kinda sorta professionally obliged to accept) try to link me with my ‘who the heck is he?’ utterly insignificant accountant? Not to mention one or two others that it has absolutely no legitimate way of connecting me with and some of whom I have had no connection with since they were sent to… I’m sorry, I think I meant ‘since we drifted apart.’?

As Stoaty has said, WTF is Linked In even for? And how does it keep throwing up (I use the term advisedly) links it shouldn’t oughta be able to?

And if the suits’ Facebook can do it, what about your goons at the NSA and ours at GCHQ?

Look, boys. I’ve got some old pitchforks in the barn and there’s a barrel of tar and some brands in the shed. Let’s say we teach these bastiches a lesson!

Seriously, though…. we are in Philip K. Dick country here.
And it took him mental illness and chemical adjustment to get there. We are being given it for ‘free’.

Comment from Clifford Skridlow
Time: June 28, 2013, 12:24 am

Stoaty –
Not to leap off topic here, because the dark forces are clearly rooting wildly through our collective electronic minutae with the worst of intent, but if you were to whip up some very creative (as only you could) “creepy ass cracker” T-shirts, I’d be PayPaling you so hard it would leave a mark. Just sayin’.

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: June 28, 2013, 12:27 am

I so didn’t need to read this.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: June 28, 2013, 1:08 am

I signed up for Linked In because I was flogging my resume, and to be fair, I’ve received a number of Headhunter inquiries. However, I have been found by -two- old lovers (this is never a good thing and don’t kid yourself otherwise),people from my military days, my college days, and my high school days. Linked In offered me up to my college and high school mates. It also found members of an eclectic club I belong to, and offered to link me to them. All these despite the fact my schools and club aren’t listed (by me) in my data. Further it’s offered up two neighbors who I know but none of the neighbors I haven’t met.

Like Uncle Badger I use a privatized search engine, block tracking cookies, and clean my machine every time I use it.

I’m scared shitless, but they already know that.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: June 28, 2013, 1:32 am

Uncle B:

Look, boys. I’ve got some old pitchforks in the barn and there’s a barrel of tar and some brands in the shed. Let’s say we teach these bastiches a lesson!

Sigh. Given the level of mass deadly force available to both the regime here, and the forces operating in the name of the Crown there; y’all are gonna need to upgrade your utensils of kinetic application. And I note that other than IRA and Muslim terrorists, such is forbidden there. Slightly better here. Although I am given to understand that the “‘Ealth and Safety” types there consider the necessary level of bloody-mindedness for such to be thoughtcrime.

Unless the coercive and intrusive organs of the State on both sides of the Atlantic can be convinced that there is a significant and personal downside to their activities, they will continue.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: June 28, 2013, 1:58 am

LinkedIn started sending me emails last month, and I never heard of them until then. Facebook and Twitter are for people who aren’t misanthropic sociopaths, so they didn’t get my name from there. There’s no easily-accessible “unsubscribe” button to their emails, either. Eventually I found their “contact us” thing and told them that if they didn’t leave me alone I’d call the cops. Something like that, anyway. It worked. Nosey pricks.

Pingback from The Government’s Data Web at Traction Control
Time: June 28, 2013, 2:07 am

[…] Chilly in here […]

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: June 28, 2013, 3:32 am

Just got a Facebook suggestion for a recently release music album ‘based on the music you listen to’?

Really? How do they know what music I listen to? They can read my iTunes library? Got my purchases from Apple? (It’s a different account)

Or Facebook blow’n smoke? and my email is overflowing with suggested friends (people who visit the same websites ??)

Comment from GregO
Time: June 28, 2013, 4:46 am


I don’t even begin to “get it”. My dear daughter is a marketing pro and specializes in social media. I have her come over and “do” my LinkedIn sh#t. She explains it to me and I just glaze over; but I don’t want to offend my pals in other states (particularly the Texans!) so I have her “link” to them or recommend them or whatever; and yes a fair number of people want to “link” with me that are creepy sales creeps (no offense to sales types! – these are real creeps; the great sales people I know I talk to on the phone when I feel like it…).

LinkedIn. Not my thing too.

Comment from Glenster
Time: June 28, 2013, 4:51 am

If anyone cares, there’s a great plugin for Firefox called “Ghostery” – it shows you all of the trackers on a website and allows you to block them. It works well and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the large number of embedded trackers on many pages. I am also a long-time user of “duckduckgo dot com”, and excellent search engine that doesn’t collect any info on its users…

(Hi Stoaty and Uncle B – I usually lurk quietly here until I have something remotely worthwhile to contribute!)

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: June 28, 2013, 7:33 am

I am doing my best to erase myself from the ‘net.’

Take care of yourselves.

Comment from Mike C.
Time: June 28, 2013, 7:53 am

LinkedIn reads your e-mail address book, for starters. Other social media do as well.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 28, 2013, 1:50 pm

Hi Glenster! Thanks for the tip about Ghosters 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 28, 2013, 2:04 pm

Well, this is timely. Has anybody been following the soon-to-be-released game Watchdogs? You walk along the city streets and are able to patch into all the live data (camera/cell phones/cash machines) in the area to…fight crime, I think. Trailer here.

Anyway, as a promotional thing, they’ve released a kind of real version — four different cities with clickable icons for, like, cell tower locations, camera locations, instagram pictures people have posted with location data. Try it.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: June 28, 2013, 2:13 pm

I have signed up to just about every social media and gizmo online just to keep my name and business name to me, but almost none of them actually do anything. Linked In seems pointless, it doesn’t do anything except add contacts, but then Facebook doesn’t do anything, either. The only reason it seems useful is because it’s so active.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 28, 2013, 2:42 pm

FB is useful to me, Christopher. There are a lot of people “back home” I wouldn’t otherwise keep in touch with.

Comment from Mark
Time: June 28, 2013, 2:47 pm

I, too, am joining the hoardes–I think a lot more people than we imagine are fed up with Facebook and LinkedIn. Having recently returned from a holiday in the Mid-West, they are just as disgusted as the dog walkers I talk to in London. It’s beyond partisanship.

I’ve announced to everyone on FB my disgust with the whole situation and that I will be shutting down (ha!) on 4 July. The usual cadre of geek fools who follow me immediately tried to start a flame war, but it died out quickly. (One of them is UKIP. The other is a gay Polish IT geek who lives in the Netherlands. Interesting short flame war!) The rest of my friends have unti 4 Jul to request my e-mail address to keep in contact. Pah.

Paula, I hear you. I CANNOT shut down from LinkedIn. They’re vile.

Comment from mojo
Time: June 28, 2013, 3:04 pm

Phillip K. Dick was a freakin’ PROPHET, man!

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: June 28, 2013, 3:30 pm

I’m going to miss you on FB Mark. 🙁 Now I’ll have to get up from the comfort of my sofa to go and email you. ARGH, life is hard.;)

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 28, 2013, 3:57 pm

Sadly, mojo, you’re right.

Comment from RealMc
Time: June 28, 2013, 4:06 pm

What Mike C said is spot on.

You likely clicked past it like I did, albeit to late to read the “fine print”.

Linkedin does in fact get to “read” your contacts list when you sign up…… and the it goes from there…..

Wished I never had signed up myself. Also had people find me I’d rather not communicate with.

I use Ignore a lot.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 28, 2013, 4:30 pm

Guess which mustelid doesn’t even have a contact list?

Comment from Deborah
Time: June 28, 2013, 4:32 pm

I was LinkedIn for about four years but I linked out almost a year ago. There were perhaps a half-dozen links that were a genuine business link and the rest left me scratching my head for a connection. I didn’t have any trouble closing my “account,” but I received spam links for months afterward——they have finally stopped though. I never wanted a Facebook page because I knew there were certain people I would have to “friend” and I didn’t want to—and a whole lot of friends and family were truly deeply pissed off at me. I had made it inconvenient for them to stay in touch with me——too much work to send me an email.

I had one of the earliest Twitter accounts, but I never posted a single tweet. Maybe the accounts die after a certain period of inactivity—I hope so.

Husband is BIG in social media—it is mother’s milk to him and he thrives on it, but he only uses it for business and marketing. He used to manage a small ISP and he loves all the technology that goes with computers, communications, podcasting, networking (digital and human), et cetera. He’s finally given up on me, except to make sure I have screaming broadband connection and a fast computer (which I use for work).

Meanwhile, I just bought another package of stamps, because I still write thank you notes on Crane paper with a fountain pen. As soon as I get a new house, I’m buying embossed stationery!

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: June 28, 2013, 5:11 pm

One of the great features of the Internet is that allows people with shared interests to connect.

LinkedIn is an attempt to automate and monetize this process.

It works for some people – friends have said they got jobs or work from LinkedIn contacts.

I’ve never touched it.

ISTM that it ;s being grossly abused by the desperate, and by low-ball hustlers. Something like the way e-mail is abused by spammers.

I’ve received a few LinkedIn invitations. Several were from people I know fairly well. Others were out of the blue. I don’t know about “suggestions” from LinkedIn itselft.

As to Web surfing – I have a lot of advertising and tracking sites blocked in my .hosts file, and I leave javascript turned off 90% of the time. (Nearly all the ads and tracking stuff runs in scripts.)

I still use Google, though.

And I never got around to creating an Internet “handle”, so tons of stuff is out there under my real name.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: June 28, 2013, 5:32 pm

You get a text message on your phone. It’s googlecom & they’re pretty sure you need to check with your doctor about that itch on your penis.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 28, 2013, 6:02 pm

I’ve probably had hundreds of internet aliases over the years. If they ever go to untangle my contribution to cyberhoozit, it’ll take an NSA supercomputer to work it out.

Comment from Deborah
Time: June 28, 2013, 7:18 pm

uh huh——I*heart*Chickens, ChickenChic, ChickenQueen, Chicksforall, AllforChicks, Guns&Chicks, Chicks&Weasels, ChickensnBadgers, Chickswithbanjos, ChickenBanjoBabe …

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 28, 2013, 8:35 pm

Deborah 🙂

Comment from Pablo
Time: June 29, 2013, 1:37 pm

I read too much science fiction as a kid. This stuff is scaring me juiceless.

Read Brad Thor’s Black List. You’ll never sleep again, largely because it’s very much reality based fiction. Yes, they’re watching.

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