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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.

June 27, 2013 — 11:40 pm
Comments: 31