Data Privacy Detective

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Facial recognition. It’s a hot topic. Targeting, misidentification, and doxing - the dangers are real. So are the benefits – finding criminals and solving crimes, searching for relatives and old friends, researching history, conducting social research, sharing with friends over a lifetime.

Kashmir Hill’s penetrating cover article in the March 21, 2021 New York Times Magazine, “Your Face is Not Your Own,” details how our photos are scraped and used by companies far beyond what we imagine. Our images are available from public sources such as driver’s licenses. Many arise from our choice– through Facebook and Instagram postings, directories, newspaper and other media sources.

As the TV series Cheers’ theme song sang, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” But now it’s not just the neighborhood pub. It’s the internet, where everybody knows your name, and everybody can find your face.

What to do? That’s where scrubbing comes in.

Scrubbing is the effort to erase, stop, or minimize the spread of a digital posting. Scrubbing is a challenge. It can be expensive. Certain scrubbing services charge annual fees of $100 a year or more per person.

In this episode we discuss what options are available to you, what governments are experimenting with to find a balanced solution, and if there is any hope to truly erase your face from digital history.

If you have ideas for more interviews or stories, please email info@thedataprivacydetective.com.

Show Notes

Facial recognition. It’s a hot topic. Targeting, misidentification, and doxing - the dangers are real. So are the benefits – finding criminals and solving crimes, searching for relatives and old friends, researching history, conducting social research, sharing with friends over a lifetime. Kashmir Hill’s penetrating cover article in the March 21, 2021 New York Times Magazine, “Your Face is Not Your Own,” details how our photos are scraped and used by companies far beyond what we imagine. Our images are available from public sources such as driver’s licenses. Many arise from our choice– through Facebook and Instagram postings, directories, newspaper and other media sources. As the TV series Cheers’ theme song sang, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” But now it’s not just the neighborhood pub. It’s the internet, where everybody knows your name, and everybody can find your face. What to do? That’s where scrubbing comes in. Scrubbing is the effort to erase, stop, or minimize the spread of a digital posting. Scrubbing is a challenge. It can be expensive. Certain scrubbing services charge annual fees of $100 a year or more per person. In this episode we discuss what options are available to you, what governments are experimenting with to find a balanced solution, and if there is any hope to truly erase your face from digital history. If you have ideas for more interviews or stories, please email info@thedataprivacydetective.com.

What is Data Privacy Detective?

Data privacy is the footprint of our existence. It is our persona beyond ourselves, with traces of us scattered from birth certificates, Social Security numbers, shopping patterns, credit card histories, photographs, mugshots and health records. In a digital world, where memory is converted to 0’s and 1’s, then instantly transformed into a reproduction even in 3D, personal data is an urgent personal and collective subject. Those who wish to live anonymous lives must take extraordinary measures to succeed in that improbable quest, while those who hope for friendship or fame through the spread of their personal data must learn how to prevent theft of their identity and bank account.

If you have ideas for interviews or stories, please email info@thedataprivacydetective.com.

The internet in its blooming evolution makes personal data big business – for government, the private sector and denizens of the dark alike. The Data Privacy Detective explores how governments balance the interests of personal privacy with competing needs for public security, public health and other communal goods. It scans the globe for champions, villains, protectors and invaders of personal privacy and for the tools and technology used by individuals, business and government in the great competition between personal privacy and societal good order.

We’ll discuss how to guard our privacy by safeguarding the personal data we want to protect. We’ll aim to limit the access others can gain to your sensitive personal data while enjoying the convenience and power of smartphones, Facebook, Google, EBay, PayPal and thousands of devices and sites. We’ll explore how sinister forces seek to penetrate defenses to access data you don’t want them to have. We’ll discover how companies providing us services and devices collect, use and try to exploit or safeguard our personal data.

And we’ll keep up to date on how governments regulate personal data, including how they themselves create, use and disclose it in an effort to advance public goals in ways that vary dramatically from country to country. For the public good and personal privacy can be at odds. On one hand, governments try to deter terrorist incidents, theft, fraud and other criminal activity by accessing personal data, by collecting and analyzing health data to prevent and control disease and in other ways most people readily accept. On the other hand, many governments view personal privacy as a fundamental human right, with government as guardian of each citizen’s right to privacy. How authorities regulate data privacy is an ongoing balance of public and individual interests. We’ll report statutes, regulations, international agreements and court decisions that determine the balance in favor of one or more of the competing interests. And we’ll explore innovative efforts to transcend government control through blockchain and other technology.

In audio posts of 10 to 20 minutes each, you’ll get tips on how to protect your privacy, updates on government efforts to protect or invade personal data, and news of technological developments that shape the speed-of-bit world in which our personal data resides.

We hope to answer how data is regulated, managed, protected, collected, mined, stolen, defended and transcended.

This podcast was created for general informational purposes only as of the time of its creation and does not constitute legal advice, the formation of an attorney client relationship, or a solicitation to provide legal services.

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