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YOU, ONLINE
Identity, Privacy, and the Future
1
INTRODUCTION
• PART I:What is Online Identity?
• PART II:The Persistence of Online Identity
• PART III:Theories of the Pre...
INTRODUCTION
• Initiating a conversation
• The internet is an experiment in ontology
• Putting reformists, revolutionaries...
INTRODUCTION
• NOT a technical discussion or a how-to
• NOT a chronology (cause-effect fallacy)
• NOT a lecture (speak up,...
INTRODUCTION
• UC Berkeley student during anti-cuts ‘09
• Freelance coder
• I’m building an app/platform for local explora...
PART I
What is Online Identity?	

(if the medium is the message, what is the internet saying?)
6
SO WHAT AREYOU,
ONLINE?
• Several basic types of identity and interaction
• Messaging (static)
• Usenet/BBS/IRC/Forums (fl...
INFRASTRUCTURE 2/5
8
MONEY AND THE
INTERNET
• Cables (continental, trans-atlantic & trans-pacific, specialty)
• Routing
• Switching
• Hardware
...
MONEY AND THE
INTERNET
• Military (efficiency)
• Pay-to-access (first party)
• Online transactions (second-party)
• Ads (t...
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS
• Is the internet centralized or decentralized?
• What is the nature of a ‘free’ service/platform
• W...
PART II
The Persistence of Online Identity
(and why deleting your Facebook isn’t enough)
12
TRACKING
• Raw communication
• Facts (wiki-fication of the internet)
• Opinion (the blogosphere)
• Self
• Tracking
• Analy...
TRACKING
• Explicitly volunteered information (polls, ratings, commentary)
• Reading the content we create or upload
• Tra...
TRACKING
• The paradox of consent
• Hannah Arendt’s natality, plurality, and visibility
• The internet as the new commons
...
DATA 1/4
16
• The result of tracking is data. So really we should be focusing
on that.
• Data collection is a legal, ethic...
DATA 2/4
17
• In 2006, Netflix announced a $1 Million prize for a better
content rating system. In order to help with the ...
DATA 3/4
18
• Researchers Arvind Narayanan andVitaly Shmatikov were able to ‘de-
anonymize’ the data, using pure math.
• B...
DATA 4/4
19
• With ‘water cooler’ knowledge of your movie interests, they
could pick your data out of a set of millions of...
A DIFFERENT WAY?
• Connecting the dots between the ubiquity and ease of data
collection, the knowledge that this data prov...
PART III
Theory
21
THE FRIENDSHIP
PARADOX
22
THE FRIENDSHIP
PARADOX
1/3
23
Why Your Friends Have More
Friends Than You Do
Scott L. Feld (1991) 	

American Journal of S...
24
THE FRIENDSHIP
PARADOX
2/3
• Observed on almost every social network, mathematically
derived, and empirically proven
• ...
25
THE FRIENDSHIP
PARADOX
3/3
• Amplifying our insecurity?
• Or maybe, an unfortunate fact of life?
• Can/should we build ...
THE RULES STILL APPLY
HERE
26
(The case of Diablo 3)
27
THE RULES STILL APPLY
HERE
1/2
• Faucets and Sinks
• Real Money Auction House (RMAH)
• May 2012: $300/million
• Feb 201...
THE RULES STILL APPLY
HERE
2/2
28
THE FUTURE
29
THE FUTURE 1
30
Complete autonomy of capital : a mechanistic utopia where
human beings become simple accessories of an aut...
31
THE FUTURE 1
Collapse and Post-Collapse
• Catastrophe
• My opinion is that some kind of internet will eventually be re-...
32
THE FUTURE 1
Post-Internet
• Planes of Immanence (Deleuze & Guattari)
• Merger of the self with the other
• Comfort vs....
33
THE FUTURE 1
Neo-Internet
• Internet of Things
• Metaphor of the ‘smart’ wine-rack
• Camatte’s ‘managed’ utopia
• Virtu...
34
THE FUTURE 1
Distant Future
• Solar system colonization
• Ironically, the internet will hold us back
• Post-humanism vs...
PART IV
The Internet is not Immutable	

(i.e. alternative ‘net’s)
35 With help from: http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=vi...
END-TO-END
ENCRYPTION (E2EE)
1/3
36
Symmetric Cryptography
END-TO-END
ENCRYPTION (E2EE)
2/3
37
Asymmetric Cryptography
38
END-TO-END
ENCRYPTION (E2EE)
3/3
• Companies will say: it hinders the user experience
• The NSA keeps your PGP traffic ...
39
BIG DATA 1/3
• Can we design a database that:
• Collects tons data about you
• Can be used for actionable purposes (rec...
40
BIG DATA 2/3
• The database only contains restaurants in a single form: X,Y.
• X:The first letter of the name of the re...
41
BIG DATA 3/3
Thought Experiment: Restaurant Recommendations
• Pattern Recognition is counter-intuitive
• This scheme is...
MESH-NET 1/3
42
43
MESH-NET 2/3
• Locality vs centrality
• Surveillance and censorship protection
• Community owns the tools of production
44
MESH-NET 3/3
• Malicious nodes
• A mobile-phone mesh-net is not viable (yet)
• We still use a few key services (Faceboo...
TOR-NET 1/3
45
46
TOR-NET 2/3
• Security through “onion routing”
• Internet service providers (Comcast, etc) can’t see what you’re
doing
...
47
TOR-NET 3/3
• A few (on the order of 1000s) of nodes = bottleneck
• There is still a trust dependency for tor nodes i.e...
INVISIBLE INTERNET
PROJECT (12P)
1/3
48
49
INVISIBLE INTERNET
PROJECT (12P)
2/3
• Security through “garlic routing” (great metaphor, eh?)
• Somewhat of a hybrid o...
50
INVISIBLE INTERNET
PROJECT (12P)
3/3
• It’s slow
• NOT designed for the greater internet (and less secure for
that stuf...
51
What if I wanted to do away with the
entire paradigm of the internet?
–Anonymous
“In effect, a perfect anarchy”
52
FREENET
FREENET 1/3
53
SF
Europe
Africa
Oakland
• Each piece of data is a
unique number (‘hash’)
• Every node contains
some data, ...
54
FREENET 2/3
• There’s no such thing as ‘location’ on the freenet, just a way to
find more and more closely matching nam...
55
FREENET 3/3
• You CAN’T access the internet through the Freenet (it’s self-
contained)
• It’s slow (but the more connec...
AN INTERNET THAT’S
DIFFERENT™
• Monied interests are inevitable
• But WE, an intelligent, careful society, create a better...
THANKS FOR
LISTENING!
(now start talking)
57
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You, online: Identity, Privacy, and the Future

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In the current landscape of media and communication, our world is undergoing immense and rapid transformations in the breadth, and format of how we interconnect. At the same time, it is difficult for even the most technically adept to fully comprehend the scope of these projects. This talk is a musing on the ideas behind online identity and mass communication in the 21st century. It intends to partially unravel the mystery behind networked social identity, as well as provide the tools for even the technically-disinclined to understand the possibilities for control, surveillance, freedom, and liberated identity within this new topology.

Some included topics:
* Online surveillance, and how deleting your Facebook isn’t enough
* Big Data analytics: why your data is worth money, and the (im)possibility of privacy
* Theories and Paradoxes in a hyper-connected future
* Alternative internets, (or darkness) and what they represent.

Published in: Internet, Technology, Education
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You, online: Identity, Privacy, and the Future

  1. 1. YOU, ONLINE Identity, Privacy, and the Future 1
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION • PART I:What is Online Identity? • PART II:The Persistence of Online Identity • PART III:Theories of the Present and the Future • PART IV:The Internet is not Immutable 1/4 2
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION • Initiating a conversation • The internet is an experiment in ontology • Putting reformists, revolutionaries, crypto-anarchists, techies, and ‘normies’ (excuse the language) in one room • Building a shared history that can undo the digital divide • Scare you 2/4 3
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION • NOT a technical discussion or a how-to • NOT a chronology (cause-effect fallacy) • NOT a lecture (speak up, shout me down, talk amongst yourselves) • NOT a pro- or anti-internet talk (but those elements will be there) 3/4 4
  5. 5. INTRODUCTION • UC Berkeley student during anti-cuts ‘09 • Freelance coder • I’m building an app/platform for local exploration • Some of the things I say might be bad for my career 4/4 5
  6. 6. PART I What is Online Identity? (if the medium is the message, what is the internet saying?) 6
  7. 7. SO WHAT AREYOU, ONLINE? • Several basic types of identity and interaction • Messaging (static) • Usenet/BBS/IRC/Forums (fluid) • Social Networking (fixed) • Content hubs (contextual) • App-based interactions (proprietary) • Putting all these together • A highly modular communications medium • Near infinite access and storage of information • A common interface of metaphors • Fundamentally imbued with the presence of capital and the state 1/5 7
  8. 8. INFRASTRUCTURE 2/5 8
  9. 9. MONEY AND THE INTERNET • Cables (continental, trans-atlantic & trans-pacific, specialty) • Routing • Switching • Hardware • Software • Hosting • Serving • Accessing • Spectrum ownership • These are all ‘first-world’ costs 3/5 9
  10. 10. MONEY AND THE INTERNET • Military (efficiency) • Pay-to-access (first party) • Online transactions (second-party) • Ads (third party) (more on this…) • Nobody clicks on them, but they still power the internet • Drum roll… data (all-party) 4/5 10
  11. 11. ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS • Is the internet centralized or decentralized? • What is the nature of a ‘free’ service/platform • Who can see what I do online, and to what extent/form/etc. ? • Should data be considered property, speech, or both? 5/5 11
  12. 12. PART II The Persistence of Online Identity (and why deleting your Facebook isn’t enough) 12
  13. 13. TRACKING • Raw communication • Facts (wiki-fication of the internet) • Opinion (the blogosphere) • Self • Tracking • Analytics (new to the team) 1/3 13
  14. 14. TRACKING • Explicitly volunteered information (polls, ratings, commentary) • Reading the content we create or upload • Tracking our use patterns (browsing, interacting, etc.) through IDs and meta-data • Building a social graph • Testing machine-learning algorithms on us 2/3 14
  15. 15. TRACKING • The paradox of consent • Hannah Arendt’s natality, plurality, and visibility • The internet as the new commons • A kink in the system: the No-Network problem 3/3 15
  16. 16. DATA 1/4 16 • The result of tracking is data. So really we should be focusing on that. • Data collection is a legal, ethical, and technological ‘No Man’s Land’ • The collection of data currently is the driving factor of market growth of internet technologies (‘big data’)
  17. 17. DATA 2/4 17 • In 2006, Netflix announced a $1 Million prize for a better content rating system. In order to help with the effort, they released a data-set of 100 million ratings by a 1/2 million subscribers. • This data was ‘anonymized’ Case Study: Netflix Prize
  18. 18. DATA 3/4 18 • Researchers Arvind Narayanan andVitaly Shmatikov were able to ‘de- anonymize’ the data, using pure math. • By knowing as little as 2 of your movie ratings and the weeks that you rated them, they could identify 70% of the dataset. • By knowing 8 of your movie ratings, of which 2 could be false, and the months that you rated them, they could identify 99% of the dataset. • By cross-referencing ratings from a public service (IMDb), they could identify an individual in the dataset • The more rare a movie, the fewer other movies they needed to know Case Study: Netflix Prize
  19. 19. DATA 4/4 19 • With ‘water cooler’ knowledge of your movie interests, they could pick your data out of a set of millions of ratings/people. • Our movie ratings often coincide with our political/social/ religious beliefs.What conclusions can be learned from knowing the 100+ movies that I like? • Cross-referencing datasets is immensely powerful Case Study: Netflix Prize
  20. 20. A DIFFERENT WAY? • Connecting the dots between the ubiquity and ease of data collection, the knowledge that this data provides, and the lack of accountability paints a bleak picture • Most, if not all people accept this as the future, including: facial recognition, identity tracking, hyper-targeted advertising, inference of beliefs. • In part IV, we can discuss some very potent alternative structures that dismantle these tools. 20
  21. 21. PART III Theory 21
  22. 22. THE FRIENDSHIP PARADOX 22
  23. 23. THE FRIENDSHIP PARADOX 1/3 23 Why Your Friends Have More Friends Than You Do Scott L. Feld (1991) American Journal of Sociology 96 (6): 1464–1477
  24. 24. 24 THE FRIENDSHIP PARADOX 2/3 • Observed on almost every social network, mathematically derived, and empirically proven • Also applies to: publishing papers, sexual partners • Used in epidemiology for better subject choice
  25. 25. 25 THE FRIENDSHIP PARADOX 3/3 • Amplifying our insecurity? • Or maybe, an unfortunate fact of life? • Can/should we build a system that avoids/solves this?
  26. 26. THE RULES STILL APPLY HERE 26 (The case of Diablo 3)
  27. 27. 27 THE RULES STILL APPLY HERE 1/2 • Faucets and Sinks • Real Money Auction House (RMAH) • May 2012: $300/million • Feb 2013: $0.20/million, March 2013: $0.05/million (hyper- inflation is often defined as losing 50% of value in a month) • May 2013: $.004/million (1/100,000th in 1 year)
  28. 28. THE RULES STILL APPLY HERE 2/2 28
  29. 29. THE FUTURE 29
  30. 30. THE FUTURE 1 30 Complete autonomy of capital : a mechanistic utopia where human beings become simple accessories of an automated system, though still retaining an executive role; Mutation of the human being, or rather a change of the species : production of a perfectly programmable being which has lost all the characteristics of the species Homo sapiens. This would not require an automatized system, since this perfect human being would be made to do whatever is required; Generalized lunacy : in the place of human beings, and on the basis of their present limitations, capital realizes everything they desire (normal or abnormal), but human beings cannot find themselves and enjoyment continually lies in the future.The human being is carried off in the run-away of capital, and keeps it going. –Jacques Camatte, The Wandering of Humanity (1973)
  31. 31. 31 THE FUTURE 1 Collapse and Post-Collapse • Catastrophe • My opinion is that some kind of internet will eventually be re-created in a post-catastrophe • Revolution • The current model of the internet still centralizes power, so a revolutionary ‘decentralized’ or ‘worker-owned’ internet must be tangibly different (more on that) • Voluntary • Primitivism • But not necessarily
  32. 32. 32 THE FUTURE 1 Post-Internet • Planes of Immanence (Deleuze & Guattari) • Merger of the self with the other • Comfort vs. Actualization • To record or not to record?
  33. 33. 33 THE FUTURE 1 Neo-Internet • Internet of Things • Metaphor of the ‘smart’ wine-rack • Camatte’s ‘managed’ utopia • Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality • Vacuous pleasure vs. Jouissance • Camatte’s ‘generalized lunacy’
  34. 34. 34 THE FUTURE 1 Distant Future • Solar system colonization • Ironically, the internet will hold us back • Post-humanism vs Trans-humanism • Camatte’s ‘species mutation’
  35. 35. PART IV The Internet is not Immutable (i.e. alternative ‘net’s) 35 With help from: http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=videos/intro-to-tor-i2p-darknets
  36. 36. END-TO-END ENCRYPTION (E2EE) 1/3 36 Symmetric Cryptography
  37. 37. END-TO-END ENCRYPTION (E2EE) 2/3 37 Asymmetric Cryptography
  38. 38. 38 END-TO-END ENCRYPTION (E2EE) 3/3 • Companies will say: it hinders the user experience • The NSA keeps your PGP traffic in case they ever obtain your private key • The math behind cryptography is pretty complicated and it has been subverted • Certain countries force you to decrypt your stuff! • As in the Netflix case study, anonymizing your data is hard, so it doesn’t matter if its encrypted
  39. 39. 39 BIG DATA 1/3 • Can we design a database that: • Collects tons data about you • Can be used for actionable purposes (recommendation, etc.) • But when looked at, contains NO useful information • And when analyzed, CAN’T be de-anonymized • GesaltTheory
  40. 40. 40 BIG DATA 2/3 • The database only contains restaurants in a single form: X,Y. • X:The first letter of the name of the restaurant • Y:The first letter of the name of the street where it is located. • The database contains only groups (‘sets’) of restaurants • I ‘query’ the database by giving it a ‘set’ of restaurants I like, and the restaurant I am asking about. • When the database receives a query, it stores the ‘set’, and successfully gives me my recommendation. Thought Experiment: Restaurant Recommendations
  41. 41. 41 BIG DATA 3/3 Thought Experiment: Restaurant Recommendations • Pattern Recognition is counter-intuitive • This scheme is NOT a cipher • Doesn’t implicate any individual, nor any restaurant • This database can be completely public • This example is highly simplified, but conceptually powerful. • This technique actually makes computation faster in some situations
  42. 42. MESH-NET 1/3 42
  43. 43. 43 MESH-NET 2/3 • Locality vs centrality • Surveillance and censorship protection • Community owns the tools of production
  44. 44. 44 MESH-NET 3/3 • Malicious nodes • A mobile-phone mesh-net is not viable (yet) • We still use a few key services (Facebook, Google Maps) that could be (and have been) tracked • Big-money tech companies like mesh-networking!
  45. 45. TOR-NET 1/3 45
  46. 46. 46 TOR-NET 2/3 • Security through “onion routing” • Internet service providers (Comcast, etc) can’t see what you’re doing • Websites can’t see where you’re from • Certain services can be “inside” the onion, which means they’re un-blockable
  47. 47. 47 TOR-NET 3/3 • A few (on the order of 1000s) of nodes = bottleneck • There is still a trust dependency for tor nodes i.e. correlation attacks • Can’t use certain services, such as peer-to-peer file-sharing • Again… metadata. Still building on top of the regular internet
  48. 48. INVISIBLE INTERNET PROJECT (12P) 1/3 48
  49. 49. 49 INVISIBLE INTERNET PROJECT (12P) 2/3 • Security through “garlic routing” (great metaphor, eh?) • Somewhat of a hybrid of Mesh and Tor • No central infrastructure! How awesome • Can create secure, encrypted channels (friend-to-friend) • Actually better than Tor for hidden services because it was designed for them, but also because it is self-organizing • Can do peer-to-peer file sharing! Also, anonymous e-mail, anonymous chat, etc.
  50. 50. 50 INVISIBLE INTERNET PROJECT (12P) 3/3 • It’s slow • NOT designed for the greater internet (and less secure for that stuff) • Hasn’t been around as long as other services (so fewer eyes on the code and fewer papers published). • In other words, your-mileage-may-vary
  51. 51. 51 What if I wanted to do away with the entire paradigm of the internet?
  52. 52. –Anonymous “In effect, a perfect anarchy” 52 FREENET
  53. 53. FREENET 1/3 53 SF Europe Africa Oakland • Each piece of data is a unique number (‘hash’) • Every node contains some data, and the location of the data with the closest hashes. • We ‘find’ data by hopping from node to node asking for our number
  54. 54. 54 FREENET 2/3 • There’s no such thing as ‘location’ on the freenet, just a way to find more and more closely matching names. • This is NOT an internet. It’s technically a ‘distributed data- store’ • No ‘users’ or ‘servers’ in the traditional sense.The system itself ‘stores’ the data. • It’s all encrypted: in storage, in transit, everywhere. Not even the person holding the data knows what it is.
  55. 55. 55 FREENET 3/3 • You CAN’T access the internet through the Freenet (it’s self- contained) • It’s slow (but the more connections there are, the faster it gets) • It’s “forgetful” (!) • Wait a minute…the freenet is like a giant BRAIN! • Unfortunately, the freenet doesn’t mix well with the law
  56. 56. AN INTERNET THAT’S DIFFERENT™ • Monied interests are inevitable • But WE, an intelligent, careful society, create a better future • For certain things, centralization is good. For certain things, decentralization is good (that’s the honest truth of technology) • Transparency is key.Trust is key. • Is this possible? Or is this the dream that powers the engine? 56
  57. 57. THANKS FOR LISTENING! (now start talking) 57

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