• Question: Why should it matter if someone can see what my favourite dog breed is for example. It feels unlikely they would blackmail me with the information (which would be illegal) also why would they care about that information. It just seems particularly relevant for my life not theirs, even if it is more relevant to my life why would a person care about it

    Asked by Audrey on 9 Jan 2020.
    • Photo: Maja Popovic

      Maja Popovic answered on 9 Jan 2020:

      I don’t think anybody will blackmail you because of dog breeds, nor do any harm.
      However, this information can be used in order to prepare advertisement for you. This is still not too bad (except seeing advertisements all around is annoying, at least for me).

      But then, one never knows how certain information can be used. In any case, I am not paranoic, but I am aware that my data could be used in some ways I don’t like. And if I don’t have to provide such data, I don’t do that.

      For example, Facebook was inviting users to post their photos from 10 years ago.
      It sounds like fun — some people change more over time, some less, some change in a funny way, etc. And nobody will blackmail me because of my photo from 10 years ago (unless it is a very weird photo, but then the timing it is not important), so why not.
      But still, why to support this kind of activity? Who would need such photos and what for? For some face recognition tool? What kind of face recognition tool? Why the photos from different times are needed?
      Maybe to provide data about how different people are aging? But then again — why to do that?
      One dark possibility: to estimate health insurance costs, so that for those who age more rapidly it will be more expensive?

    • Photo: Fiona Macfarlane

      Fiona Macfarlane answered on 9 Jan 2020:

      It may not matter if someone knows what your favourite breed of dog is, but similar methods could be used to find out other information about you.

      A lot of adverts that we see online can be based on things we previously have looked at, as the algorithms behind the adverts think we are more likely to buy those things. So if you like something, you are more likely to see similar adverts.
      So a lot of companies care about this information as they want to find the people most likely to buy their products