17 votes

Our digital pasts weren’t supposed to be weaponized like this

13 comments

  1. [9]
    Loire
    Link
    Is this future escapable? Is it even possible for millennials to run for office with the looming threat of their internet history constantly hanging over them? I only had a social media presence...

    Is this future escapable? Is it even possible for millennials to run for office with the looming threat of their internet history constantly hanging over them?

    I only had a social media presence for about seven years of my life, it's been nearly that many years since I deletd everything. Despite that I constantly worry what Facebook still has on me from those seven years. How many photos have I appeared in on friend's pages? What information on my private life has been cross correlated?

    About sux-seven years ago, a friend of mine, 20 at the time, having grown up his entire life on one of those white suburbia enclaves naively went to a Halloween party as "Hotline Bling Drake", charcoal grey makeup blackface and all. To this day he is still trying to scrub all record of that single moment in time, despite it not having come back to hit him yet.

    Should we be living with that kind of anxiety about our youthful mistakes? I don't know, blackface is excessively moronic, but the perpetual timeframe of possible guillotine dropping is fairly frightening.

    That quote from Jeff Jonas seems quite naive in retrospect. Why would our deviations, no matter how minor, not be used against us? Humans can be petty, tribal, and judgemental, I don't see why that would suddenly change.

    22 votes
    1. [8]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      It seems like there are a lot of people that are pretty careful about what they put under their real name? It's the exceptions we read about, though.

      It seems like there are a lot of people that are pretty careful about what they put under their real name? It's the exceptions we read about, though.

      6 votes
      1. [7]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        In 2008 I learned a great deal about identity and started by leaving Facebook. I then did everything that I could to erase my self from the Internet as well as the US postal system. It worked. I...

        In 2008 I learned a great deal about identity and started by leaving Facebook. I then did everything that I could to erase my self from the Internet as well as the US postal system.

        It worked. I am, basically, invisible to anyone unless I explicitly give my information to a trusted individual.

        It's a fucking shame that, possibly, billions of people are being information-raped through the Internet. A tragedy that I never thought would happen on such a scale.

        9 votes
        1. [2]
          Pistos
          Link Parent
          I applaud and congratulate you on your successful scrubbing. Here's what concerns me in this day and age, though: No matter how strict and vigilant we are about our own data footprint, we can't...

          I applaud and congratulate you on your successful scrubbing. Here's what concerns me in this day and age, though: No matter how strict and vigilant we are about our own data footprint, we can't reasonably control our network of friends, family, acquaintances and business contacts. We may never enter our phone numbers into any online form field, but we can't stop our contacts from entering our phone number into their own contact lists. Thereby, we become indirectly (or we might even say directly) associated with those contacts, in terms of what the third party services know about us. We may be careful to submit only throwaway email addresses to third-party services, but our contacts can "out" us by submitting our main email addresses to companies via "find/invite your friends" features or "allow App XYZ access to your contacts". Our friends and family might take pictures that include us, and the big social media giants thereby get a growing collection of image data, possibly associated with text data ("Here's me and <your name> having a great time at <tagged location>!"). Or a well-meaning acquaintance will take a image file of you and associate it with your phone number in their phone contact list (to see a pic of you when you call, etc.). Not to mention security cameras, front door cameras (Ring, etc.), increasingly ubiquitous voice assistants.

          It's a losing battle.

          12 votes
          1. skybrian
            Link Parent
            A problem with this sort of thinking is that since the enemy is unknown to you, you can imagine them everywhere. It's a panopticon. Even if they're not trying that hard to link up every clue (and...

            A problem with this sort of thinking is that since the enemy is unknown to you, you can imagine them everywhere. It's a panopticon. Even if they're not trying that hard to link up every clue (and they probably aren't since it's a volume business), they've got you jumping through hoops.

            Maybe having a public persona isn't that big a deal, as long as it looks boring?

            4 votes
        2. [4]
          Ellimist
          Link Parent
          Would you happen to have a guide or process for this? Scrubbing my online presence is something that I've been considering doing myself. I'm just not sure how to even begin

          Would you happen to have a guide or process for this?

          Scrubbing my online presence is something that I've been considering doing myself. I'm just not sure how to even begin

          7 votes
          1. suspended
            Link Parent
            I believe 'the process' for doing this has changed dramatically since then. Thirteen years has gone by since I almost completely eradicated my identity from the Internet. So, I don't know how I...

            I believe 'the process' for doing this has changed dramatically since then. Thirteen years has gone by since I almost completely eradicated my identity from the Internet. So, I don't know how I could point you in the correct direction.

            I would recommend that you make an 'ask' post here in ~tech about it. There are some incredibly savvy/knowledgeable people here that could help you with this.

            6 votes
          2. 3_3_2_LA
            Link Parent
            I came across this on HN https://gosauber.com/ can't vouch for its veracity/efficacy but I'm guessing you're looking for something along those lines?

            I came across this on HN https://gosauber.com/ can't vouch for its veracity/efficacy but I'm guessing you're looking for something along those lines?

            4 votes
          3. petrichor
            Link Parent
            What kind of online presence have you laid down for yourself over the years? It certainly varies from person to person, but the general process would go as follows: Finding and clearing...

            What kind of online presence have you laid down for yourself over the years?

            It certainly varies from person to person, but the general process would go as follows:

            • Finding and clearing information from all social media accounts (deleting posts, unfollowing people and removing followers), and then deleting them
            • Looking for any websites or similar that you may have personally identifiable information on, and deleting accounts / account information on those (a good method to do this - if you don't keep track in a password manager or similar - is by searching through your email for "account receipts" of sorts)
            • Waiting a few weeks (for search engine caches to be cleared), and then actively trying to find information about yourself - in a private window, try Googling your name, email, phone number, etc
            3 votes
  2. [3]
    an_angry_tiger
    Link

    A recent firing at The Associated Press is the latest example of the way in which our digital pasts are never far from the present, despite what early internet evangelists thought.

    The latest target of adversarial archaeologists is Emily Wilder, 22, who was fired by The Associated Press just three weeks into the job after the Stanford College Republicans surfaced her pro-Palestine activism and social media posts while in college. Though she was based in Arizona, her old posts caught the attention of national political figures from the right who amplified them, arguing that her views compromised her employer’s ability to accurately cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The A.P. contends that the firing was for social media conduct while Ms. Wilder worked for the media outlet, but it seemed to Ms. Wilder and her supporters that the incident was triggered by the years-old Facebook posts.

    That is the current phrase used by the political right to describe punishing people for “wrongthink.” According to Pew, a majority of Americans are now familiar with the term, but feelings are mixed about whether it’s beneficial, leading to a more accountable society, or a cruel form of punishment, willfully taking people’s actions out of context.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      Shahriar
      Link Parent
      Was this excerpt out of the whole article with no comment to add intentional? A good read, thank you for sharing. For others, I'd recommend reading the entire article!

      Was this excerpt out of the whole article with no comment to add intentional?
      A good read, thank you for sharing.

      For others, I'd recommend reading the entire article!

      7 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Quite a few people here include article quotes along with their submissions, without making additional personal commentary on them, as a sort of basic summary for people. I don't personally find...

        Quite a few people here include article quotes along with their submissions, without making additional personal commentary on them, as a sort of basic summary for people. I don't personally find it all that useful (other than in megathreads), but others have said it helps them decide whether an article is worth reading or not, so they appreciate them.

        12 votes