Mashable's Matt Petronzio explains what Janet Vertesi, assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University, had to do in order to hide her pregnancy from Big Data. She discovered that, while not easy, it can be done using cash, anonymous browsing and a separate Amazon account.
First, Vertesi made sure there were absolutely no mentions of her pregnancy on social media, which is one of the biggest ways marketers collect information. She called and emailed family directly to tell them the good news, while also asking them not to put anything on Facebook. She even unfriended her uncle after he sent a congratulatory Facebook message.
She also made sure to only use cash when buying anything related to her pregnancy, so no information could be shared through her credit cards or store-loyalty cards. For items she did want to buy online, Vertesi created an Amazon account linked to an email address on a personal server, had all packages delivered to a local locker and made sure only to use Amazon gift cards she bought with cash.
"And finally, I'm actually here today to win the 'Most Creative Use of Tor' award," she said, followed by roars of laughter in the audience. "I really couldn't have done it without Tor, because Tor was really the only way to manage totally untraceable browsing. I know it's gotten a bad reputation for Bitcoin trading and buying drugs online, but I used it for BabyCenter.com."
From her article on Time, this little snippet is even more revealing of the sad state of our privacy:
For months I had joked to my family that I was probably on a watch list for my excessive use of Tor and cash withdrawals. But then my husband headed to our local corner store to buy enough gift cards to afford a stroller listed on Amazon. There, a warning sign behind the cashier informed him that the store ?reserves the right to limit the daily amount of prepaid card purchases and has an obligation to report excessive transactions to the authorities.?
It was no joke that taken together, the things I had to do to evade marketing detection looked suspiciously like illicit activities. All I was trying to do was to fight for the right for a transaction to be just a transaction, not an excuse for a thousand little trackers to follow me around. But avoiding the big data dragnet meant that I not only looked like a rude family member or an inconsiderate friend, I also looked like a bad citizen.
|Surveiling the Politically Active of 2030|
|Private Browsing: It's Not So Private|
|"Being anonymous in public might be a thing of the past."|
|"The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control"|
|"[Parents could face] a year in prison for publishing intimate photos of their children on social media."|
|“A short cut through spacetime allowing for travel over cosmic scale distances in a short period.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|Time Lapse of Planet Earth as Seen from the Space Station|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|Recycled Vacuum Lamps|
|“If you fell asleep in 1945 and woke up in 2018 you would not recognize the world around you.”|
|“Reliably bottling up miniature stars, inside complex machines on Earth, demands otherworldly amounts of patience.”|
|Facebook, Twitter Users Could Face Insurance Hikes|
|NSFW: Norwegian Public Television Has Nudity, Masturbation and Orgasms|
|Read Advice People Wish They Had at Your Age|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|Timelapse of a Tesla Model 3 Being Made|