The Twitter/Facebook/PC/Alexa/ETC Facts of Life Explained Once More.

by Datechguy | January 17th, 2018

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The Twitter/Facebook/PC/Alexa/ETC Facts of Life Explained Once More.

Way back in the 1990’s my friend at work Brian intro­duced me to a game called Col­o­niza­tion still one of the best games ever to come out from the mag­nif­i­cent mind of Sid Meier (and a game that still holds up will 20 years later although an updated ver­sion with 3D graph­ics and mul­ti­player mode is avail­able as well) but in those old DOS win­dows 95 games to an old Avalon Hill gamer like me Col­o­niza­tion was tops.

We were both hooked and would often talk about our var­i­ous games at work. Dur­ing one of those days he men­tioned causally that he would leave his PC on overnight con­nected to the net. Now I was years removed from my pre­vi­ous and my next tech job but I told him I didn’t like the idea of an open line that oth­ers would have to my PC data with­out me notic­ing, but my sug­ges­tion that any­one could get in via that inter­net con­nec­tion to his PC was scoffed at in those inno­cent early days of AOL.

Over the years I have repeated var­i­ous ver­sions of those warn­ings to peo­ple like

Just because a machine is made by Apple it doesn’t mean you can’t get a virus or a hacked
If you’re cell­phone acts as a PC it can be hacked like a PC
If you can remotely access your appli­ances and doors then so can some­one else
If Alexa or your TV is lis­ten­ing to you when you’re talk­ing to it that means it’s lis­ten­ing when you’re not.

All of these propo­si­tions have invari­ably been greeted with reac­tions as if I was some kind of con­spir­acy the­o­rist but of all the warn­ings I have given over the years the one I have repeated the most and is the most ever­green of them all is this:

Never write any­thing on the inter­net that you wouldn’t want your wife or mother to see.

This is a les­son that John Podesta learned to his regret dur­ing the last elec­tion cycle and that James O’Keefe and Project Ver­i­tas has rein­forced by his sting of Twit­ter.

Pranay Singh, a Direct Mes­sag­ing Engi­neer for Twit­ter cor­rob­o­rated Haynes claims in a meet­ing with a Project Ver­i­tas jour­nal­ist on Jan­u­ary 5, 2018:

Every­thing you send is stored on my server… So all your sex mes­sages and you, like, d*ck pics are on my server now…”

All your ille­git­i­mate wives and, like, all the girls you’ve been f*cking around with, they’re are on my server now… I’m going to send it to your wife, she’s going use it in your divorce.”

So, what hap­pens is like, you like, write some­thing or post pic­tures on line, they never go away… Because even after you send them, peo­ple are like ana­lyz­ing them, to see what you are inter­ested in, to see what you are talk­ing about. And they sell that data.”

Remem­ber Twit­ter, Face­book snapchat are not pub­lic util­i­ties nor are they char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions. Some­body is pay­ing for all those peo­ple and all that infra­struc­ture and if it’s not you it’s some­one else, and the prod­uct they are sell­ing is YOU

Accord­ing to Twit­ter soft­ware expert Mihai Flo­rea, “To actu­ally charge the adver­tis­ers the money we have to prove it was you, and that’s why using email address, or like a cookie or some­thing that can track you.” Flo­rea con­tin­ues, say­ing, “You’re pay­ing for the right to use our web­site with your data basically.”

Now these are such basic com­mon sense facts that the idea that tens of mil­lions of peo­ple don’t real­ize this is astound­ing to me. More­over given what we’ve seen from the social jus­tice war­riors at Twit­ter and/​or Face­book the very idea that a con­ser­v­a­tive would trust them to han­dle their data fairly is about as laugh­able as it gets.

And as Jazz Shaw reminds us, it’s in your car too:

What sort of data can the man­u­fac­turer assem­ble from your GPS? They can hone in on your dri­ving habits, how often you exceed the speed limit, where you like to shop or go out to eat… and all of that infor­ma­tion is tied to your real name, finan­cial data and con­tact infor­ma­tion. This might have remained one of those sto­ries which only sug­gests pos­si­ble bad behav­ior were it not for the fact that the WaPo is quot­ing some­body from a data firm which is already sell­ing this infor­ma­tion to adver­tis­ers and split­ting the prof­its with the automakers.

and asks the ulti­mate question

So your phone and your car are both spy­ing on every­thing you do and rat­ting you out. At this point I can’t blame you if you’re won­der­ing… what next? No need to wait, cit­i­zens. The answer is already here. Thanks to the Inter­net of Things, your refrig­er­a­tor is already track­ing what you’re doing and will be pre­emp­tively prepar­ing shop­ping lists and menus for you. What’s the harm, right? I mean, it’s just going to help you avoid drink­ing spoiled milk. But if it knows what you’re buy­ing and how often, don’t you think there would be a buyer for that data as well?

So let me close with with one final fact that every should remem­ber at all times

All of your data, from the stuff on your phone, game sys­tem, com­puter, cloud and even from your car and appli­ances are only as secure as the least care­ful per­son with access to your pass­words and the least eth­i­cal per­son with access to it via any com­pany that you have either stored it with or given access to via an end user agreement.

Should you get bat­shit para­noid about it, no, but should you be aware of it and act accord­ingly, YES!

Clos­ing note. You can still buy the orig­i­nal Col­o­niza­tion and the new ver­sion Civ­i­liza­tion IV Col­o­niza­tion on Steam (sub­ject to the user agree­ment of course). I highly rec­om­mend and endorse both games.


If you’d like to con­tinue to sup­port inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ism, please con­sider hit­ting DaTip­Jar here.



Con­sider sub­scrib­ing. If we can get 92 more sub­scribers at $20 a month I can do this full time with­out worry.


Choose a Sub­scrip­tion level


Finally might I sug­gest my book Hail Mary the Per­fect Protes­tant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excel­lent Gift.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_103791” align=“alignleft” width=“200”] Get your Tick­ets today![/caption]

You can still buy tick­ets for our Pres­i­dent Trump a Year in Review and Look­ing Ahead event Jan 20th 2018 at the Tang Dynasty Restau­rant in Leomin­ster Ma. Click on the image to the left to get tick­ets via eventbrite.The event co-​sponsored by the Worces­ter Tea Party comes with an All you can eat Chi­nese buf­fet served till 2:30 (drinks are on you) and will include an all star panel (mod­er­ated by DaT­e­chGuy) including

Chip Faulkner of Cit­i­zens for Lim­ited Tax­i­a­tion
Dianna Ploss from the Boston Chap­ter of Act for Amer­ica
Christo­pher Maider from the Meat and Pota­toes Radio show
Mike LaChance from the Legal Insur­rec­tion blog

Tick­ets are avail­able at the door or you can get them here. Come on down and join us for a great meal and a great discussion.

Way back in the 1990’s my friend at work Brian introduced me to a game called Colonization still one of the best games ever to come out from the magnificent mind of Sid Meier (and a game that still holds up will 20 years later although an updated version with 3D graphics and multiplayer mode is available as well) but in those old DOS windows 95 games to an old Avalon Hill gamer like me Colonization was tops.

We were both hooked and would often talk about our various games at work.  During one of those days he mentioned causally that he would leave his PC on overnight connected to the net.  Now I was years removed from my previous and my next tech job but I told him I didn’t like the idea of an open line that others would have to my PC data without me noticing, but my suggestion that anyone could get in via that internet connection to his PC was scoffed at in those innocent early days of AOL.

Over the years I have repeated various versions of those warnings to people like

Just because a machine is made by Apple it doesn’t mean you can’t get a virus or a hacked
If you’re cellphone acts as a PC it can be hacked like a PC
If you can remotely access your appliances and doors then so can someone else
If Alexa or your TV is listening to you when you’re talking to it that means it’s listening when you’re not.

All of these propositions have invariably been greeted with reactions as if I was some kind of conspiracy theorist but of all the warnings I have given over the years the one I have repeated the most and is the most evergreen of them all is this:

Never write anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your wife or mother to see.

This is a lesson that John Podesta learned to his regret during the last election cycle and that James O’Keefe and Project Veritas has reinforced by his sting of Twitter.

Pranay Singh, a Direct Messaging Engineer for Twitter corroborated Haynes claims in a meeting with a Project Veritas journalist on January 5, 2018:

“Everything you send is stored on my server… So all your sex messages and you, like, d*ck pics are on my server now…”

“All your illegitimate wives and, like, all the girls you’ve been f*cking around with, they’re are on my server now… I’m going to send it to your wife, she’s going use it in your divorce.”

“So, what happens is like, you like, write something or post pictures on line, they never go away… Because even after you send them, people are like analyzing them, to see what you are interested in, to see what you are talking about. And they sell that data.”

Remember Twitter, Facebook snapchat are not public utilities nor are they charitable organizations. Somebody is paying for all those people and all that infrastructure and if it’s not you it’s someone else, and the product they are selling is YOU

According to Twitter software expert Mihai Florea, “To actually charge the advertisers the money we have to prove it was you, and that’s why using email address, or like a cookie or something that can track you.” Florea continues, saying, “You’re paying for the right to use our website with your data basically.”

Now these are such basic common sense facts that the idea that tens of millions of people don’t realize this is astounding to me. Moreover given what we’ve seen from the social justice warriors at Twitter and/or Facebook the very idea that a conservative would trust them to handle their data fairly is about as laughable as it gets.

And as Jazz Shaw reminds us, it’s in your car too:

What sort of data can the manufacturer assemble from your GPS? They can hone in on your driving habits, how often you exceed the speed limit, where you like to shop or go out to eat… and all of that information is tied to your real name, financial data and contact information. This might have remained one of those stories which only suggests possible bad behavior were it not for the fact that the WaPo is quoting somebody from a data firm which is already selling this information to advertisers and splitting the profits with the automakers.

and asks the ultimate question

So your phone and your car are both spying on everything you do and ratting you out. At this point I can’t blame you if you’re wondering… what next? No need to wait, citizens. The answer is already here. Thanks to the Internet of Things, your refrigerator is already tracking what you’re doing and will be preemptively preparing shopping lists and menus for you. What’s the harm, right? I mean, it’s just going to help you avoid drinking spoiled milk. But if it knows what you’re buying and how often, don’t you think there would be a buyer for that data as well?

So let me close with with one final fact that every should remember at all times

All of your data, from the stuff on your phone, game system, computer, cloud and even from your car and appliances are only as secure as the least careful person with access to your passwords and the least ethical person with access to it via any company that you have either stored it with or given access to via an end user agreement.

Should you get batshit paranoid about it, no, but should you be aware of it and act accordingly, YES!

Closing note. You can still buy the original Colonization and the new version Civilization IV Colonization on Steam (subject to the user agreement of course). I highly recommend and endorse both games.


If you’d like to continue to support independent journalism, please consider hitting DaTipJar here.



Consider subscribing.  If we can get 92 more subscribers at $20 a month I can do this full time without worry.


Choose a Subscription level


Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

Get your Tickets today!

You can still buy tickets for our President Trump a Year in Review and Looking Ahead event Jan 20th 2018 at the Tang Dynasty Restaurant in Leominster Ma. Click on the image to the left to get tickets via eventbrite.The event co-sponsored by the Worcester Tea Party comes with an All you can eat Chinese buffet served till 2:30 (drinks are on you) and will include an all star panel (moderated by DaTechGuy) including

Chip Faulkner of Citizens for Limited Taxiation
Dianna Ploss from the Boston Chapter of Act for America
Christopher Maider from the Meat and Potatoes Radio show
Mike LaChance from the Legal Insurrection blog

Tickets are available at the door or you can get them here.  Come on down and join us for a great meal and a great discussion.

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