Like to talk a little today about some things that are in the news, some things that our mainstream media are talking about. As Rush calls them the “Drive-by Media”! As we all know, the media tends to focus on things that don’t really matter, a lot, or things that in the long run are not going to have a great effect on our day to day lives.
I guess that could be true with what I am talking about today. Like they say ten years from now will any of this matter? Some of these things do matter to some of us, or maybe a lot of us. They will, for sure, have an effect on some part of our lives.
The media and some congressmen are all abuzz this week about the revelation of Cambridge Analytica using Facebook to gather information on voters in the 2016 election. Evidently, they were gathering this information and selling it to the Republican party and the Trump campaign. This may come as a surprise to some of us, but it is nothing new!
Polls/Data Mining/Data Brokers
There are over twenty-three polling companies listed in the United States and maybe more that are not officially listed. Everyone knows the names of the most talked about, Rasmussen, Pew Research, Gallup, and many more. Most people know how they operate, what they do, and what they are for. The one thing they are not for is to help the American people!
Polling companies have been bothering the American people since the early 1930s. They have been polling us about everything from presidential approval, support of a black president, the biggest threat to our security, tax policy, and what church we attend. Plus all kinds of other things, that is none of their business, in our lives.
Election Pollsters work only for the political party that has hired them. Even though they call you at all hours, saying they are doing a survey so some politician can get a better idea on what it is you want him to do, once you vote for him, don’t believe it. The politician, in most cases, is only trying to get elected.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was one of the first to use election pollsters extensively in 1935. Polling companies have been used by all politicians in local, state and national elections since. The point is, we have had people trying to find out everything possible about the American public for many, many years.
What is Data Mining and what are some Data Mining Technologies? Data mining is the process of discovering patterns in large data sets or examining large databases in order to generate new information. Some data mining tools include web mining, a type of data mining used in customer relationship management. The purpose is to understand a customers’ behavior and to evaluate how effective a website is.
Data mining techniques are used in research and marketing and to predict a customers’ behavior, if used correctly, a politician or business will have a competitive advantage. This is nothing new in politics as this was first done by the Democrats as early as 2010 and was used extensively in Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012.
The Obama campaign had no need for a third party organization like Cambridge Anallytica to collect their data. Facebook itself worked with the campaign to help it gather information about its users.
Data agencies are companies that collect data and sell it to a business, company or political organization. There is software available for data agencies and individuals to use for data collection. The software can be set up to crawl a website such as Facebook, gather the data about a particular individual or company, and then sell it to whoever pays them for it.
This software can be purchased and set up by just about anyone with a little computer knowledge. People involved in this practice will also us phishing, in which they send emails to people to gather information. This is what political organizations and many other businesses do when they ask you to do surveys on products you use or how you feel about a particular candidate.
Much the way politicians and businesses used polls to gather information in the past, they now use Data Brokers to gather information about you. When the telephone came about, the pollsters used it to call you. Now when you go on the internet, Data Agencies are there to gather your information and sell it to, whoever.
I guess social media started with the perfection of email and instant messaging. Facebook is the most popular social networking of all time. There are many pros and cons to social media. Just like any invention, there are good and bad. Facebook started out for younger people but has slowly built up a group of older users. There are about 47 million Facebook users above the age of 55 in the U.S., but that number is increasing each month.
People that first start using social media are probably not aware of how much privacy they actually lose on a social site. When the public started using personal computers they lost all their privacy. Everyone should know that any Data Agency hired by any political group can get on any website or social media site and find out anything about you that they want. With a few clicks of a mouse, they know where you are, who you date, what sites you visit and who you voted for.
With a little more research they can find out what time you got home from work, what you bought for dinner, what TV show you watched, and what time you went to bed! Companies can do all this and not break any laws, as long as no servers were hacked.
It brings us to the number one question, “should we get off social media or should you quit using your computer”? Intellectually speaking we should – – – get rid of the crap! Social media isn’t the only one keeping an eye on us what about
Google – – – Apple – – – Yahoo – – – Comcast – – – Linkedin – – – Verizon
Your bank, your electric company, your insurer, health care provider, and even your financial broker are all amassing mountains upon mountains of data on you! Social media is addictive and flat-out socially destructive.
Unfortunately, we can’t outlaw computers, as they have become an integral part of our lives and in order to get things done, they have become almost a necessity. But we can stay away from social media as much as possible. You are judged by the friends you have and the same holds true for the friends you keep on Facebook.
Does Our Government Want to Fix It?
Yes, this week the media and Congress have all been getting all worked up about Cambridge Analytica, duping Facebook into giving them all this information for the Trump campaign. Everyone wants you to think Facebook got played by a very slick and dishonest company. As I stated earlier this has all been going on since 2010.
It all started with the polling companies of the 1930s and has progressed to the point that it is now. A politician will do whatever they need to do to get elected. Even if it means running to the TV cameras, totally surprised about this, and acting like they are going to actually fix this problem. I can tell you a politician is good at putting on a good show and acting really concerned, but when it gets down to it they will not get anything fixed.
If anyone can tell me anything the government has actually fixed, I would like to know? A really good example is the latest budget fiasco, a $1.2 trillion budget, only good until September 2018. LBJ was going to wipe out poverty in the 60s, we still have poverty. Bush was going to take care of terrorism in 2001, but we still have terrorist. Obama was going to fix race relations in 2009, they are worse as far as a lot of people are concerned. We could go on and on, but the bottom line is the government can’t fix anything, we have to fix it ourselves.
How to Protect Yourself
In order to protect yourself, you have to take care of yourself first. What does all that mean? I know any of you that have dealt with computers for sometimes know that you must have the latest virus protection. Don’t open emails that you don’t know who they are from. If your computer is acting different from what you are used to, sites are hard to access or are slow to start, get it checked by a professional. That is if you don’t feel comfortable fixing it yourself.
How to protect yourself on social media? There are a lot of good things about social media for us seniors. Keeping in touch with the kids and grandkids. Being able to send pictures back and forth. Seeing videos of the grandkids as they grow up. Keeping in touch with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins that just a few years ago, it took a week or two to exchange letters and keeping up to date with all the senior news.
When we signed up on our social media site, some of us probably didn’t pay enough attention to the privacy settings they have. I know Google and Apple are very good about their privacy policies. Facebook default setting is to let everybody see everything and I would imagine Twitter, Likedin and the others are pretty much as Facebook is.
You must turn off Facebook default settings. It all starts with two clicks in the upper right corner of the page. Click the arrow, open the drop-down box, and click “Settings”.
From there, find the Privacy tab, on the left, and shut it down or disable it. Switch each category to “Only Me”.
From there, click on the “Apps” tab.
From there go to the bottom of that page and click “Edit” under the “Apps Websites and Plugins”
A box will pop up, when it does, click “Disable Platform”. This ensures your data won’t be shared with third parties like Cambridge Analytica.
Last but not least, stop telling everyone where you are. Social media sites will track you when you go to the store, to the doctor, or go visit a friend.
You must go to your phone and on an Apple device, this is on “Location Services” under the “Privacy” Tab. On an Android, go to “Settings” and then click “Location”. Just like that, you will be invisible!
We have to constantly be aware of our security in more ways than one, nowadays. The way things are now, I don’t think we can totally protect our data, but at the least, we can hide most of it. As I have said before computers were supposed to cut down on paperwork and the number of people required to do a job, but I don’t think this has happened. Take a look at all the new jobs that have been created by computers.
Computers have opened up all kinds of jobs for crooks and honest people alike. Made life easier for us in a lot of ways. We have to just take advantages of all the benefits and keep the crooks away from us the best we can.
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