All Our Lives

August 9th, 2006

If you read this blog you’re no doubt aware of the AOL search history debacle. Now that we learn at least one person has been identified as a result of their search history we can see the unfortunate consequences of accruing information about a person’s ‘habits’. Of course I refer to the audit trail the NIR and attendant databases will create (and this will happen despite government protestations to the contrary – police officers will be required to fill in a form every time they request to see an ID card and will this information will have to be stored for quality control and verification – companies will be able to buy NIR information and cross reference it with their own credit/loyalty card databases; most supermarkets/companies sell financial services these days and will request ‘identification’ before selling these products so don’t think ticking a little data protection box will help you much).

You know very well that NIR information will be extrapolated to form an ‘aura’, of course as we stand an individual’s argument holds sway until sufficient evidence can be brought to bear and tsuch an ‘aura’ could be refuted easily but the whole basis of the NIR twists this relationship so the individual has to bear the burden of providing the State with accurate information (i.e. the computer is right unless notified otherwise).

Whoever is put on the NIR will have ‘their’ data routinely accessed and this will eventually be accessed by corrupt individuals who will be able to use such information for blackmail, stalking and fraud amongst other crimes. Of course for AOL the writing has been on the wall for a while and certain people are saying “FFS it’s AOL what do people expect?” in a respect they are right and people should be using a different ISP, however with the NIR there is only one guarantee of not having your life ruined in a similar way and that is to not register.

Incidentally anyone who has had access to their bank account suspended for a couple of weeks for ‘security reasons’ will know how much of a PITA it is to carry out things with whatever small change you happen to have. If you are dependent on a form of identification that controls access to State services and becomes a requirement for a number of financial transactions and can be revoked at will (as NIR records will be) you will feel the pain 3bn-fold (as an example consider this story but with your medical history requiring a suspended NIR number).

And we didn’t even mention Echelon!

2 Responses to “All Our Lives”

  1. irdial Says:

    Now you can try it out for yourself:


    Search for any search term that is in the sample data, and then look at the website that the unwitting AOLuser clicked to.

    Do a search for ‘pussy’ fur (YES ‘FUR’) example….All the more reason to use TOR when you use Google when you dont want your searches tied to you.

    Sickening stuff….

    And you can see all the searches made by a single person, by simply using their ID.

    AND someone has been identified!!!:

    On Sunday the news broke that AOL purposefully released 20 million partially anonymized search queries. On Monday AOL apologized, and later that evening the first web interface to the data went up.

    Today the first person was positively identified from the data – Thelma Arnold, a 62-year-old widow who lives in Lilburn, Georgia.

    Based on searches ranging from

  2. meaumeau Says:


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