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You Are Where You Live

By marktaw in Media
Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:24:30 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

How where you live reveals who you are.

There's a small town I learned about somewhere in the mid west. Everyone in this town has a shopper's card for the local super market. Everyone in this town has cable. Each night the people in this town watch TV. Different ads are shown to different households, and they watch their shopping patterns over the next few weeks to see which ads worked and which ones didn't. I learned about this town about 10 years ago in College. I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.

Yes, those Customer Care and Preferred Customer cards are every bit as sinister as you thought they were. Barnes & Noble, for example, knows that I like to read books on marketing, secret societies, politics, music, decision theory, writing, spirituality, philosophy, logic, and alternative medicine. They even have some idea of my taste in music, and probably wonder why I occasionally buy craft books. (My girlfriend borrows my card.) Amazon.com's database on me is probably huge.... though it costs them just a few cents of drive space and electricity to keep it.

Very similar research is going on everywhere you go, and on the Internet, it's very easy to track your habits. DoubleClick tracks you as you surf around the Internet. Any affiliate site sends them information on who visited there and when. If you log in to any of them, they know. If you provide personal information, they know. They now know that you like Football, are shopping for a car, and are pregnant. When you log in to your e-mail, if you provide your real contact information they can send you Football ads.

Just recently my sister surfed some maternity sites (I'm going to be an uncle). When she logged in to her Yahoo! mail she saw several ads targeted towards pregnant women. She told me it was no coincidence.

EZ Pass - the card that gets you through tool booths - has been used to track down deadbeat dads. They even use it to see who's speeding. By monitoring your travel along the highway, they can see who's speeding and who isn't. They say that the data is scrambled and used for statistical purposes only, but one has to wonder.

The real purpose of this article though is to tell you about a fun online tool I discovered a few months ago. It's called "You Are Where You Live." A company called Claritas has broken down the nation into zip code neighborhoods. They then break down each neighborhood into one of 62 lifestyles. There's a bit of overlap, but that just shows how accurate the system is.

My neighborhood, for example, is #7, Money and brains, #9 American Dreams, #27, Urban Achievers, #29 Old Yankee Rows, and #45 Single City Blues. The closer you are to #1, the more affluent you are considered to be. My old work address on park Avenue, for example, turns up #6 Urban Gold Coast, #8 Young Literati, #10 Bohemian Mix, and #13 Gray Power. Notice how much tighter the spread and how much closer to one they all are.

By entering your zip code and that of your friends, you can learn about their neighborhood. This tool is meant to help you launch a targeting marketing campaign. If you were a paying customer, you would get a reverse search and define which of the 62 profiles you wished to market to and hit the neighborhoods with the heaviest density of that type of person.

One day, someone will take advantage of all this technology and put it to use for dating. "Hey baby, what's your zip code?" Or maybe "Hey, baby. What's your e-mail address?" (Quickly consults database as to her browsing habits...) "So do you like Opera? I love Opera..." (Lying, of course.)

An interesting experiment would be for Kuro5hin.org members to look up their zip codes and share the outcome. Even more zealous ones can browse the database (you can easily view each category by manipulating the URL), and let us know which category they think they belong in, or they and their friends.

Related Links:


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o You Are Where You Live
o DoubleClic k
o Double Click Opt Out
o JunkBuster s
o Anti Telemarketing Script
o Left Wing Propaganda
o Also by marktaw

Display: Sort:
You Are Where You Live | 58 comments (54 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Nice try, buy and add. (2.50 / 2) (#2)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:11:22 AM EST

Step 1: Describe snake oil, I mean, marvelous tool.
Step 2: Suggest it can improve your dating life (you can cheat a sophisticated girl).
Step 3: Visit that marvelous website.
Step 4: -1
_._ .....
... .._ _._. _._ ...
._.. ._ _ . ._.. _.__

bastard (none / 0) (#3)
by tps12 on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 07:29:40 AM EST

Thank you for verifying that I am living in the wrong zip code. :( Pools and patios, indeed.

Double click (5.00 / 3) (#4)
by salsaman on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:11:52 AM EST

DoubleClick tracks you as you surf around the Internet.

If you block their cookies they don't ;-)

Are you sophisticated enough to know that? (none / 0) (#20)
by marktaw on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:16:43 AM EST

Otherwise, they got you. And the web becomes pretty unusable without cookies, you have to turn them on sometimes.

The insidous thing is that DoubleClick is in an inline frame. I.e. it is coming from their server, so even "only accept cookies that will return to the originating domain" doesn't work against them.

[ Parent ]

It's easy enough in mozilla (none / 0) (#24)
by salsaman on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:22:44 AM EST

Just open up the cookie manager, check the box that says 'Don't allow removed cookies to be accepted later' and then remove anything with doubleclick in name.

I can see it there right now: doubleclick.net - site cannot set cookies.

[ Parent ]

And if you don't know who DoubleClick is? (none / 0) (#26)
by marktaw on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:49:34 AM EST

Which probably includes 99% of internet citizens.

[ Parent ]
If you don't know who they are... (none / 0) (#44)
by salsaman on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:04:03 PM EST

...then why would it bother you ?

[ Parent ]
What? (none / 0) (#48)
by CanSpice on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:15:28 PM EST

If you don't know who I am, do you mind me having information on all of your personal habits, including what stores you shop at, what you buy, what you watch on TV, what websites you visit, and which movies you go see?
--- I don't have a sig.
[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#52)
by salsaman on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:51:30 AM EST

If I didn't know you were doing it, then of course I wouldn't mind, how could I ?

Of course, that doesn't mean it would be right for you to do that.

And if I did find out, then I'd be justifiably angry.

What are you suggesting, that we email everybody in the world and say 'watch out, doubleclick are monitoring you !' ?

The point is, if you do know what doubleclick are doing, then the tools are there to prevent it.

[ Parent ]

disabling all content from doubleclick? (none / 0) (#47)
by plone on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:42:00 PM EST

I have doubleclick.net pointing to in my hosts file. Does this mean that they are unable to track me since my computer is incapable of sending any packets to them?

[ Parent ]
That is correct (n/t) (none / 0) (#51)
by salsaman on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:38:46 AM EST


[ Parent ]
The truth will be out.. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by ignatiusst on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:48:55 AM EST

..I'm a redneck.

15 God's Country
38 Middle America
39 Red, White & Blues
44 Shotguns & Pickups
52 Golden Ponds

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift

Did this a while back.. (none / 0) (#58)
by traxman on Thu Jul 25, 2002 at 07:20:46 PM EST

.. and I got hit with the "Shotguns and Pickups" too. I couldn't be prouder!



[ Parent ]
Poink (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by xriso on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:04:15 AM EST

I wonder if there's something like this for Canada. I have an idea of what my area might be.
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
My zip code (none / 0) (#9)
by lb008d on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:14:39 AM EST

was pretty accurate...My wife and I even fell into one of the categories (income was off, however). However you use the word sinister without really backing it up.

What's your reason for considering this kind of marketing information "sinister"?

Well... (none / 0) (#19)
by marktaw on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:14:59 AM EST

... It's gathered without your immediate knowledge or consent, and they don't really disclose what they use it for. While there are "Opt Out" programs, you have to know about them, and very few places have "Opt In" programs where you have to explicity say what's going on.

These programs feed on the uneducated and naive. Once Internet Markets learned that kids were more susceptible to web ads than adults (adults can recognize it for what it is, kids think it's part of the content), they made them more colorful. Again, targeting those who aren't 'in the know' and without their consent.

And even when they do provide you with the information, extremely few people actually read the terms & conditions before clicking on "I Agree" I would spend most of my life reading that legalise if I were to actually try to understand each and every one of them.

[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#34)
by lb008d on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:16:27 PM EST

These programs feed on the uneducated and naive

Welcome to how our economic system works.

The only way it will change is through motivation of ignorant people to educate themselves about how the world works.

I'm not holding my breath.

[ Parent ]

Nor am I (none / 0) (#40)
by marktaw on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:02:22 PM EST

I don't believe I ever said we needed to fix the system...

[ Parent ]
Use cash (4.75 / 4) (#10)
by Sopwith Pup on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:19:23 AM EST

Its easy, legal, and anonymous

Did you really think those marketing scum provide you with cards, schemes, membership clubs for your benefit?

Be realistic, demand the impossible

Using cash (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by dennis on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:55:49 AM EST

A couple weeks ago I'm at the grocery checkout. "Vic card?" Nope. "Debit or credit?" Cash. "Really? Nobody does that anymore."

Next day I'm at Borders. Buy a stack of books and a video, look at receipt, didn't get the advertised discount on the video. "Ok, I'll just ring you up again." He does. Asks for more money. I say no, I should get a refund. "Your account will be credited tomorrow." But I paid cash. "Oh yeah. Nobody ever does that. Hold on, I gotta call the manager."

[ Parent ]

Keep winding them up (none / 0) (#15)
by Sopwith Pup on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:05:07 AM EST

Haven't inspected a dollar bill lately but I'm sure its like the UK currency (good for all legal debts or something like that).Mind you apparently EU planning to put chips in high value notes !!

Have had similar experiences myself - 'how are you paying' 'cash' 'oh! are you sure?' etc etc

Agglomeration of data is a scary thing

Be realistic, demand the impossible
[ Parent ]

Those chips (none / 0) (#18)
by J'raxis on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:12:58 AM EST

RFID chips are only going to slightly augment what’s already possible. They have a unique ID, but bills already have human-readable unique IDs: serial numbers. They’ll probably also be able to identify the denomination of the bill — something that will improve the accuracy of things like vending machines. They’re far too small to be tracked remotely; no one is going to be able to find out the ID on the chip of the bill in your pocket, and track you like you’re carrying some sort of homing device.

The only thing I worry about is that if they’re strong enough to be read from, say, a meter or two away, it will allow someone in close proximity to find out how much cash you have on you. Imagine professional pickpockets carrying scanners to see who’s a good target, or going into a store and being ignored by salesman because they know you only have $2 on you (or being constantly pestered because you have $500).

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Moot point (none / 0) (#36)
by Perianwyr on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:20:32 PM EST

If cash is going out of style, what's the point of paying to have such systems installed?

[ Parent ]
And for the UK (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by tombuck on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:38:54 AM EST

There's the delightful Up My Street which also supplies such data and, if you live in an area as nice as mine, helps boost your ego yet further.

Give me yer cash!

The book to read (none / 0) (#12)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:40:43 AM EST

is Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century by Simson Garfinkel.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
For the Brits... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by Malkovich on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:47:34 AM EST

There's a similar thing on UpMyStreet.com
Give it your postcode, then click the link for ACORN profile & request the full profile.
The level of detail is quite scary - down to the newspapers you're most likely to read & the type of alcohol you might drink.

Not to worry (none / 0) (#27)
by OAB on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:57:48 AM EST

My old flat is about 500 yards from my new flat, they are both appear to be in the same area if you walk around. But according to ACORN they are very different, not sure why.

[ Parent ]
Not just the ACORN profile (none / 0) (#33)
by thebrix on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:52:36 PM EST

The problem with this site is that it gives that - and a big slew of data from a variety of other sources, interspersed with adverts.

How do I know that each of the sources is equally reliable?

[ Parent ]

Confirms my suspicions... (none / 0) (#54)
by Obvious Pseudonym on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:22:34 AM EST

The ACORN statistics for my area seem quite accurate. They don't match myself at all - although I am not 'typical' for my neighbourhood.

That's the problem with grouped demographics. I am actually less likely to be sent adverts for the sort of stuff I would be interested in because most of the people in my neighbourhood don't share my interests.

The 'personal' targetting that you get for Internet adverts will at least show me stuff I might be interested in (although strangely, all I ever get is averts for porn sites - I can't think why). Lets face it - if you are going to be shown an advert anyway then I don't see what's so evil about someone checking where you've gone and showing you something suitable instead of something that you are not going to be interested in in a million years. After all, it's not as if they have my real name and address - only some statistics for a consistent but fake web-persona.

Still, having said that, I've never knowingly clicked through a web advert, so perhaps it doesn't matter whether they are targetted to my browasing habits or not.

Obvious Pseudonym

I am obviously right, and as you disagree with me, then logically you must be wrong.
[ Parent ]

There is a story over at wired.com (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by Blaest on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:32:14 AM EST

Perhaps slightly OT, but there is an interesting story on how to disappear in this months wired magazine. The story can be found on wired here.

Thanks For the Article (none / 0) (#23)
by marktaw on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:22:02 AM EST

There are other, even more paranoid methods of disappearing. Mostly centered around never revealing your address to anyone, and having your mail delivered to an address two states away, and make sure those people don't have a clue as to where you live. Then buy everything via corporations you set up for the purpose. Just make sure nothing about the corporation identifies it as being yours.

But that's only if you're *really* paranoid.

[ Parent ]

I have an issue with that article... (none / 0) (#42)
by Eater on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:32:36 PM EST

"...invest in a pair of bulky aviator sunglasses and a hat. If you fear being tailed, alter your gait every time you hit the street - a pigeon-toed shuffle one day, a bowlegged amble the next. There are also Central American plastic surgery mills, beloved of drug lords, that can alter the loops and whorls on your fingertips. It'll set you back 10 Gs, but then, Costa Rican doctors have been known to accept gold Rolexes in lieu of cash."
I think if I follow their advice to the letter, I might find myself in a padded room wearing a very nifty but somewhat uncomfortable jacket with the sleves fixed behind my back... I'm not going to do any of that stuff until they include instructions on how to get out padded rooms (and erase any record of my visit there).


[ Parent ]
Cards, cookies, and proxies (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by J'raxis on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:02:17 AM EST

My Shaws card is registered to someone who lives in the middle of the Charles River (a large between Boston and Cambridge, in Massachusetts). I always pay in cash so they can’t see that my ATM/debit card (which I’ve only used online, twice to buy my domain names and once to buy a text ad here) is under a different name (my real name, obviously). In fact, there have been stories on K5 about these cards before and I remember a lot of people make up junk for these cards.

All my untrusted-website registrations use my junk jraxis@hotmail.com address, so they can target that as much as they want: about as useful as throwing their spam against a wall. My JunkBuster proxy blocks all cookies I don’t want getting through, plus Mozilla blocks specific sites’ cookies that I know I do not want getting through, for when I’m not using my proxy.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

EZ Pass (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by ROBOKATZ on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:21:42 AM EST

EZ Pass - the card that gets you through tool booths - has been used to track down deadbeat dads

Wasn't this from an episode of Law and Order?

Kinda (none / 0) (#25)
by nosilA on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:38:16 AM EST

On the Law&Order episode, it was used as evidence in a murder, but it turned out that wife was using the husband's car that night.  

Why yes, I do watch too much Law&Order - I have a TiVo, what else am I supposed to do?

Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

Ah yes. (none / 0) (#50)
by ROBOKATZ on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:42:29 AM EST

I remember that one now. I was getting it mixed up with the one where the dead beat dad is murdered by the grandfather.

[ Parent ]
Law and Order (none / 0) (#45)
by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:24:42 PM EST

IIRC, almost all of the stories in Law and Order come straight out of real-life court cases. I remember that when some court case in Albuquerque was adapted for Law and Order, the woman involved got really huffy because the episode "made her look guilty." Of course, she was found guilty in the actual case, so...
I am a calm and tranquil flower.

Try the new Aborted Fœtus McFlurry! Cool and refreshing!
[ Hug Your Trikuare[ Parent ]

More Evil (none / 0) (#28)
by marktaw on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:27:17 PM EST

_ programmers were directed to develop a customizable browser toolbar that could steer traffic to BestoftheWeb.com and collect data on the surfing habits of users -- data that could be sold to Internet marketing strategists. _

Here's the Link... (none / 0) (#29)
by marktaw on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:27:53 PM EST


[ Parent ]
testing... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by CodeWright on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:28:26 PM EST

Out of curiosity, for each of the two categorizations
(PRIZM and MicroVision), I entered my current and
preceding three zip codes. Then, I read the
descriptions of each group listed, cross-comparing
consecutive addresses within each categorization
and contemporary addresses across categorization.

By continuity with PRIZM, it would appear that I
should be a "Country Squire" -- a false
categorization at best. By the other system,
MicroVision, continuity is less certain -- it would
have to be either "Upper Crust", "A Good Step Forward",
or "Country Home". Again, none of those is
particularly applicable to my situation. Cross
correlation with PRIZM would seem to imply that
"Country Squires" and "Country Home" would be the
best match to my demographic -- and that would be
a false categorization.

Strangely, after reading all of the "cluster" and
"segment" descriptions, it appears that NONE of them
bear even a vague resemblance to my lifestyle. The
closest, by a looooong shot, was MicroVision's
"A Good Step Forward". Nothing else seemed to mention
anything else that could be stretched to construe
an interest in the industrial scene or a reliance
on computers more than food or air.

I guess I can derive some limited pleasure from
falling between the cracks of their classification
system... On the other hand, I'd rather just receive
the not inconsiderate benefits of being a member of
the "Upper Crust" classification.

Finally, it is clear to me now why I have absolutely
nothing in common with my neighbors (read Vogue? read
Forbes? Watch QVC? Good God!).

[Data included for comparison]:

PRIZM (current):          MicroVision (current):
 11 Second City Elite      1 Upper Crust
 12 Upward Bound           8 Movers And Shakers
 14 Country Squires        12 A Good Step Forward
 17 Greenbelt Families     3 Established Wealth
 32 Middleburg Managers    16 Country Home Families

 PRIZM (one back):         MicroVision (one back):
 1 Blue Blood Estates      1 Upper Crust
 2 Winner's Circle         12 A Good Step Forward
 14 Country Squires        2 Lap Of Luxury
 18 Young Influentials     6 Good Family Life
 19 New Empty Nests        4 Mid-Life Success

 PRIZM (two back):         MicroVision (two back):
 13 Gray Power             16 Country Home Families
 14 Country Squires        6 Good Family Life
 34 Starter Families       39 On Their Own
 42 New Eco-topia          20 Secure Adults
 55 Mines & Mills          4 Mid-Life Success

 PRIZM (three back):      MicroVision50 (three back):
 <not listed>              1 Upper Crust
                           2 Lap Of Luxury
                           3 Established Wealth
                           4 Mid-Life Success
                           5 Prosperous Metro Mix

Closing note: I tried entering "bogus" zip codes
and received error messages. For the zip code that
did not return a listing, I did not get an error
code -- it just churned for a long time and
returned an empty set. I wonder if there is some
kind of "intentional hole" in the market research
coverage for the area that listed as 1-5 in the
MicroVision segments.

"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --

what the numbers say vs what the heart says (none / 0) (#32)
by speek on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:44:42 PM EST

They're defining you by where your money goes. People usually define themselves based on their interests and occupation. Although you may describe yourself as needing computers more than food or air, I doubt that's what the money trail reveals. Which is not to say they're right, and you're wrong, but, rather, that they are measuring something other than "who you are". They are measuring "what your money does".

what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

but they are wrong (none / 0) (#35)
by CodeWright on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:18:54 PM EST

If you read the descriptions of those "clusters" or "segments", you won't see a description of someone who eats a meagre diet of rice, stir-fry, and ramen, only watches Junkyard Wars on TV, listens almost exclusively to industrial music, and spends the bulk of his (decent) monthly income on computer-related stuff.

Out of my monthly income, about half to two-thirds goes to household maintenance/mortgage, 15% to car payments, 10% to food, and the remainder to computer-stuff.

I don't think that the demographic I described is unique to me, but it doesn't seem to match up with the geographic categorization system that they use. In fact, I suspect a not insignificant number of my peers (25-35 years old, single technology sector professional) fits into a similar demographic. If there wasn't such a demographic, Slashdot wouldn't make any ad revenue.

Hence my conclusion that I seem to be misrepresented in their categorization system.

"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
But Enough People In Your Neighborhood Are (none / 0) (#38)
by marktaw on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:00:54 PM EST

You yourself may not fit into any of the categories for your neighborhoods, but you probably fit close enough to one of them for them to find you.

Young technology folk are too much of a fringe/niche market to neatly fall into a system like this. Which is why they get you via your Verisign registrations and such.

And so, you're an oddball. You'll throw the ads for farm equipment out, a lot of your neighbors won't. If you were in a neighborhood that more closely matched your demographic, the ads there would fit your profile more.

I think most people can find some affiliation, at least from a marketing standpoint, within the YAWYL system. I know I fall into a number of categories, or would likely respond to marketing aimed at my category.

[ Parent ]

Slightly missing the point (none / 0) (#43)
by CodeWright on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 04:02:55 PM EST

What I was trying to say is that I do fit into my neighborhood. By virtue of my employment, I am able to afford living in upper middle class digs -- those who share my demographic niche have similar places of abode (I know of a good dozen people who live in the general area I do who probably fit into a similar demographic to myself).

It appears, however, that these marketing companies are about 10-15 years behind the times in developing their classifications, or at least in targeting consumer goods to their classifications.

I presume that the economic niche into which I fall bears some similarity to the Young Upwardly Mobile Professionals of the 80's, but with distinctly different social/personal interests. As I am an inveterate consumer (I buy at least 2-4 brand new computers a year for personal use, if not more), it would seem to behoove the marketing and advertising companies to recognize and focus their efforts on my demographic. This, obviously, they are not doing.

I guess the point of all this is that I am in a neighborhood that matches my demographic (affluent exburban detached condominiums in out-of-the-way quasi-gated pastoral communities), but that the advertising companies are blind to it.

The surprising thing to me is that none of the possible demographic groups suggested for my zip code had any connection with my lifestyle (or that of my peers). I believe that this is a reflection of lacking insight by marketing research companies.

"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Yes, yes, technology requires value judgements (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by bsletten on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:42:41 PM EST

But along with every potential to surrender privacy is a chance to increase convenience. There are more things to life than convenience, but if I spend less time sitting in traffic at toll booths, I can spend it elsewhere.

You can choose to use cash for everything, but then you must make sure you always have cash (a burden on you) and you must make sure you are watchful (the identityless nature of cash makes it a prime target for others to take from you).

I appreciate the need for anonymity at times, but if you think about it, targetted advertising isn't such a bad thing. If it isn't noise (I don't particularly care about feminie hygiene products, mineral supplements for the elderly or ultra absorbent diapers), it can become information.

Are people going to use whatever information about you that they can? Probably.

Could that sometimes be to your benefit? Definitely.

It's appropriate to have technical and legislative throttles on the types and kinds of information that is available to others but let's stop using such reactionary, categorical brush strokes. Life and technology are not black and white.

Heh... (none / 0) (#37)
by aakin on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:36:44 PM EST

Got 1,2,3,4,5 under prizm. Didn't try the other one. I'm doing something wrong with my life, apparently.

urm... (none / 0) (#53)
by mdtphillips on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:52:21 AM EST

I got 1, 2, 3, 4, 47. And I'm in the 47...
-- The avalanche has begun. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.
[ Parent ]
Pathetically Wrong! (none / 0) (#39)
by greyrat on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:01:10 PM EST

Reading the statistics is like getting a read from Cleo & friends. Even if it does match up, it means nothing!
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

What a big tree. (none / 0) (#41)
by nutate on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:31:12 PM EST

Well, that's a fun link. I think being afraid of demographics is akin to being afraid of the dark. Sure you can leave the lights on, but studies have shown it will make you nearsighted.

So, I've seen the wired article, outside of physical mutilation you aren't going to become invisible. Before there were numbers linking you to a transaction, the authorities could use eye witnesses, both methods of id are fallible.

Demographics help limn what people might want to purchase and connect sellers to potential markets. It's not perfect. I doubt anyone consciously wants to turn into one of 62 possible people of the PRISM classification. I like to think that I represent more than just what I pay and am willing to pay money for.

If you're worried about your anonymity, you're just that much more likely to be some sort of crazy threat to me. If you're a stranger that's fine, but if you take to using a false name upon introduction to me it just makes it that much less likely that I will give a damn about you. My name is Rich and my current zip is 11217. I'll leave the rest up to you folks.


Ack (4.00 / 2) (#46)
by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:35:43 PM EST

Yet another site which uses Javascript to reimplement form submission... WTF?
I am a calm and tranquil flower.

Try the new Aborted Fœtus McFlurry! Cool and refreshing!
[ Hug Your Trikuare

Some of the pictures... (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by ktakki on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:34:58 PM EST

...are hilarious, like this one.

That laptop! I think it's a Zenith Model ZWL-183-92, 4.77MHz 8088, 640K, 3.5" floppy. You could overclock that bad boy all the way to 6MHz.

The babe! Her hair! That kerchief!

The dude! His hair! That cardigan!

This photo has all the yummy retro goodness of a forgotten 1981 Radio Shack catalog that fell behind a file cabinet twenty years ago. Now that I think of it, Heathkit used to sell semi-assembled Zenith products; this photo could have come from a Heath catalog whose content was repurposed for a shovelware stock photo collection.

Whatever the photo's provenance, I can't help looking at it. The roaring fire in the stone hearth, the papers spread over the table (this must predate all that "paperless office" hype), the cup of coffee perched by his elbow, waiting to be slyly nudged into her lap -- "Oh, I'm so sorry, let me help with that..." "No, no, it's okay." -- a chain of events that ends up with the two of them naked and entangled on the thick shag carpet. The Murgatroid account can wait. Let's make lurrrvve.

A most excellent picture, indeed.

"In spite of everything, I still believe that people
are really good at heart." - Anne Frank

The Spooky Thing Is, How Do They Know My Name? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by marktaw on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:04:13 PM EST

This article in Popular Science about privacy was particularly spooky for me.

7:20 am: ATM
Mark withdraws $100 at his bank's ATM machine.

The article also reminded me about NYC DOT's Real-Time Traffic Cameras. And multiple hidden webcams I learned were placed on Bourbon street when I went to New Orleans. We used them as a fun way to send a postcard home - instant postcard to someone with internet access.

Oh goodie, I'm afluent! (none / 0) (#56)
by 0xdeadbeef on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:04:18 AM EST

Last address:

1, 2, 3, 18, 24

Current address:

4, 13. 18, 24, 49

I guess I'm 18.  I snear at the plebes in 24.

Seriously, the second address is a pretty accurate description, but I don't know what they were smoking for that first one.  I moved to that area from my current one, and came back because it was a bleak suburban shithole.

darn (none / 0) (#57)
by anon868 on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:13:09 PM EST

Alas, I am nothing, as I live in Canada.
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
You Are Where You Live | 58 comments (54 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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