25 april 2010


(ME:) On some of the dangers of internet


Again, I wrote rather a lot on the Phoenix Forums about ME - where one can find what I wrote here, if it works

Also I am not well, but I did write today on the Forums among other things On some of the dangers of internet, that follows, although it is not written very well, because of too much pain while writing it, because it is of some general importance for everybody on the internet. This is also the reason for "(ME:)" in the title - it was written in that context, but concerns everyone.

Then I should give an update on the previous Nederlog ME: On legal rights of posters + Yodeling frabjously...: It is my pleasure to document here that the problems of the rights of the posters and more have been very well and amicably settled.

Now today's subject (published yesterday on the Phoenix forums):

On some of the dangers of internet

(Note: This is a bit technical - not much, though - and a bit long but should concern you when you are concerned with internet security and/or linking posts or threads on Phoenix Forums all over the internet unlimitedly. NOT really fit for reading with severe ME...)

Here is the piece I promised relating to safety and in particular Dr. Yes's concern expressed earlier. To start with, here is Dr. Yes:

Dr. Yes:

My concern about privacy is based on the documented activities of various disability insurers and legal representatives who, in medical cases incl. lawsuits, have been known to use thorough internet searches to find evidence against individuals. I (naively, I suppose) have put out quite a lot of personal information on this forum, and have been regretting it of late (I will ask to have my first name deleted from several posts by others, but I can't find them all)... I have at least one legal battle potentially on the horizon and am not sure how to deal with this issue without going back and deleting partial or entire posts and asking others to delete quotes from same. [If those members are still active!] So the additional linking feature compounds an existing problem, as far as I am concerned.

Some members are not so anonymous, as there are specific bits of personal information in our posts which are unique, or almost unique, to us and would make it relatively easy for someone to establish our identity. Yes, the initial mistake was ours for putting that information there (my defense is ignorance; I'm new to this Interweb thing ), but now that it's out there the concerns exist.

A. Background

Now let me sketch in a little background to my title "On some of the dangers of internet". I will do so by translating a number of Dutch quotations from a piece I wrote in Dutch for my site that is here:

"How your personal life and privacy are being plundered"

The quotations give a little background as to why I recommend you to be careful with sharing or linking personal information in public.

What follows is translated from the Dutch piece that I wrote in 2009. The quotes - everything quoted PR Forumstyle in this section A - are all translated from an article in the Dutch daily I read that concerns - what is called - ' consumer relationship management (CRM) ' and simply amounts to gathering information from the internet about private persons and firms by any possible means that computer technology, the internet, and the computer illiterateness of the vast majority of computer users offer.

There is e.g. a commercial Dutch firm callled Experian - and there also are, all in all, 16+ million Dutchies:

Experian delivers information to 3.000 firms about consumers i.a. about thei financial fitness of new customers for firms. "Experian possesses an immense dataset with various data of 7,5 million Dutch families." [I.e. virtually all of them - MM.] their website announces. Worldwide almost half a billions people are included in their datasets.


"We possess detailed information profiles of over 2,2 million people we know the names of. To give some examples: we know who wants to move, what their cholesterol levels are, and who are their friends and which of them have their birthday today", the firm says on its website.

And so forth, all collected secretively, without one's knowing one's data are gathered to be sold for money to any commercial entity that wants info on one, and indeed without their being a judicial reason to forbid this happening, for the internet isn't properly subject to judicial laws, as is.

Firms are eager to use customer information


They make much use of a program Mosaic of Experian that puts households in categories like "free spirit", "educated townies", "the fighters", "successful families", "the traditionalists", "the pension enjoyers" - or may be you belong to one of the other four types?


A small experiment. Delete on an average weekday in the morning all cookies on the hard dusk. After half a day normal internet-use (number of news sites and blogs visited) you will have collected 34 tracking cookies, that return information about the internet-usage to the provider.

Or to put it in much clearer language: To possibly anyone - which you in most cases only may find out with special computer knowledge, special software and much trouble, and otherwise not. And the "To possibly anyone" applies i.a. to (i) programming things like Javascript and (ii) computer hacking in general - and according to security firms like McAfee 1 in 4 computers has been hacked, mostly without its owners knowing or suspecting, which can also effect spying on non-hacked computers e.g. if the hack is in a provider or in webbrowser software or AddOns.

If one has looked for things for babies some times one day, one will receive more ads about things for babies that day.


Data collection about and profiling of clients is called consumer relationship management (CRM), a sector with a growth rate in double numbers, that presently is worth 500 million euros. The raw material of CRM is information about customersl. Sometimes more than a thousand variables are collecte in a customers-database, i.e. more than just age, address, gender, income or health.


Wil Wurtz, director of the branch organisation CRM Association, says that CRM is an instrument that determines how much effort one wants to spend on which client.

Then there is the so aptly named "Robeco Direct":

Robeco Direct uses psychographic variables, a.k.a. character properties. In this case the extent to which a customer is introverted or extraverted. "The use these properties to offer customers more or less risk bearing products", says Wurtz.


Marketeers don't say it on the record, but a circumscription that often is used is 'finding the pain points of a customer'.


How much can one ask for a service offered such that you earn the most, but the customers keeps coming back.

Maybe you now understand what your "pain points" - say the very marketeers, amongst marketeers, but not in public - is about? For example: your SM-orientation, your strength of character, e.g. psychographically measured using your divorces and your special interests, all as available for money in secret but commercially available personal databases from your trustworthy reliable forthright moral CRM-organisation (personal data that will be available, if it lasts that long, in forty years' time, and - thanks to the science of psychographics! - with much higher predictive validity, all about your very own personal self... who may be involved in a personal deal with that very understanding and nice guy Rob of Robeco direct. )

Experian has developed a customer managaments-solution. "Decision Analytics works worldwide with firms in telecom and financial services. These proven solutions use all available information to make the kernel behavior of the customers comprehensible. With this you can develop indiviual procedures and to retain and maximalise the growth of the most profitable customers.


B. Some points

I'm pretty PEM'd so I keep it short but here are some points - I put them in a quote to make them stand out

B1. The above is part of the reasons why I am concerned about linking posts or threads on Phoenix Forums all over the internet unlimitedly.
B2. The above is part of the reasons why I think people should be careful what they put on line and/or how - in what terms - they put it on line.
B3. There is technically MUCH more possible to such firms and practices as documented in the previous section.
B4. The main general problem is ignorance of computer-users e.g. about how to (not) to use internet-browsers.

My own preference is this also set apart in a quote to make it stand out:


To remove the recently added linking possibilities the first month to three months; to discuss it more thoroughly; to allow members to reconsider their own posts and rewrite or remove; and then decide what to do, and make a new Poll then.

And one consideration here is that anything whatsoever that is on the internet can be, in principle, linked to anything that is on the internet - who does not want this can only avoid this by not putting something on the internet.

And another, for the moment more urgent consideration, is that - it seems that - quite a few members have posted things (in words that) they may want to remove or restate realizing that such information as they give may be gathered e.g. commercially, and that only if members have been given opportunities to think about what they have posted in the past on Phoenix Forums, and act on their thoughts with regards to what is on the forums, that the new option may be considered that makes ut much more easily and to link Phoenix Forum materials W-I-D-E-L-Y linked over the internet.

Facebook is of course a favourite place for data-gatherers to gather raw materials about persons and may indeed sell data to such gatherers, though I have no knowledge of that; Google is another institution that gathers very many data about persons or at least their use of and presence on internet.

Finally, here is another background link, in English, but perhaps in part a bit more technical than you want tol know

Musings on computing and a new internet

Here especially sections 2 and 6 may be relevant:

Section 2 is about: What browser to use? (Firefox, of course) And: What Addons to install? (At least: NoScript, AddBlockPlus and Nuke Anyhing Enhanced) (If you didn't do so you'll find this MOST USEFUL MOST HELPFUL advice. Really! )

Section 6 gives three reasons why a new internet is needed.

I think I have made most of the points I wanted to make.

MM in

P.S. Sorry if this is so long, but it really concerns some of The Facts Of Life On The Net, so to speak...

P.S. Readers of Dutch can find it here, with considerably more: Nogmaals computer-beveiliging.

See also

  • Yodeling for Beginners (<- page 25 - presently at -> 31)
    (latest issue - one: ME humor - The Laughter Process (tm) CoFIBS  at work).

And some of the evidence that Herr Professor & Frau Doctor Wessely vom Weasel zum Weisel are mentally sane if and only if (iff) I am not - as they wholly agree, miraculously almost!

But see here which of the two logical alternatives a true iff comprehends applies:

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
     insufficient evidence
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

"Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)

(*) Dreambirdie is very witty with words and pictures and TeejKay is - among many other things, such as alas wheelchair lodged much of the time - together with her husband the maker of

Maarten Maartensz

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