Archive for the ‘Privacy issues’ Category

WDYDWYD part 2

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

So I ignored the signs about identity. I waffled back and forth trying to create privacy on important things like home addresses while trying to maintain my brand. In a way I was forced into it. Whenever anyone hears the name Silona and they know me – they assume it is me. It’s a reasonable assumption. But when some students of mine discovered, I realized I had more to do. was a porn site for a dominatrix in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately she never showed her face and hard dark hair and a similar build to mine. Everyone seemed to believe me that it wasn’t me but.. the seeds of doubt were there. I knew I had to work more on creating and preserving my own identity. And I was tired of addressing the issue – “no that isn’t me…”

So I gave up on privacy. For me it had become a lost cause. So many sites and agencies wanted my address and phone. It had accidentally been published. So many things depended on my SSN and name. I had already been stalked once and because of that Dad and I had done concealed handgun classes together. (Yes I own 4 guns. Yes I am a Texan and a military brat.) I realized privacy as secrecy was a thing of the past – it just took me awhile to completely accept it.

I know it’s hard. I mean I do large scale databases for a living.

So I went looking for a way to fix it… my first attempt was a royal failure.  I realized things don’t just need to be available.  They need to be equitable.

As individuals, the electronic medium was forcing us to be transparent to businesses and government but they did not have to report back to us.

I decided to strive to create more equitable relationships.  Step was get government transparent… step two was business.  But I didn’t tell many people.  See in 2004 in Texas – most people already thought I was a little “unrealistic.” (to put  it nicely.)

Recently though I refocused.  Now I am focused on citations for government documents, creating citable data, and openbanking.


mutual data ownership – stop giving away money

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I was reading an interesting blog post today

Where he basically ponders the loss of control of data… esp in regards to the cloud.

The current scenario of you (individuals, businesses, groups etc) uploading all your information onto the cloud without proper contractual safeguards means that you have no control over your data…

This is why I am arguing we need to have mutual ownership of data. The multiple parties get to have a traceroute of thier mutual owned data. We can see who has touched it and where it has been. That portion becomes immutable (and if the data is important enough hashed and tagged in multiple locations for verification purposes.)

We can then create contracts with these cloud entities about individual ownership and force them to acknowledge our mutual ownership of the data.

Currently you give aware tons and tons of money every day! Why do you think google and facebook is worth Billions? because you GAVE it to them (forever and ever amen.) Every single idle thought, your favorite movies, your friends listing, your best friend listing, your address, your email, your game playing behavior, every thing you would never give a survey or the government – you have given to them AND most importantly SIGNED THE RIGHT TO THEM. and yea honey – that is worth some serious cash because it is some serious power.

We need a Creative Commons style contract for all this data. So that we can create some checks and balances here!

because it gets scarier than Google and Facebook (how can it get worse that a behavioral profile of all my searches?)

well it can become a profile of how you spend your money (credit cards, shoppingcards) which could effect your credit rating (hello thoughtcrime?)

or your gps data (hello ATT – or have we forgotten about them giving everything away without a search warrant?)

There is a reason Sandy Pentland calls datamining on gps data “reality mining.” Because there is NOTHING more revealing that is being gathered on you today… and nothing worth more money!

take ownership! get paid for it! sue for damages when it is stolen or misused!


3 tweets about Data ownership

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

1) How can you tell when you do not fully own the data? when people can lie to you about it :-) #dataownership #openbank

2) How do you know data is mutually owned? When at least two parties are needed to verify it as true #dataownership #openbank

3) I am amazed at the people/businesses who are offended at the idea of “mutually owned” data then complain about “false” data

I wrote these as simple ways to explain the concept of mutually owned data. It seems there are many people who feel that data is like an object and only has one owner.

I think most data is created and is actually more like a child with parents. Those parents have responsibilities to the child data they create. Good parents understand accountability and citability. Bad parents let their data roam around abused and used and often corrupted :-)


old personas fading into the sunset…

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

One thing I have been pondering for some time is how to let old personas die. (or at least fade?)  Ever since my crass usenet jokes in college made it on the web in ’96.

I think the most frequent thing my generation talks about (in regards to social media) is how grateful they are that Facebook etc didn’t exist when they were in college. (Course I like to remind them old photos can be scanned in and uploaded… So nothing is perfect here.  I am talking some general constructs.)

But the new generations do have to deal with a more prevalent problem… Remember that time you got so drunk you passed out and your friends decided it would be fun to draw a mustache on you.  Those precious moments in time can now live forever and ever.  They can also be easily accessible. Maybe they are googlable by a potential boss or your mom.  Also let’s not forget Credit Card companies and scoring agencies are also thinking of data mining social behavioral data to determine risk… so some real implications beyond social could impact you in the future.

Some of that is out of your control (esp when your “friend” that I say isn’t really a friend uploads it to facebook and tags you.)  I can’t fix that problem but maybe though mutual data ownership and verification might help in the future.

In the old days, you could move to a new place and start again.  Now, you can’t…  it is too prevalent and easy to find ESP if you have a unique name – like Silona for example.  John Doe – don’t think you are safe Mister!  With the new social graphing tools… I can figure out you are JohnDoe78731 you are 37 yrs old w two cats!  Just takes a little more digging is all.  And don’t think that cute blonde’s dad isn’t willing to make that effort!

I think some data should have a time limit.  It was something Mark Bergman and I were discussing the other day.  He envisions a beautifully geeky way to let data expire.  It isn’t perfect of course.  People can always take pictures etc.  But the validation mechanism – (that shared data part) that makes it valuable and citable could expire and possibly lock it up.  I mean sometimes the internet is kind and does that for us anyways (bye bye ugly geocities site.)  But wouldn’t it be nicer that it happened based on a default setting YOU SET?  Especially on some sites where you have a certain expectation of privacy (ahem facebook? remember when it was college students only – so drunken pics are “fine”?)

I know it’s too late for some things but sure it couldn’t hurt…  give you the option to unlock things and allow them to live on if you so choose?

It something to ponder and Mark – I hope you do develop it further :-)  esp for dating sites – cause I think there is a GOOD business model there :-)


OpenBanking – what do I mean by that term…

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Since I seem to be one of the main people using the term of #OpenBank (at least in MY echochamber) so I feel l like I should define this hashtag publicly. (Also note I have registered and will be raising investment funds shortly so I have like vested interests and such.)

When I say OPEN I am going a bit further than just “Transparent.” Things can be transparent without being Accessible. (See this blog post for an enlightening example 😉

I admit I am a huge fan of “show me the raw data.” And I often tell Government wonks – stop worrying about interpreting the data just release it RAW and we will work with it. To be honest, I don’t want them interpreting it. Rarely does the government employee have the same motivations as the individual citizen. Therefore cannot do an appropriate interpretation without biases showing. Their interpretations will be subjected to their odd internal metrics which are too abstracted from the public. (see post on Govt metric issues.)

So what am I trying to achieve with #OpenBank? I want an open and accountable bank.

I see this as a 6 step process. I am going to only talk about 3 steps here. ( The other three are kinda out there and I have noticed many of my ideas need 3-5yrs marinate time before anyone else doesn’t think they are nuts so I am holding off… maybe in a month or two)

So the 3 steps I created 2.5 almost 3 yrs ago are…

1) The new #OpenBank will

a) be completely transparent to its customer about all data gathers on the customer.

b) will acknowledge the Mutual ownership of data btn the bank and customer

c) create equitable contracts in regards to the accrual and usage of that data hereby creating equanimity and trust.

2) The new #OpenBank will be transparent about the Bank’s data and status and will release all FDIC data to the public. It will foster a community of stakeholders to openly interpret the data like but with special support.

3) It will create internal mentoring communities that eventually will help with the loaning process.  There is a reason has a 95% return rate.  The special mentorship Nonprofits are key.  They know the individuals, the community, the conditions etc.  They are motivated to make sure the customers can repay the loan.  There are no levels of abstraction that allowed the previous trading of mortgages that resulted in fraud.  We can bring that back to banking on a large scale.

So that’s the first part of my plan… whacha think?


How to save the world in 3 easy steps

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

This is the 10 year plan I created in 2004

1) transparent govt
2) transparent business
3) introduce checks and balances in behavior
and create legal constructs when social norms fail

I started on all this because I am “Silona Bonewald” the only one in the world and I am a database geek. So I realized with the nature of things as they become electronic – privacy thru obscurity is gone. We needed a new (might I say better) type of checks and balances. And decided to start making govt and businesses more transparent.

When I started I didn’t talk much about business – everyone thought I was crazy enough in regards to govt. But now with the crash and such… I am not looking as crazy.

This is why I do allllll the crazy projects I do…
this is my theme!


Reasons I blog

Friday, June 26th, 2009

The main reason I have finally given in to blogging publicaly is the same reason I started privately 6 years ago.

I wanted a somewhat accurate record of my thoughts.  It’s sad that in a way negativity has caused me to blog but it is true.  When I started my personal blog 6 years ago it’s because I was on the edge of my divorce and had realized I had done very little self reflection which caused me to make life decisions that were not core to my state of being.  I wanted a more accurate reflection of self for my self and I wanted my friends perspectives to help keep me balanced.  Livejournal (Brad Fitzpatrick) – thank you so much for providing that!

I have watched my concepts and ideas be misunderstood most of my life.  Sometimes I have had them understood too well and used for bad reasons.  So this year I have committed myself to blogging more.  One thing that makes it hard to blog professionally is that I do not consider myself by any stretch of the imagination to be a writer.  I am a talker.  I have always been a talker (I can SEE some of y’all nodding to this right now!)  I am afraid of being judged for my writing…

It’s hard the part of my identity that I am the most attached to is “Silona is smart.”  And I hate doing anything that could possibly negatively effect that outcome.  It is way I held back on wikis at first and putting up incomplete work for fear of looking “dumb”  or just simply “not as smart as I thought she was…”

But then I found people misremembering what I said.  Especially in regards to my transparent legislation project that I designed in 2004.  And that has made me very unhappy.  I came up with the idea of documenting things on a paragraph by paragraph level using a unique identifier back then.  I came up with having atomic pieces of data that I could use the “connect the dots” tool on.  I can even tell you what specifically inspired me ( in 2004.)  I had the idea of creating a free open source social network that i could give away to all the NPO’s so they could create a mesh network of credible identities so that you could trust that paragraph level documentation and the connections made btn those pieces of data.

And yet… i have convios with people that I talked with that had decided what I was creating 6 yrs ago was a “calendar tool.”  That makes me very sad.  True, I did have Brandi Clark’s Ecowise Network that wanted a calendar tool (though could fit on the mesh net) at a codeathon in 2006 but was not even a serious end goal of mine.

So here I am at a crux point.  I am considering moving out of open government and into Open Banking.  I have a business plan from two and half years ago on how I want to kill FICO and I am creating a list of open banking best practices.  Perhaps even create a new bank…  it’s a big dream.  But that is always the way I have done it.  For good or bad.  I did dream up and do a demo of the Voter Vault in 94-96.  I am not even going to mention the gaming ideas… I did envision in 2004-05 some of the pieces of transparent government that are being put into place now.  Back then I can’t tell you how many times people told me I was insane this was the year Bush became pres for the second time.

So here I go again.  Come join me on the ride?

If you are – let me know you are here?  that was the best part of LiveJournal – all my friends’ input inspired me to keep up with writing…  even if your note is just a “hey nifty”


how to make your data useless – lessons in hipster

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

I think we could all take a few lessons from a sub culture I find interesting and kinda view myself as being on the periphery of…


As much as you might be annoyed by their inclusive disgruntled nature.  It is there for a reason.  The only generation that has been marketed to more is the next one.  Their reaction is to be inclusive – they don’t listen to music unless it come thru their social network.  They purposely move from network to network to avoid “losers.”  Often late adopter and when they start getting spammed…

So marketing people are at a loss as to how to advertise to them.  Not they they can’t be – but you better speak their language.

So let’s take a few tips from this group:

lie on surveys

switch identities on purpose to screw with marketers

create diverse identities to make you hard to track (and keep moving)

and the best one – IGNORE ADS and promise to actually do the opposite of those ADs.

So yea – the apathy can be annoying – but acknowledge the cause and perhaps you can also gain some appreciation for this sometimes misaligned group.


Google – you are teaching people bad habits

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Google, my dear, you know I love you. I have been pimping out your tools since I first stumbled upon your Stanford page in 97 when I was doing SEO for a living. I even told my mom about you before you were on…

And I do know your motto of “don’t be evil” but do you realize you are teaching people bad habits in regards to giving away data ownership?

See I know that you expire data, and do much to anonymize data, and try to protect privacy of the individual. But I only know this because I personally know many google employees.  Those dear souls comfort my worried paranoid brain by explaining some internal processes to me.

But see I worry about the “thought crime” becoming a reality from the huge amounts of social behavior collected.

Though I do things like use google latitude. How do I justify such things?

Because you let me control it. I decide who sees it. I can set it to a location (lying maybe but eh…) While I don’t know what ATT does with this data ( I mean for all I know they are still handing it over to GW even though he isn’t president anymore.)  This tool could be used as an amazing lesson to people (look at the data Sandy Pentland at MIT media lab is gathering!)

My request is this… could you make people more aware of their data ownership? Could you make them aware that even though you guys aren’t Evil… that other sites out there collecting information MIGHT be?

please be a bit more public about your policies

ask others to also be more aware

teach people to fish – rather than giving them a fish?

we need things to illustrate transparent equitable standards for open data… can I help?  I won’t charge too much :-)


How to create negiotiable contracts?

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I think the biggest current barrier to creating equitable relationships btn shared data in social networks btn the customers has to do with the contracts.  I mean B2B relationships wouldn’t put up with this all or nothing behavior.  So we have to fix this before a mesh of Social Net’s can occur.

Most contracts currently on the cloud are all or nothing arrangements.  Therefore people accept contracts that this non lawyer views as unreasonable and often enforceable… Simply because they have no option. They typically give up ALL RIGHTS to their data (please please post links here to any that don’t! as I would love to say THANKS!)

I do think we need an organization ala Creative Commons/eTrust to police these businesses.  ~4 yrs ago I registered in anticipation of such issues occurring. I just wish I could clone myself (and grant myself $20Mi) to pursue this idea too!

People only become aware of these severe inequalities when something fails on a social level say Kodak decides to delete all the data… This will happen more as more businesses on the Cloud fail.  That data means more to the individual at that point than it does to the business.  So deleting is the easy thing to do and fiscally makes sense for the business.

It seems that people only see the social contracts that are broken btn them and the organizations.  They do not notice the other forms of lack of control over their data…  Like Facebook and Beacon, people don’t care UNTIL this data is reflected back to their friends.  Then they care.  This doesn’t make sense from a data ownership point of view.  That is because we are short sighted creatures and few understand databases, data mining, and social behavioral metrics.  They cannot see this reflection and I am as guilty as the rest of them.  I also hope that society will take care of this issue.  But I worry and wonder what our “star of david” will be if will are not observant.

I would tentatively like to propose 3 settings for the contracts

  1. Transparent – All sharing ON CC enabled
  2. Paranoid – All sharing OFF only to members of friendlist explicitly granted?
  3. most popular settings- in the middle – not sure here… um Copyright all right reserved?

Maybe the Social Net’s or other products on the cloud can give different levels of features to encourage people to choose transparent…  but really the big thing that I would point out is that the most necessary piece is to be OPEN about the data being collected.  I did issue this challenge to Mark Hindsbo at Microsoft for the new cloud they are creating.  They have the ability and power to do it right.  I hope society will also reward them for doing so…

I know these need work but I still think it is a good starting point of discussion. having met the attorney at several of these businesses they are looking for guidance too.  Businesses are become wise to the fact that people often lie in inequitable relationships…