Monday, March 30, 2009

Anon, here's what your network tells the government about you

Two stories have crossed my feeds regarding what can be learned about online users, even if they are anonymous or pseudononymous.

From HS Daily Wire:

It was revealed at the U.K.'s parliament the other day that the government may start recording who-contacts-who online. We note that in the summer of 2005, Paul Marks reported on research part-funded by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) into how it could monitor social networking sites to "join the dots" among criminal and terrorist groups.

More here. Meanwhile, in Texas...

[R]esearchers at the University of Texas at Austin...took a close look at the way anonymous data can be analyzed and have come to some troubling conclusions. In a paper set to be delivered at an upcoming security conference, they showed how they were able to map out the connections on public social networks such as Twitter and Flickr. They were then able to identify people who were on both networks by looking at the many connections surrounding their network of friends.

More here. So now you can not only get in trouble because of your name, but also because of the names of people you know. Let's face it - on FriendFeed, I follow an accused terrorist. (H/T Ffundercats!.)
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