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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • That’s good; but think about the other side of the coin too. The Semantic Web and The Quilombo [zedshaw.com] makes this point…

    • To start with, the person doing this was using a public list of known criminals and searching and cross referencing that list though a site membership which is a known hot spot for sexual predators. You only need to do a quick search of the news from the past few months to see that this is a growing problem, and something needs to be done about it. And while you could say it is the same thing as IBM collating the German census to identify the Jewish populations (search population $x for members which meet

      • I didn’t criticise him for identifying sex offenders on Myspace, did I?

        I am worried about the trend of putting more and more ever more easily minable personal records online. In this case it was used for good, but what might happen when someone else with less noble intentions tries the same trick?

        • I didn’t criticise him for identifying sex offenders on Myspace, did I?

          No, you equated it with IBM sorting out Jews in the German census data. Of course you did it indirectly, but you still did it. This was my issue.

          I am worried about the trend of putting more and more ever more easily minable personal records online. In this case it was used for good, but what might happen when someone else with less noble intentions tries the same trick?

          I think it is safe to say that everything has the

          • You don’t have much control over your public data either. Just try to cancel your account and remove all of its traces with most online services. Or try to get everything you have put online out of Google.

            The only difference is that with public data you know what’s on your record. Granted, that’s of major importance, and in Germany it is even protected by law (which is, of course, under siege in the wake of the world wide terror craze).

            Clifford Stoll mentions in The Cuckoo’s Egg [wikipedia.org] that there should really be finer distinctions than just public and confidential. A lot of public data is itself innocous, but by correlating enough of it you may be able to infer facts that were not intended for public consumption.

            Zed Shaw’s article is stretching it in my opinion also, but I think on the whole, we suffer from too little concern about these issues, not too much of it.