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Re: Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2009 01:51:14 -0500



Begin forwarded message:

From: "Brock N. Meeks" <bmeeks () cox net>
Date: March 2, 2009 12:12:06 AM EST
To: Jim Warren <jwarren () well com>, <dave () farber net>
Subject: Re: [IP] Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers

I read it right, Jim. I know it the article SAYS it was made anonymous...
and you're just taking their word for it?

Let's see, ah yes, the Adult Entertainment Industry are experts at info
security and de-identification -- both subjects that even long time
professions, such as the health care industry, struggle with today.

I don't know about you, but I'm betting that the information coming from the Adult Entertainment providers wasn't gathered, scrubbed and cross- tabbed by
a Warton School graduate (but I'm willing to be proven wrong, I'm just
saying...)

Oh?  I'd say that anyone who pays for ANYthing with a credit card is
a FOOL if the have the delusion that every detail of their purchases
aren't tracked and analyzed. Endlessly.

And often much more intrusively than this study described!  By all
sorts of operators - grocery stores, other merchants, advertisers,
banks, credit-reporting agencies, the credit-card companies
themselves, govt agencies, etc etc etc.

Yeah, I get that, Jim. And I think as a society we've already "given up" on
this privacy space (though, personally, I think there's still a lot of
"fight" left to fight there).  We've become accepting of such likely
intrusions. Why? Perhaps because they are carried out in the background,
used for purposes that aren't, well, shoved in our face, as it were.

But when you have the adult entertainment industry suddenly funneling data to some researcher for publication and dissemination to the public at large,
well, then people start to get twitchy.

How about if all the pharmacies inside the nation's Wal-Mart's suddenly
started giving out "anonymous" data about everyone using Viagra (wait...)
ah, about everyone that is on an anti-psychotic or anti-depressant and
that's turned over to a researcher -- funded by the insurance industry -- to
see if "Blue States are Happier Than Red States" or whatever.

I don't really care if someone siphons off my deep, dark, grocery secret
that I religiously buy squeeze cheese instead of expensive Brie, but you
know, no needs to know that I've watched "Air Bud" 247 times... alone.





On 3/1/09 8:21 PM, "Jim Warren" <jwarren () well com> wrote:

Hey Brock (and Dave) --

Great to hear from ya!  :-)  But ...

At 1:50 PM -0500 3/1/09, Brock N. Meeks wrote:
Leaving the original <ahem> thrust of this message aside, my foremost
question was "how did the researcher obtain this data?"

I've known Jim Warren for a couple of decades and I know how he values privacy, which is why I'm curious as to why Jim didn't raise the subject
himself.

I didn't need to raise the issue.  It was clearly stated in the
second sentence of the New Scientist article - http://bit.ly/ZkOq :

"A new nationwide study [study apparently available as a PDF file] of
anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult
entertainment provider finds little variation in consumption between
states."

Please note it says that the data was ANONYMISED.  And as you also
note from the article, it was further generalized to only the
porn-purchasing credit-card holders' ZIP codes.

No names.  No addresses.

This is comparable to, or even more anonymised than, publicly
available Census data!


In the New Scientist article, we read the researcher has a client that runs adult entertainment web sites and that this company provided the researcher "with roughly two years of credit card data from 2006 to 2008 that included
a purchase date and each customer's postal code."

Say what? I'm sure the last thing these subscribers thought their credit
card info would be used for was any kind of social behavior study.

Oh?  I'd say that anyone who pays for ANYthing with a credit card is
a FOOL if the have the delusion that every detail of their purchases
aren't tracked and analyzed. Endlessly.

And often much more intrusively than this study described!  By all
sorts of operators - grocery stores, other merchants, advertisers,
banks, credit-reporting agencies, the credit-card companies
themselves, govt agencies, etc etc etc.

You want anonymous?  You pay with cash.  (Which is rather difficult
to do for online "services".)


Perhaps the "privacy" policies of such web sites informed subscribers that such a use of their information would be possible (I've not studied the privacy policies of such web sites, I just look at the pictures... Wait...)

Privacy policies for credit-card users?!  Surely you jest!  (E.g.,
ever seen any privacy policy when you pay for groceries with a credit
card?)


If say, oh, for example, the Airline industry, turned over this kind of
"anonymized"  credit card data to homeland security for a study of
(whatever) I think Jim would be more than a bit concerned.

My strong impression is that the airlines absolutely DO turn over ALL
of their flight reservation details to Homeland "Security" (and gawd
knows which other surveillance agencies!) - routinely and
automatically.  Like they told the tom-cat before his operation -
it's for our own good.  ;-)

--jim






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