Watch Dogs Analyzes Your Digital Shadow: Facebook Data Miner Will Shock You

A new website sponsored by Ubisoft as part of its advertising campaign for the upcoming hacking-themed game Watch Dogs isn't just a plug for the title -- it's a chilling example of exactly how easy it is for companies to mine your data. While I'm normally averse to giving any application or service access to my Facebook account, I also take some effort to lock down my settings and posts. I decided to make an exception to this policy and give the application access to my account data. What it came back with is interesting, scary, and informative by turns.

There are precious few photos of me online, so I'm amused by Facebook's claim that it can identify me with 98.3% accuracy based on the following image:



That's my friend Ruth and her dog Rocky, a photo of a different dog, a black-and-white yearbook photo of me 18 years ago, and a photo of me as a kid holding some squirming cousin. Or maybe my sister. I don't recall and I refuse to take responsibility for that couch pattern -- it was the 1980s and a different time.

Datashadow also offers the ability to compare various character traits (shown here against Marco Chiappeta) and gives a great deal of information about total number of posts, post times (this appears to be factually accurate) and inferred values about income, location, and lifestyle.



It's just a game -- except it isn't:

Is Ubisoft actually performing this kind of data analysis? Almost certainly not. This is far from an exhaustive, comprehensive examination of my personality or FB posting habits and the companies that actually perform that kind of data analysis are anything but cheap. The point Ubisoft is making, however, is that your FB profile contains enormous amounts of information in a single place that can be mined in any number of ways.

Researchers have talked about this before, but boring sociological journals don't get the attention that a slick marketing campaign can generate. By analyzing your friends, your links, and the content of your posts, advertisers and FB itself can generate a profile of your political opinions and behaviors (or lack thereof). Even if you don't personally post much in the way of political material, your friends might -- and people with similar beliefs tend to cluster together.

The fundamental premise of much of Big Data is that we can tease out particular trends and topics by looking at how people cluster together and self-identify. Do you posts stories about social, psychological, or political data? Do you follow religious groups on FB, or are you a fan of all of the various atheist organizations? Do you share links from science blogs or the likes of NaturalNews and anti-vaccination conspiracy theories?



All of this information absolutely is combined and collated to create detailed digital profiles of all of us, and the more we engage with various online services (from Facebook to Google Plus), the larger the data pool becomes. There have been some discussions in the past around the idea that perhaps individuals deserve compensation for the way their data is fundamentally used and collated. While the Digital Shadow Value shown here is likely nothing but an in-game value, the idea that your own information is valuable-- and that you should be paid for it -- may gain ground in the future.
Via:  Ubisoft
Comments
Manduh 7 months ago

http://digitalshadow.com/

It must be US only because it wouldn't let me try it

marco c 7 months ago

It is U.S. only, yes.

RWilliams 7 months ago

It's a pity that this is country-locked, I wanted to give it a go. I know, I'm sick. I tried using a proxy but apparently it's dependant on your Facebook account's location.

basroil3 7 months ago

"It's a pity that this is country-locked,"

Well, if they tried it in their native France, they would get sued to hell despite being optional and covered under eula.

endersothergame 7 months ago

I must be sick as well, I went so far as to change my address, just to see and still no dice. Ah well guess Ubisoft doesn't get to collect on me.

ChristopherT. 7 months ago

I'm not sure if it's my browser settings or the fact that I'm on a Linux system, but it never worked for me. :)

digitaldd 7 months ago

I've been saying this for a while now., Watch Dogs = Person of Interest the game.

rapid1 7 months ago

It does not really get very much on me although it does have 1 direct picture with Amber (my 16 year old) and Rhiannon(my 7 year old), the rest of the pictures are of my daughters. The funniest part is it say it can find me by geo data and that I am on the border of Chattanooga Tennessee which is where I last turned on my GPS while going up to a lawyers office to remove a nasty virus from her office computers. Either way it has my income wrong most of my interests wrong and only has about 9 post words on facebook to rate me with. The thing that worries me most about this is it does have pictures of 2 of my daughters (The third one is in Virginia working on her third year of college) she just got offered a summer internship with the F B I.

HerveTKeptner 7 months ago

It does not really get very much on me although it does have 1 direct picture with Amber (my 16 year old) and Rhiannon(my 7 year old), the rest of the pictures are of my daughters. The funniest part is it say it can find me by geo data and that I am on the border of Chattanooga Tennessee which is where I last turned on my GPS while going up to a lawyers office to remove a nasty virus from her office computers. Either way it has my income wrong most of my interests wrong and only has about 9 post words on facebook to rate me with. The thing that worries me most about this is it does have pictures of 2 of my daughters (The third one is in Virginia working on her third year of college) she just got offered a summer internship with the F B I.

Read more: http://hothardware.com/News/Watch-Dogs-Analyzes-Your-Digital-Shadow-Facebook-Data-Miner-Will-Shock-You/default.aspx#commentform#ixzz2zvz8rThs

DustinMaxfield 7 months ago

It's pretty impressive for a 10 second look at my profile. Although it is not extremely accurate as others have mentioned, it does show you can gather a lot of information about a person in seconds. It's not a thorough exhaustive search, nor is it intended to be. You just need to get the surface details. If you want more it's going to take some digging and little more personal attention.

If you actually wanted to find out deep information about someone, getting these surface details would be invaluable. It would be awful to spend your time investigating a false lead. This would help eliminate the need to further investigate many people.

HerveTKeptner 7 months ago

Dear rapit1

NO you dont understand,that value is not your amount of income but the value of JOB tax liability base on your job title

or how much you should or could or would make, but that does not mean you are making that amount but you should be base on the market

like most place a guard/police officer makes around 14.00/hour, but in some states they make less other state almost double, so like in place like Missouri you making only 9.00/hour has a guard

and the second one is value NOT of your bank account but value that can be stolen selling your info to hacker than then use the data to steal your password or banking info or how much money a marketing person can make off selling your account intellectual profiteer ie your IP(intellectual property ) value plus a dollar for every friend you made!

HerveTKeptner 7 months ago

they can even resell your photos or friends has email lists databases to mass junk mailers

Your data casts a digital shadow that grows with every online interaction and can be tracked, monitored and used against you. Every photo. Every email. Every purchase. Everything you've ever done in the digital world can follow you into the real world. Your actions leave you exposed

ReeneeCummins 7 months ago

Sorry, it was a frikkin' joke to me. So inaccurate as to be right down funny.

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