[Foundation-l] Wikipedia tracks user behaviour via third party companies

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen cimonavaro at gmail.com
Fri Jun 5 03:08:14 UTC 2009

Neil Harris wrote:
> John at Darkstar wrote:
>> The interesting thing is "who has interest in which users identity".
>> Lets make an example, some organization sets up a site with a honeypot
>> and logs all visitors. Then they correlates that with RC-logs from
>> Wikipedia and then checks out who adds external links back to
>> themselves. They do not need direct access to Wikipedia logs or the raw
>> traffic.
>> There is only one valid reason as I see it to avoid certain stat
>> engines, and that is to block advertising companies from getting
>> information about the readers. The writers does not have any real
>> anonymity at all.
>> John
> Indeed they could. But even so, they would still have great difficulty 
> in getting more than a small fraction of Wikipedia's readers to both 
> visit the honeypot and make an edit that links to it, and the vast 
> majority of unaffected users will still avoid being bitten by this 
> attack. And even then, they will still only have obtained a mapping 
> between the user's current IP and their Wikipedia account, and will 
> still have to correlate this back to a personal identity, which is often 
> harder than it might seem to be in theory.
> The world is a dangerous place, but just because privacy and security 
> can never be absolute is not a reason to make good faith efforts to 
> preserve it as much of both as reasonably possible within the limits of 
> time and resources available.
> Just because a door can be knocked down with a sledgehammer (or a wall 
> demolished with a pneumatic hammer) is not a reason not to have a lock 
> on it, or a door there in the first place.
> -- Neil

The Finnish folk saying has it that locks are there against
honest folk, not against thieves.

That is any lock can be compromised by determined enough
pursuivants, but are a significant signal and sense that what
is on the other side is not a matter for all passersby.


Jussi-Ville Heiskanen

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