The Man Who Can't Face The Internet

Peripart

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#1
I couldn't find a thread for exactly this sort of thing, but I thought it was an interesting topic, so I've started one. If it gains any interest, and the discussion widens, I have no problem with a kindly Mod moving or renaming it.

A man named Jonathan Hirshon has make it his mission to remain faceless on the internet, wanting there to be no photos online which identify him. Having read the article in full, I'm still unsure what to make of him. I'm torn between, in no particular order, clever, stupid, narcissistic, paranoid, and a few others:

Earlier this month, Facebook announced it would be using facial recognition to let users know every time a photo of them had been uploaded to the site.

Such a feature would be extremely useful to one man - public-relations professional Jonathan Hirshon, who has managed to stay anonymous on the social network for the past 20 years.

He has more than 3,000 friends on Facebook and regularly updates his profile with personal information - where he is going on holiday, what he has cooked for dinner and the state of his health.

But what he has never shared on the social network, or anywhere else online, is a picture of himself.

It is, he said, his way of "screaming my privacy to the world".

"I choose to share virtually everything about myself on social media, but my face is the essence of me individually and this is about refusing to give up the last piece of identifiable information that I can control."

One of the big debates of 2018 is going to be around our personal information - how we share it, what Facebook, Amazon and Google do with it and what should happen when it is stolen or hacked.

Part of that discussion will be played out in tough new EU laws coming into force in May, which aim to give citizens back control of their data.

Some believe the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will turn personal data into a commodity - as valuable as oil - that citizens can share and sell for their own benefit.

Mr Hirshon wishes the US would instigate similar laws but is doubtful that it will immediately lead to citizens getting rich on their own information.

"I'm totally in favour of it but in order to accomplish that, people will have to totally change their mindset when using social media.

"Right now, we enjoy them as [a] totally free service monetised by ads targeted very specifically at us because the services know so much about us.

"Until such time as we choose to pay for these services, when [we have] the option of keeping our data private and monetising it ourselves, the idea will remain just that - an idea."

He is also well aware that the internet is the least anonymous place on Earth.

"Privacy is an illusion - the reality is that as you go across the internet, you leave traces of yourself everywhere."
Full article on the Beeb:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-42265053

Part of my reason for being in two minds about this is that I think he's completely missed the best (and most obvious ) way to limit the number of photos of oneself on Facebook - don't join it in the first place. On the other hand, he probably finds FB useful as a tool, but doesn't want to buy in to the "show yourself to the world" business that seems to go with it. Then again, letting articles be written about him and his quest for relative anonymity, well that seems counterproductive.

My favourite thing to come out of that article is his "Spartacus hack" - fill the web with pictures of strangers tagged as you, and no-one will know which, if any, are real. That works in my case, though not through anything I've done. I'm in no way famous, but there is someone extremely famous who shares my name, so Google me, and you'll be flooded with pictures of him!
 

EnolaGaia

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#3
... Part of my reason for being in two minds about this is that I think he's completely missed the best (and most obvious ) way to limit the number of photos of oneself on Facebook - don't join it in the first place.
You're exactly right ... The only way to ensure you can't lose at a game is to avoid playing it.


On the other hand, he probably finds FB useful as a tool, but doesn't want to buy in to the "show yourself to the world" business that seems to go with it. Then again, letting articles be written about him and his quest for relative anonymity, well that seems counterproductive.
The fact he posts a lot of personal update data makes it relatively easy to track down any non-Facebook photos there may be of him. It also leaves him exposed to one of the more risky aspects of posting too much personal information - i.e., when his home may be vacant; where he'll be; etc.

He has a notably strange concept of anonymity - one which arguably has nothing to do with anonymity at all.


My favourite thing to come out of that article is his "Spartacus hack" - fill the web with pictures of strangers tagged as you, and no-one will know which, if any, are real. ...
It's pretty obvious he's trying to have it both ways (maintain privacy plus broadcast himself to a wider audience).

The part I find odd is that his desire for privacy / anonymity seems to extend no farther than his visual appearance. He's apparently comfortable sharing a lot of other personal data. Keeping your facial image secret only protects you from people you might encounter in the 'real' world. He's doing little or nothing to protect himself from other types of intrusions or exploitations.
 

GNC

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#4
I agree, I suspect even those not on Facebook or Twitter could have a fairly accurate profile of them assembled from their internet activity. But as discussed elsewhere, the internet is a narcissist's dream: so many places to broadcast yourself and have yourself broadcast back at you in Likes and other affirmations.
 

EnolaGaia

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#5
... I suspect even those not on Facebook or Twitter could have a fairly accurate profile of them assembled from their internet activity.
I can assure you that is the case. It just takes more effort and time.


But as discussed elsewhere, the internet is a narcissist's dream: so many places to broadcast yourself and have yourself broadcast back at you in Likes and other affirmations.
Yep ... They bait themselves with their own vanity. It's not just 'fish in a barrel' - it's 'fish in a barrel already hungry for the hook.'
 

GNC

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#6
I will say, the Internet is not necessarily a bad thing, you can have someone who never leaves their house chatting with someone who's been around the world twice and they will find something in common, so it does bring the world together.

It's just that it remains fraught with pitfalls, especially when one person finds they are not having their opinions reflected back at them as much as they would want (or demand). Like any communication technology, it ain't what you do it's the way that you do it.
 

Min Bannister

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#7
The part I find odd is that his desire for privacy / anonymity seems to extend no farther than his visual appearance. He's apparently comfortable sharing a lot of other personal data.
My reading of it is that he started off his wanting to keep this one thing private and it has become a sort of game now. The only problem is, now that he has gone so public with it, surely it has now made it someone else's game to get photos of him on the internet!
 

Ermintruder

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#9
I view it as being narcissistic posturing, or some form of inadvertant point-proving exercise taken to the nth degree (as per @Min Bannister 's point)

Assuming he is a real person (many Facebook profiles are entirely-false) it would become a legitimate sport to photograph him, and out his substancy.

The thing is, we all have suspicions that we know who he is already. Members of FTMB....I give you Lord Buckethead (parliamentary adversary of Rt Hon Theresa May PM UK)
 

henry

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#15
a close neighbour, friend and septagenarian was among other things (ive made occasional mention of him here) a masked wrestler in the 60s/70s ... called the Outlaw ... more correctly, he was one of many who fought wearing that mask, fights were rotated amongst the Outlaws, allowing injuries to be recovered from, week-on-week ... not sure what they did about tattoos etc
 

GNC

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#18
There was a classic Arena documentary about Sir Peter Blake painting Kendo's portrait (Sir Pete's a big fan). Kendo refused to talk in it at all, and had an "interpreter"/minder to order everyone about. It might be on iPlayer still. The painting was of the wrestler wearing his mask, which is kind of appropriate but also kind of ridiculous.
 
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#19
I don't get this at all to be honest. i've been on the internet since the mid 90's, there are no photo's of me at all online, my name isn't on the internet at all. i'm on facebook twice, one under a man's name and one under a womans, neither my real name, and i'm on twitter under a nickname, no photo's on any social media .Is not having your identity on the internet weird?
 

henry

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#20
be interesting, given a lead-in, to see how much could be fathomed about you
 

Dr_Baltar

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#21
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#23
I don't get this at all to be honest. i've been on the internet since the mid 90's, there are no photo's of me at all online, my name isn't on the internet at all. i'm on facebook twice, one under a man's name and one under a womans, neither my real name, and i'm on twitter under a nickname, no photo's on any social media .Is not having your identity on the internet weird?
Unusual, but the case for it being sensible is increasing daily.
 

Tribble

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#24
I view it as being narcissistic posturing, or some form of inadvertant point-proving exercise taken to the nth degree (as per @Min Bannister 's point)

Assuming he is a real person (many Facebook profiles are entirely-false) it would become a legitimate sport to photograph him, and out his substancy.

The thing is, we all have suspicions that we know who he is already. Members of FTMB....I give you Lord Buckethead (parliamentary adversary of Rt Hon Theresa May PM UK)
Lord Buckethead is no longer, thanks to copyright disputes, Lord Buckethead.

(Warning : politics)

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/26/lord-buckethead-double-trouble-theresa-may
 

INT21

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#25
It's just that it remains fraught with pitfalls, especially when one person finds they are not having their opinions reflected back at them as much as they would want (or demand). Like any communication technology, it ain't what you do it's the way that you do it.
Funny you should mention that ...;)
 

Shady

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#27
I have one pic on here somewhere and i believe that is it, i haven't looked for any info on myself as that may put my name on the internet
 

INT21

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#28
It would put your name on the net as far as a search subject goes. But not a problem if it isn't part of your Email address. At least I don't think it would be.

You would just be looking for a name.
 

XBergMann

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#29
I don't get this at all to be honest. i've been on the internet since the mid 90's, there are no photo's of me at all online, my name isn't on the internet at all. i'm on facebook twice, one under a man's name and one under a womans, neither my real name, and i'm on twitter under a nickname, no photo's on any social media .Is not having your identity on the internet weird?
With your 2 FB IDs covering both genders are you ever tempted to ask yourself out on a date using FB messenger, or possibly even sext yourself?
 
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#30
With your 2 FB IDs covering both genders are you ever tempted to ask yourself out on a date using FB messenger, or possibly even sext yourself?

lol! I was thinking of putting an artificial picture up on the female profile a while back (there's some site that generates them) but then I thought i'd probably get plagued by fb pervs if she was half decent looking. The bizarre thing is facebook regularly recommends people I may know (presumably from reading my phonebook) that I haven't spoken to in decades so presumably they must get my fake profile recommended to them.
 
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