Facebook ‘likes’ can reveal your sexuality, Politics, Religion’- Really ?


PTI : London, Tue Mar 12 2013

Your Facebook ‘likes’ could be revealing more than even you know about your intimate life!

Researchers were able to accurately infer a Facebook user’s race, IQ, sexuality, substance use and political views, just by analysing their Facebook likes.

A new study by the University of Cambridge involved more than 58,000 Facebook users in the US, who volunteered their ‘likes’, demographic profiles and psychometric testing results through the application myPersonality, and gave their permission for that information to be analysed.

Experts created “statistical models” designed to predict people’s personal details using only their Facebook ‘likes’.

The models turned out to be 88 per cent reliable for determining male sexuality, 95 per cent right when distinguishing African-American from Caucasian American, and 85 per cent accurate in differentiating Republican from Democrat.

Christians and Muslims were correctly classified in 82 per cent of cases and good prediction accuracy was achieved for relationship status and substance abuse – between 65 and 73 per cent, the study published in the journal PNAS said.

“Few users clicked ‘likes’ explicitly revealing these attributes. For example, fewer than five per cent of gay users clicked obvious ‘likes’ such as gay marriage. The predictionsrelied on inference – aggregating huge amounts of less informative but more popular ‘likes’ such as music and TV shows to produce incisive personal profiles,” a spokesman for the research team said in a statement.

“Even seemingly opaque personal details such as whether users’ parents separated before the user reached the age of 21 were accurate to 60 per cent, enough to make the information worthwhile for advertisers,” the spokesman said.

“Some ‘likes’ had a strong but seemingly incongruous or random link with a personal attribute, such as Curly Fries with high IQ, or That Spider is More Scared Than U Are with non-smokers.

“When taken as a whole, the researchers believe the varying estimations of personal attributes and personality traits gleaned from Facebook like analysis alone can form surprisingly accurate personal portraits of potentially millions of users worldwide,” he said.

Researchers say the results also suggest “a possible revolution in psychological assessment” which could now be carried out without costly assessment centres and

questionnaires. But they also warn it may pose a threat to privacy.

They say companies, governments, and even individuals could use it for their own, rather than the users’, advantage.

“We believe our results, while based on Facebook ‘likes’, apply to a wider range of on-line behaviours. Similar predictions could be made from all manner of digital data, statistically predicting sensitive information people might not want revealed,” Michael Kosinski, operations director at the Psychometric Centre, said.

True lies of biometric technology in Aadhaar enrolment

Biometric scanning of fingerprints during the launch of UID enrolment at the General Post Office in Bangalore

Biometric scanning of fingerprints during the launch of UID enrolment at the General Post Office in Bangalore

January 27, 2012

Let’s ask the professors UIDAI cited in its latest report: Do you agree with UIDAI’s assessment of Aadhaar? Do you share their confidence in the project? Did UIDAI ask you in advance, before using your name for their marketing purposes?

David Moss

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) have been accused of making false claims about the reliability of the biometrics that its unique identification number (UID) or Aadhaar scheme relies on. The report released earlier this week by UIDAI is in response to those criticisms.

UIDAI say that “… based on the analysis, it can be stated with confidence that UIDAI enrolment system has proven to be reliable, accurate and scalable to meet the nation’s need of providing unique Aadhaar numbers to the entire population. It is now safe to conclude that the system will be able to scale to handle the entire population”. But that is mere assertion, it begs the question, they would say that, wouldn’t they.

They need independent and respected biometrics experts to agree with them, if this report is to boost confidence in UIDAI’s abilities. They mention several names. The casual reader may assume that these named experts all agree with UIDAI’s conclusion that Aadhaar will work. It would be instructive to ring them up and ask them directly for their opinion.

Does Professor John Daugman, for example, agree with UIDAI when they say that “… although [the false positive identification rate of 0.057%] is expected to grow as the database size increases, it is not expected to exceed manageable values even at full enrolment of 120 crores”? It seems unlikely—Professor Daugman is the man who first pointed out that any attempt to prove uniqueness in a large population of biometrics must drown in a sea of false positives, please see id-card-will-drown-in-a-billion-mismatches-39294213

And does Professor Jim Wayman, for example, agree with UIDAI when they say that “… based on the [receiver operating characteristic] model, the UIDAI expects the accuracy of the system to remain within the same order of magnitude as reported above. Hence it can be stated that system will be able to scale to handle the entire population without significant drop in accuracy”? It seems unlikely—Professor Wayman is the lead author of a paper which concludes that biometrics is a discipline out of statistical control, the results gathered so far tell you nothing about what to expect in future, please see   FundamentalIssues_Final.pdf
If the two professors agree with UIDAI and renounce their earlier statements, well and good.

But if, on the other hand, they say that they have no reason to believe that UIDAI is right, they have not had a chance to assess the evidence that UIDAI claims to have, they do not understand why UIDAI has mentioned their names, then this schoolboy attempt to justify UIDAI’s waste of public money will fall humiliatingly flat on its face.

(David Moss spent eight years campaigning against the UK’s National ID (NID) card scheme, which was finally scrapped by the British government. Mr Moss is an MA in Philosophy from Cambridge University, MSc in Software Engineering from Kingston. With a career spanning of over 35 years, Mr Moss at present works as director at Business Consultancy Services Ltd and can be contacted at bcsl@blueyonder.co.uk.)

by- Sucheta Dalal  http://www.suchetadalal.com/


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