Sunday, January 28, 2018

Digital Footprint? Menza menz.

Let me preface all of this with a definition of the Italian (American) slang word, menza menz.

So, this guy defines menza menz as meaning something like "maybe, maybe not." I've always understood it to mean a somewhat non-committal, "what are we gonna do?/there's nothing we can do." Which, either way, is how I feel about the topic of my digital footprint.

Sure, it makes me nervous. Sure, I worry that we will become 1984 and every step will be tracked by the government, and every movement watched. But honestly, what can we do? I like action, I like definitive answers, and right now we don't have one. That means that we have two options: 1) Live off the grid, or 2) accept it. Right now, as far as we know, the things that track us are only doing to to have a profile of the things we buy for advertising purposes. I have nothing to hide, I have no reason to be afraid, so until I have a real reason to be concerned, menza menz

That being said, as I mentioned last week, Brett Gaylor's Do Not Track documentary is fascinating to me. Even though I don't feel moved to do anything about the things tracking my life, I like to know that they're there. I like to believe that Google has some supreme purpose for me. And, if not, I hope they enjoy my online purchase history of makeup, books, and clothing. 


I chose to annotate the article "How-- and Why-- Apple, Google, and Facebook Follow You Around in Real Life" by DJ Pangburn. Much like Do Not Track documentary, the article talks about all of the different apps that collect location data, and speculates the use for such information. Truly, it is nerve-wracking, knowing that all of our information is laid out there for the makers of apps to use as they please but, again, what can we do? The most interesting discussion is the discussion of the police needing a warrant to access cell phone data which, as I annotated in Hypothesis, is an issue for which I can argue either side. On the one hand, cell phone data can reveal a lot. If you have no reason to feel worried, why would you care if the cops had access? An equally compelling point, on the other hand, is that they should require a warrant, because of privacy rights. 

In regard to the information about Apple, Google, and Facebook tracking your location, I like that the article discusses some ways around this but ultimately, they're unsustainable. You can keep your location off until you need to use your GPS, and then what? Even if you use a GPS that isn't connected to your phone, some company, somewhere, has access to that information. 

All things considered, the content of this article was interesting but we live in a networked world. One way or the other, you can be tracked down. I suppose you can make it easier for people to find you, or more difficult but, as of now, I don't see a way around Big Brother. 

Tweet Frequency:
My fiance tweets a lot more than me:

Daily Digital Alchemies-- 1/23/18 through 1/29/18:


  1. I feel similarly to you--since there's nothing I can do about this issue, why even care?? For all my ranting on my blog, I'm kind of resigned to the fact that there's nothing I can do as an individual. More, in the grand scheme of things, this of all things really doesn't matter. (Whoops, there goes my nihilism...)
    Still, even if I've nothing to hide and I'm pretty sure my conversations are boring the NSA at this point, I would prefer my privacy respected. I don't like the idea that there's some map of my specific travels floating around out there for any greedy corporation to get their grubby hands on. It's the sites that don't ask for permission, that exploit the "because I'm using the internet at all, it implies consent"loophole that I've got beef with.
    Maybe they're not using it for any nefarious purposes but maybe not.

  2. Hah on Menza menz... but isn't resignation siding to much on the menz? Where is the maybe?

    It's not true there is nothing you can do. The data detox program and other resources give you tools to see deeper into the ad machine. Learn how it works. Look up tools like uBlock origin that alerts you to overly aggressive tracking, and let's you start blocking.

    You can look at alternative search tools like Duck Duck Go that do not feed the Google ad network. You could be more vigilant with using your computer on open wireless networks, look at a VPN.

    There are quite a few things you can do, but to takes effort. Being armed with information and sharing it with others count too.

    More Menza!