Brickbat: Need to Know


Tacna /

Statistics Canada, the government agency which conducts the nation's census, has ordered banks and other financial institutions to give it personal transaction data for 500,000 people without their consent. The agency says it needs the data, including everything from account balances to ATM cash withdrawals, to create reports on the nation's spending habits and consumer trends. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promises the data will be anonymized and no one's privacy will be breached.

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  1. NARRATOR: the data wasn’t anonymized and everyone’s privacy was breached.

    1. For some reason, I picture David Cross as Trudeau in this bit.

  2. Kanuckistani kopeck transactional data necessary to destroy any vestiges of a free market in Canaderp.

  3. I can’t remember, did Reason cover Facebook asking the major banks in the US to provide the same information without consent for all of their clients?

    1. I can’t remember but is it mandatory to join and/or cooperate with Facebook?

      I do remember that Facebook does not have a SWAT team.

      1. I can’t remember, do libertarians support banks giving away their clients’ data without permission as long as the person receiving it isn’t government?

        Is that what’s wrong with this? That it’s “government”? Is it too much to ask that you not divulge people’s financial data without their permission to anyone? You might want to examine your moral posturing.

        And in case anyone thought my original comment was sarcasm, I was serious. I don’t really remember if they did or didn’t cover it.

        1. “… did Reason cover Facebook asking the major banks…”

          I personally asked Facebook to provide me with data about their user’s nose-picking, farting, and love-making habits during the last year, and Facebook turned me down. In a free country, one can ask anyone else for anything, as long as what is being asked for is not way, way illegal, such as murder.

          Reason never covered me asking Facebook for this data, either! Reason is asleep at the job!

          1. Yes, yes, totally the same SQRLSY. Some lone nut sends a random e-mail to a major company–or doesn’t since you’re almost certainly lying. Meanwhile a massive company is trying to get access to millions of people’s financial data. Totes the same.

            1. On a more serious note, send your coverage suggestions to … I have done so from time to time with science coverage, since I am a science geek and follow very closely…

            2. if you are interested in private companies that do this kind of snooping look into Palantir. The owner is a libertarian with ties to Trump. They were involved in the facebook privacy scandal and work law enforcement to sift and organize the data of all americans. Not very libertarian of the owner if you ask me.

        2. THIS libertarian does not support that. Private company or not, they must seek and get permission from their customers, and I don’t mean by simply having them click “I agree” to 7 screens worth of fine print to scroll through before a customer can do anything.

          I’ve seen many privacy notices that are a page or less and that clearly spell out what data can be shared, with whom, and what each customer is allowed to opt out of. Seems to me that’s a better way of doing business than trying to deceive customers.

          1. I agree; many disclosures truthfully say “we are going to take it all, and use it as we wish. Now click agree.”

            1. True, and those are ones that I think twice about. That’s the genius of free market competition: they can’t force you to buy from them. You get to decide.

        3. No, what is wrong is that governments have the right to compel your participation, Facebook does not.

          Facebook has not given away any of my data because I have never joined Facebook.

          I have no choice about joining my government.

          1. When I hear about Facebook incarcerating people for not joining i’ll get worried about Facebook.

          2. Correction:

            What governments have, of course, is the power to lawfully compel your participation not the right.

            1. Agreed! I haven’t joined Facebook either.

              I read in a “Dear Abby” column about some pissed-off relatives who had lent money to “Moocher”, and “Moocher” says he can’t pay back his loan to Pissed Off Relatives… “Moocher” is too broke!

              Yet “Moocher” posts to Facebook about the FABULOUS vacation that they just took! So you could see how Pissed Off Relatives got to be Pissed Off Relatives!!!

              Me? “Dear Abby” has taught me NOT to brag about my fancy vacations to ANYONE, lest my non-paid-back relatives should hear about it, and become Pissed Off Relatives!!!

              And since I now know better than to brag about my FABULOUS vacation… Then WHY should I join Facebook anyway!?!?

              You see the dynamics taking place here? The publications of “Dear Abby” is why Facebook is in decline!!! Methinks that Facebook has clear justification for suing the snot out of “Dear Abby”!!!

          3. You realize that FB collects data on people who aren’t users right? For example, all Samsung phones come with FB installed, and there is no way to remove it short of rooting the phone, which is something most normal people can’t do.

            FB even had to admit in the last year or 2 that even if you turn their app off, it remains on, and collects your data so they can build a profile on you. The idea that they’re only going to ask for the financial data of active users is immensely naive

            1. read the bloomberg article on Palantir

              1. Makes Palantir sound like a government contractor.

                As I have always said to those who are enthusiastic about “contracting out” of government services, “If the German government had contracted out the Holocaust, it wouldn’t have made it right.”

            2. Sounds like a reason to not buy a Samsung phone to me.

              1. Or does Samsung have armed agents that are immune from prosecution that go around forcing people to buy their phones?

                1. Beyond that, I have always questioned why anyone would use their phone to do banking etc on.

  4. One simply cannot make central planning bricks without clay.

    1. How else are central planners supposed to fill their information gap? It’s like you expect them to not be needed so that the consumers fill the information gap in millions of tiny transactions.

  5. The agency says it needs the data, including everything from account balances to ATM cash withdrawals, to create reports on the nation’s spending habits and consumer trends.

    I’m sure that’s a true conditional statement, in the same way I’m going to need your wallet, your watch and your wedding ring in order to buy drugs, but the question should be whether or not the agency needs to create reports on the nation’s spending habits and consumer trends. Is this a “need” or a “want”?

    1. I know I’m cynical (or “disaffected” to use the Rev’s term), but I’m not sure that statement is true.

      I question if that is the only way they can get the data they want for their reports. Since any reports won’t feature actual individuals, just averages and other statistics, why do they need details about 500,000 actual accounts? How do they select the 500,000 out of a country of 36 million in order to get a representative sample, and why do they need to anonymize the data only after they receive it? Couldn’t the banks supply them with most of the data they want, but already averaged and statistically translated? I would think banks already do that kind of stuff to inform their marketing efforts.

      1. Perhaps, but they are evil corporashunz and aren’t doing it right. Government minions will do it best.

      2. It’s like when Target notices when you start buying diapers on your store card, then you get mail ads five years later for backpacks, and eighteen years later for dorm furniture. HM Government probably needs to know your wife’s book buying habits so they can know whether to send you the election mailers showing Trudeau cooking a delicious cassoulet, or going rock climbing in a tank top.

        1. OK,I see your point, Government Almighty will use your aggregated data for political manipulation…

          One of my biggest concerns is, you SAY you are going to use data for XYZ, I am OK with it… But before you even take my name, ID, SSN, etc., out of it, Scientology or some other 3d-party hackers… Scientology did steal Government Almighty’s personal data files back in the 1980s as I recall… And use it for some totally different purposes!!!

          That, AND the problem of, Government Almighty gathers the data for one reason, the laws change and Government Almighty’s politics change, then the data is used to bust me for unauthorized nose-picking!!!

  6. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

    grand fr?re?

  7. The agency says it needs the data … to create reports on the nation’s spending habits and consumer trends.

    What’s magic about consumer spending? Doesn’t the government have to create reports on *everything* the people do?

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