Robert McMillan tells us about shadow profiles: data and informztion that are linked to our email addresses and that are stored by tech companies. The email addresses contained in these shadow profiles were not handed over by the owners but by friends of the owners who used functionalities that promise to find friends in return for uploading one’s address book.
Recent recent showed how data from these shadow profiles can be used to relevantly profile non-members of social networks. “Researcher David] Garcia’s findings showed that for people in minority classes—homosexual men or women, for example—his profiling techniques were 60 percent accurate. That’s a pretty high accuracy, he says, “since a random, uniformed classification would have a precision of less than 5 percent.” The paper only examines sexual orientation, but Garcia thinks this type of analysis could model things such as age, relationship status, occupation, even political affiliation. “Basically, anything that is already shared by the users inside the social network could be predicted,” he says.”