In this technology era, information is key. Are you vulnerable to having your identity stolen? How about having a house bought in your name? Where are you vulnerable and what can you do to protect yourself? We’ll find out on this edition of Frank Relationships.
FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: PRIVACY AT AN INFORMATION AGE WITH TRIP ELIX
Guests: Trip Elix
Date: May 30, 2016
Frank: In this technology era, information is key. Are you vulnerable to having your identity stolen? How about a house bought in your name? Where are you vulnerable and what can you do to protect yourself? We’ll find out on this edition of Frank Relationships.
Yeah. As always, those are my babies. Thanks for getting daddy’s daughter today.
Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look in the relationships with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at www.franklove.com.
You can also find me on ABC’s Good Morning Washington most Friday mornings during the 9 o’ clock hour. If you’re listening to the show on Blog Talk Radio, please follow us and if via iTunes, please subscribe so that you can effortlessly get each show each week.
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Greetings to my super duper co-host, Nancy Goldring.
Nancy: Hi, Frank.
Frank: The consummate generalist.
Nancy: Yes. Indeed.
Frank: How you’ve been?
Nancy: I’m great, thank you.
Frank: Great, great.
Nancy: I am great.
Frank: Today’s guest is a published author of books and a blogger that focuses on security and privacy issues. He’s written articles that have appeared in daily and weekly publications and throughout the year, he can be found attending any security conference that he can pull the resources together to attend.
So if you, like me, want to know if privacy is even possible, what a declaration of privacy is and how you can protect your good name then stay tuned as your Frank Relationship Team talks with privacy expert, Trip Elix.
Welcome to the show.
Trip: Well thank you evry much for the introduction, Frank.
Frank: You are very welcome. How are you?
Trip: I’m doing very well.
Frank: Great. Well, before we get too deep into the interview, I’m going to check in with Nancy to see—anything in the news Nancy?
Frank: Any interesting stuff to talk about?
Nancy: Interesting things… well, Trip, in the interest of this being an interview about technology and privacy, I saw or I found myself curious about the whole dating and technology phenomenon… and this whole idea of checking up on a person before you get too involved with them and my own question became—when is it due diligence and when is it spying?
Frank: So you figured you’re just going hijack the show and just…
Frank: You’re just going to make—
Frank: You’re going to start the interview really about him—
Nancy: I’m not starting the interview about Trip.
Frank: I think you are.
Nancy: I’m just saying Trip is a great way to weigh in on a subject that is like out there. that’s all.
Frank: Okay, alright.
Nancy: Okay, Trip, now you roll it back. Let’s talk about something else.
Frank: No, no… Keep on going… I was just finding it interesting how you’ve… taken over.
Nancy: Well I want Trip to feel welcome, you see…
Frank: Okay. Okay, Trip. What you got?
Trip: Well, you know… I believe in… let’s back up just a little bit. My background also includes private investigation. And that’s really what got me into understanding what it means… so what is I used to do that. Before there was internet, I was known as “skip tracer”. That means, I look for and find people that were hiding to those money usually the banks…
Frank: And how’d you do that?
Trip: How did I do that? I did that what—through a wide variety of systems that were already selling data about people by subscription only. The difference is, the internet came along and just when you have—anytime you have a lot of competitors in a marketplace, the price drops dramatically. So to do a lookup or a dossier, 20 years ago… I mean, you know, you’d be talking about $50 to do that. Today, it’s less than a dollar.
Frank: And where were—what were some of the companies you used 50 years ago? I mean, whatever your—did you say 50 years ago? How many years ago?
Trip: Actually, you know, before ’93, the credit system has changed also in the laws regarding what we disclose but the credit companies TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, used to directly sell the information from your credit report to anybody that converse wrote a law about that disclosure and shut that part of the banking industry down from selling personal information. Other companies have been around for a really long time that getting back to the dating stuff and looking up who’s somebody is…
Trip: A lot of the information about—that is on the internet, most of it well let’s talk about the myth first…
Frank: Yes, let’s address myths.
Trip: Because there’s two sides of this.
Trip: There’s a thing after called public information, that’s a myth. There is no such thing as public information.
Frank: What is—
Trip: The only public information about you Frank is the address at your home or business, not your [unclear] and that address, just the address. That is public information. Your name is never been public.
Frank: My name associated with that address should not be public information?
Trip: Actually, your name is not public. What happened to us was… all of these were being extorted for many years since the 1920s by being published in the phonebook. What I mean by “extorted” is, anytime the company says that they will do something unless you pay them, that’s extortion and that’s exactly what [unclear] the phone company has. When I was that PI, I used to buy—I didn’t buy—but my company bought what was called the “unlisted directory” and that was a book that looked just like the phone book from the phone company but all the numbers in it were unlisted.
Frank: So you bought the unlisted phone numbers even though people paid the phone company to not list it?
Trip: Not listed in the regular book. They didn’t say that they wouldn’t list it in any book. They just said that they wouldn’t list it in the public book.
Frank: Alright, now why would you buy these numbers? Why would people come to you?
Trip: Well I bought them because I was looking for people that were hiding.
Trip: But there are websites that are out there that are owned by various companies that has all kinds of sensitive information. I’ll give you an example of one that is out there… a lot of the information that does collected from dating sites, it does end up in data brokers. Data brokers… let’s talk about some terms and who and what these guys collect. Have you ever heard of spyware?
Frank: And that leads me to want… there’s so many places we can go with this interview… It leads me to asking about snooping on your partner because one of the primary uses of spyware—I understand these days—is snooping on your partner. So…
Trip: Well there’s two different types of spyware. There’s a spyware that you could plant on your partner’s machines and devices and track their movements. Then there are open things that aren’t really spyware like the Apple Locate thing, just go on Apple if you get control of their Apple account, you can track the iPhone. Yahoo and Google Maps—
Frank: Got the same thing.
Trip: —will track the device as well. But there’s another type of spyware that we all get inspected with and that data goes over to a data broker. These are companies, the same data companies that send us junk mail, spam, and cellular phone numbers into the telemarketing things. These companies are the same companies and there’s not a whole bunch of them.
Frank: Those are—are those cookies?
Trip: Well, cookies are trackers that when you visit a website, a cookie is a control mechanism used by the site to track for the web server that you’re on, so it knows what page you were on last. It keeps the—your bank uses it for its encryption method. A cookie can be—is an inert thing that’s on your computer that’s just a controller. Cookies aren’t inherently dangerous but there’s another thing that’s out there, that’s called the “web bug”. That is a tracker that’s silent that does track where you go and web bugs can be found all over the internet. If you grab—if you use Google Chrome in… put [unclear] or disconnect or privacy badger on your browser, you can block a lot of those web bugs.
Nancy: Privacy badger?
Trip: Yeah, that’s put out by the [unclear / yeah fast] the electronic… the electronic frontier and they’re a privacy advocacy group based in Washington D.C. I believe.
Frank: Oh back to snooping on your partner…
Frank: How does—what do you think of that? is that something that—
Nancy: You help people do?
Frank: Yeah, did you help people do that as a PI?
Trip: Well, let’s just say that there’s… I’ve got somebody new that I’ve met.
Trip: Honestly, I have somebody new and they ask me “Did you look at me?” and—because I have a different ability than most people out there… I showed other private investigators how to do this. So I’m really good at looking at people and finding tid bits of information. And it’s kind of like—
Frank: Well what was your answer?
Trip: The answer is no, I didn’t look because I want to discover for myself because data in itself can create a false opinion.
Frank: Right, an illusion.
Trip: And that illusion, you got to remember is what makes up your credit report. But getting back to the dating thing, there are companies that offer dating pieces of information so that we can look them up but what’s important to understand about the data brokers, the guys that sell that data, where they’re getting their stuff and where they make their opinions is based on a wide variety of things. Let me—let’s talk about one of the dating sites. One of the internet dating sites that’s out there collects all kinds, well ask all kinds of questions including sexual preferences down to great detail about us. If you fill that stuff out…
Frank: It never goes away?
Trip: These questions, all of these questions are actually sold.
Trip: And the company itself started out…
Frank: Well do you mind saying what company? Because people want to know.
Frank: If they’re visiting whoever. I’m not saying it’s match.com but if—
Trip: OkayCupid used to be part of another company that caused me to write a novel. OkayCupid is a dating site and what it had developed, it came over from UK, had a whole bunch of scam dating sites that were associated with it, about 25 or 30 of them.
Frank:Now when you say “associated”, meaning they owned—OkayCupid owned these sites? Or people were kind of acting like they were OkayCupid.
Trip: No, it was actually Cupid, the company had—I know that one of them GetNaughty was one because GetNaughty came up as… when I was doing research on dating scams, I was going to write, put it that in a book which never developed but what I did was I went out to Google and I looked for dating scam website and—
Nancy: What’s a dating scam?
Trip: Yeah… and what I did is I found the biggest offender or according to Google search is the people complaining about dating scam websites and I clicked on the website and whipped out my credit card and signed up.
Nancy: Okay… but what made it a scam?
Trip: Well it was a scam in a number of ways. One, when you log into the system, you know how you can have a chat with somebody?
Trip: Well, they had a chat—you got to remember that all of these happened at the same time. They had a chat that was a computer that you couldn’t tell that the person at the other end—
Frank: Wasn’t a person?
Trip: —was not a person.
Nancy: Ahh… so you’re falling in love with a guy who’s not actually going to show up at the Starbucs after you’ve been…
Trip; It’s not that you’re going to fall in love with a person at that level…
Trip: …when you’re just having a communication with amazingly spring up about 5 days before your credit card expired about 5 days after you pay them and they would go away.
Trip: Just make sure that you’re interested at the same time, people that were in Nigeria and Pakistan with open up chats with you in [unclear] represent themselves as somebody that—
Frank: The prince of Zamunda…
Trip: Yeah or an available female… You got to remember that a couple of years ago, Yahoo who used to have an open chat and all these guys used closed their chat doors. So they had to go somewhere and apparently they went to these systems. The other thing that would pop up too is what I call the “cam girls” and they’re sure there’s “cam guys” that these are the people that sell themself doing live video acts on the—with their cam in their bedroom…
Nancy: Oh wow…
Trip: Some of those sites are free and some of them they pay for.
Frank: Nancy, how much do you make doing that?
Trip: …getting data from the company like unverified.
Nancy: So… So Trip.
Nancy: You and probably after having so much—with so much experience in this area, you meet someone, like you said, you say you have not searched her and I’m saying to myself “Oh my god—”
Frank: He didn’t say it was a “her”…
Nancy: Well he didn’t but…
Frank: I don’t think…
Nancy: I’m saying it’s a “her” right? So I would have the shakes right now if I had those kinds of capabilities and I didn’t—
Frank: You do.
Nancy: I had the shakes right now just thinking that—
Frank: No, you can search people.
Nancy: Well yeah, but I mean if I was Trip, what?! Oh my goodness. I could tell her what kind of underwear she having last night. I mean if I saw… you know what I saying?
Trip: I can’t tell what underwear somebody is wearing—
Nancy: Well what I’m saying is, it can—
Trip: …where your last [unclear /podcast] and…
Trip; Because the police have cameras on their car and they take pictures of the cars you see in the video cameras at the intersections?
Trip: Plans, unions, cells, all of that data. So if I think you’re cute and I grab your license plate, for $30 I can get pictures of your car every time a police officer went by it or it went through an intersection.
Trip: With the time and date.
Nancy: And who you were with…
Nancy: If they were in the car…
Trip: Yeah, if somebody is near the car when the picture gets taken or if it’s a right angle and they can see it through the windshield, yeah. I can look inside, you can get a picture inside the car.
Nancy: So you tell me where I book yes and where I tend to travel.
Frank: Where you broadcast, does that mean if you used the credit card or no matter what even if you use cash?
Trip: No, if you use cash, that negate most of the system.
Trip: And you know, the whole thing about the banking industry is this… The American public has been bullied into giving the banks, total control of all of our money for a real false idea of security and that is if we get paid from our own employer and we keep all of our money electronic so some thief cant steal it from our wallets… but we live such insular lives where we don’t run in to anybody. We go to work, we come home, why should we continue to give—let the bank keep our money and not pay us any interest on it instead, take the money out and keep it in cash. They’re not providing any service to us.
Nancy: ‘Cause we lose cash. I lost cash. I left my wallet in a ladies’ room in Whole Foods of all places just believeing that because it was Whole Foods surely, I would get it back…
Frank: So you left it there?
Nancy: I forgot it.
Frank: Oh you forgot it?
Nancy: I forgot…
Frank: You didn’t leave because it was Whole Foods?
Nancy: Oh I didn’t leave it there because it was Whole Foods by any stretch of the imagination but I went in, I forgot it, I left out when I realized I’ve forgotten it, I ran back to get it. It had not been turned in and I’m a person who typically NEVER carries cash. I had $450 in my wallet, I had atleast two of my credit cards and I came back that night, I came back the next day, no wallet, no credit cards, no license, no cash. So I’m saying that’s it. I’m never shopping there again. However—
Frank: How you going to blame it on the Whole Foods?
Nancy: I’m not blaming it on Whole Foods, Frank. That’s a whole separate conversation in the show.
Frank: I’m glad I followed you into that bathroom.
Nancy: Can I get the money back now? So Trip, so that whole idea of carrying cash, I get that. I’m listening to you and I’m thinking “Cash is still [unclear] waiting for us to stay off the grid a little bit.” However, a person like me who in that particular instance was careless, left their wallet—I wish I hadn’t brought the cash.
Frank: What do you say Trip?
Trip: Well I understand and right now, has everybody should know that the credit cards that we’re using have a magnetic strip on the back.
Trip: And that magnetic strip in the credit system was really tying merchants up for a very long time. In other words, charging [unclear] amount of money to accept credit cards.
Trip: And they got competition by a company called Square.
Trip: It just a little device you stick on your phone.
Trip: Well, what wasn’t talked about—
Frank: The lower white thing that you stick into the… jack.
Nancy: Mic section.
Trip: Yeah, you stick it into your iPhone, you stick it into your android and you can take a credit card.
Frank: Paypal does that too.
Trip: Yes, it’s how [unclear] device too. The difference between Paypal and Square though is Square was getting [unclear] literally to anybody. At the same time, one of the main factors—and I can’t remember who it was, it makes these little boxes that goes in the gas station that you use for credit card transactions, putting Youtube video up saying that Square wasn’t safe to anybody steal your credit card numbers with it. They made a how-to video of how to make a iPhone into a credit card skimmer. Now, today, there are devices all over the place that steal our credit cards from gas pumps, from ATMs, any place that you slide a credit card into, they’ll steal the numbers off the back of the credit card.
Frank: Via the magnetic strip?
Trip: Right. That magnetic strip. In Europe, this problem was going on as well and they switched over to using the chip.
Nancy: I was going to say is that we have chip technology now.
Trip: Right. But the problem in Europe, Europe doesn’t have the same banking rules that the US have.
Frank: What’s the difference?
Trip: So in Europe, if you go into Whole Foods and you [unclear] and you pay with your card and that system is on wifi and some hacker steals your—gets your number off of the wifi, what they’ll do is they’ll take your card information and stick it on another card and empty your bank account at your bank.
Frank: And that’s legal in Europe? I mean you said it’s different.
Trip: No. It’s not legal but the difference is, that you’re out the money.
Frank: Oh. That’s different.
Nancy: Oh here you wouldn’t…
Frank: You don’t get the money back…
Trip: Here we have an STIC and that the banks use is their personal piggy bank. You see, identity theft misses a lot of the misinformation that’s out there. When a credit card number gets stolen, one, that’s not ID theft, that’s credit card theft.
Trip: LifeLock tries to lie about it, scare the general public into using the useful service that nobody needs.
Frank: Fear is big for in America. That’s huge. You can make a lot of money.
Trip: If you want [unclear] know the basics of how you protect your identity, I have a free paper on my website, www.TripElix.com, just go to my website right on the front page, it says “Put your name and email address in”. I’m not collecting and selling your data and you can download a copy of my privacy recommendations of how to freeze your bank account and keep yourselves safe on that side of this fence.
Frank: Meaning, the European side of the fence or just the credit card side of the fence?
Trip: I’m talking about all—your credit information.
Nancy: All of it, period. Okay, okay.
Trip: All of it. In the United States though, getting back to the credit information and stealing the chip and us going through a [unclear]dollar change over. That’s how much it’s going to cost to American business change to the chip.
Frank: Why does it cost the business that?
Trip: Because that little [unclear] that you go into to buy your gas and to buy your candy bar on the way home, they own their own equipment… and there are hundreds of thousands of those little companies scattered throughout the United States.
Frank: They got to get new equipment?
Trip: And they got to buy new equipment and the new equipment is sold to them and these guys don’t understand this but the equipment that’s sitting on their counter that they spent 5, 8, $1200 for. Sells on eBay for about $50.
Frank: Wow. And does that mean they can buy it for $50 or it’s too technical where they wouldn’t even know what to do with it if they got it?
Trip: Yeah, a lot of them don’t know what to do with it if they bought it themselves and the other side of this is the banking industry lies. So if I’m using a merchant and I want to put in a new piece of equipment in, I heard them say “Oh you got to buy it from us. You can’t buy it from any third party.”
Nancy: Like it’s not going to work?
Trip: So it will work…
Trip: It just needs to be reprogrammed.
Trip: They just lie because they want to sell you one that cost them $50 and they want to sell it to you for $1200.
Nancy: Got it. Okay, so, Trip. You got to give us some juice, man. So I meet a guy and I’m thinking, oh he’s cute. He sounds good. Maybe I want to go out with him. What should—what’s the girl to do?
Frank: You got me at your tail, I want to know what this—
Nancy: How much information should I dig up on them when—
Trip: Well first of all…
Trip: The information that is out—there are two sides of this.
Trip: One is, you have hairs on the back of your neck that stand up when you’re worried about something.
Trip: And you know what?
Nancy: That’s the best detection?
Trip: I learned… over time by making the wrong choice over and over and over again… When I get those little hairs that stand up on the back of my neck and I’m talking to somebody new and she’s really pretty and I get that little hair sticking up and I can feel it and I get—when I walk away, I might take their number. I’ll walk away and I go. Let that one away. Because you know more than any other computer when any computer’s going to know.
Frank: Trust your instincts.
Trip: Second thing is the sexual registry that you’re state might maintain of the people that have needed sex firms is available and should be available by the state. The problem that the data brokers have and this is something that all of us should be aware of is that the data brokers grab that information too.
Frank: And do—
Trip: So if you are 25 years old and you’re applying for a job and you’re getting turned down all over the place, it may not have anything to do with you, it may be that those companies are using data brokers to do a background check of you and you’re confused with somebody with six DUIs.
Trip: This happens all the time.
Trip: And unfortunately, right now, there’s no way to fix that except tell the data brokers “I don’t want my information on your system” and you can do that too by going to www.itsmyinfo.org, it’s one of my websites and click on that big orange button in the middle of the screen and tell Axem and Exerian “I don’t want to play. I don’t want you selling my information.”
Frank: We’re talking with author, blogger and privacy expert, Trip Elix. Trip, please tell our listeners what you’re up to and how we can find you.
Trip: You can find me by typing in “Trip Elix” into Google because I am all over the internet. I like the internet and I was on it on the second day. Facebook is the idea of the internet. A system not been spying on us but setting the system so that we can all get together and meet new people and make all acquaintances and share information…
Frank: And irritate each other and send each other junk…
Trip: And stupic cat videos…
Nancy: Oooohhh… oh wait, wait, wait. I just… no maybe I better wait. Keep going…
Frank: What you waiting on?
Nancy: I was just thinking Trip talked to us about there’s a couple things… so one is that in preparing the top of the trip, I found out that there’s a situation going on where now companies are going to be using your Facebook post or your social media posts as a way of… almost like as a sort of a credit reporting too.
Trip: Well, actually Experian is using social networks to part in your social score and so other companies.
Frank: How do that work?
Trip: When we post off on the internet, this is a threat to free speech, this is a huge threat to the [unclear / descend] and what I mean by [unclear / descend] is this… If you are against the ppular decision of the country, you went through a time in our country a protest, the civil rights work movement—
Frank: Are you talking about mccarthyism?
Trip: These areas of descent and the descenters are now being tracked by data brokers. And because they’re voicing their opinion, they’re being penalized because they’re not “[unclear / cookie cutter] norm”.
Frank: And so how does that penalizations work in terms of credit? They decrease your credit score?
Trip: Your credit score is affected and yes, you will get a decrease if you drink. That’s been known for many years in the industry. If you’re—
Frank: That means if you go to a bar and buy something form a liquor store?
Trip: Unfortunately, people in our society have—
Frank: With your credit card?
Trip: —very short memory span but since 1968, if you were black or female, you couldn’t get credit. Only after 1972 and that really didn’t fix things either. The systems were still barring people and Experian, the same company, the same company that’s spying on us on the social networks has a long history of spying and abusing the American public. Most of the credit reporting act that were passed by congress, almost all of them were written with Experian in mind. They used to have a different name and who these companies are are in my book they right to property which you can get from my website, Amazon, iTunes, you can walk into a Barnes and Noble and ask for it and order it.
Nancy: So wait a minute, now let me ask you this. Now in your book, you actually talked about these pseudo credit reports…
Nancy: And so we’re talking about the big three but the bottom-line is, now you have companies that are buying these pseudo reports—
Trip: Axem doing pseudo reporting and where the pseudo reporting gets used is when you apply for not only credit that you apply for insurance.
Trip: Your insurance price is based on your credit score and your social score. So people that don’t use the internet, have no online presence. From what I’ve gathered so far, you get a discount for using the internet and if you’ve got a Facebook and Twitter account, your price is actually lower than you pay for standard auto insurance. That’s the only gauge—you know, when I walk up to somebody and I say “Hi, how are you? My name is Trip Elix. How much do you pay for insurance? How old are you? Do you have any kids?” and you try to reverse the actuary tables. I can tell you that I do see a pattern that’s different if somebody has a social presence or not.
Frank: And it doesn’t matter what your social presence is or what you’re saying politically? It just means if you have one?
Trip: Yeah, well the politically, the interesting thing it politically is… people that are politically involves—heavily, politically involved come into two classes. They either come into the really upper income levels or the no income levels who don’t care about the credit system and then the people that are in the middle don’t seem to really focus on stuff, they’re too busy on their regular lives, I mean there are exceptions…
Frank: That ends up being a large…
Trip: There are exceptions to the rule but at the same time, the credit reporting companies and the pseudo credits… one, they have no right to our names. Your name is your property.
Nancy: Yeah but…
Trip: And still until you start standing up for yourself.
Frank: I’m not clear what a pseudo credit report is.
Trip: A pseudo credit report is… well, let’s put it this way…
Frank: Put it that way…
Trip: A credit report, if I fill out an application for a new apartment, that company can go to the traditional credit reporting companies and pay for an agent or get a [unclear] themselves and pay $250 a month set up fee for each one, $15 for each report inquiry, or they can go out to a data broker and pay $5. When we use data broker’s report versus the traditional credit reports, and you do that one for %4 or %10—
Nancy: You get what you pay for.
Trip: That’s called a pseudo credit.
Trip: And there are companies that specialize in pseudo credit. One of the things that impacts our privacy that most people don’t realize is that justice [unclear] as you may know but there was a case that was brought before the supreme court that was about a guy that couldn’t get a job and he found that Spokeo was selling a pseudo report about him that was false. He sued Spokeo and it went all the way to the Supreme Court. It got heard by the supreme court and then the justice side so that’s one of the things that’s sitting out there pending. That is a case about whether or not Spokeo can offer credit reporting information as, that not be a credit reporting company.
Frank: And what about… This whole part of the case isn’t about his accuracy?
Trip: Well, accuracy in the details aren’t supporting arguments within the lawsuit and saying that… the thing is, there’s no accountability. Axem, if you don’t know who Axem is, go out to Youtube. Type in “Trip Elix”, you can see that I’ve got like 5 or 6 videos. I got one there that’s called “Who is Axem?” Axem is the largest data broker in the world. They have information of all of these. They invented the term “big data”. They invented… You’ve heard the word “demographics” right?
Frank: Of course.
Trip: You know where the word comes from?
Frank: No, sir.
Trip: Think Q-tip. You know what a Q-tip is right? Well Demographics was a company that started in 1968 by Charles Warden and his brother Steven as a mailing list for the democratic party. Demographics changed its name a few times and today it’s known as Axem. And back when Demographics was a company, it sold what the definition of what you know as demographics means. Today, all of your social networks, everything that you browse on the internet [unclear / and gone to] major sites—
Frank: Uses demographics, creates demographics.
Trip: All—this is the name of the company.
Frank: It’s almost like saying “xerox” now?
Frank: We xerox something but Xerox is actually the name of the company—
Frank: —but we often use “Xerox” as though it’s just synonymous as copying. Interesting.
Nancy: So Trip, when you talk about using the internet, I spoke with a friend last night, I was telling him about talking with you today and he mentioned the virtual private networks? The VPNs?
Trip: Yeah, the VPNs and you got to be careful about the VPNs too.
Frank: Sounds like you got to be careful about everything.
Nancy: You do.
Trip: I use a VPN from time to time.
Nancy: Oh you do? Okay.
Frank: What is it?
Trip: But there’s a limitation to being on secure browsing. You can’t go on Facebook—
Nancy: If you’re on a secure browser?
Trip: If you want to be completely secure, you can’t go on Twitter…
Nancy: Right. Because that’s all based on being identified…
Trip: These are the reasons I use the internet. You can’t check your email…
Frank: What’s a VPN?
Trip: A VPN means a virtual private network and this is the thing that you got to understand about data brokers, they will do ANYTHING to steal your data. Half the websites that are out there on the internet, on disease or run by data brokers… relationships, they’re run by data brokers.
Nancy: Yeah, so essentially, this thing filters your… so if you do a search, it filters it through another server or something?
Trip: Actually all of the traffic for your computer gets wielded through a… or goes through what’s called a tunnel. Think of a giant straw.
Trip: So all the information runs in the straw and in theory, nobody can look at the inside of the straw because your information comes in one end and goes out the other. But when you use VPNs, some of these VPNs like the one that I put on my phone for a little while because I wanted to keep trackers from—Facebook annoys me on my cellphone, I’m sorry.
Frank: Me too. I don’t have it on my cellphone.
Nancy: Turn off your notifications.
Frank: It could be that I have a Samsung Galaxy 2.
Nancy: I’ma leave that alone. Even Trip went silent. A Galaxy 2? Lord have mercy.
Frank: What are they at? At 8 now? or 7 or something like that?
Nancy: Oh my gosh.
Frank: I mean my phone’s still— yes?
Trip: Do you have Facebook Messenger?
Trip: Okay. Well, if you put any—there are third party apps that you can put on your device besides Facebook. I use Facebook so I talk about it a lot. But there are third parties that are out there and this is a thing about all the apps… is that our government has been doing a horrible job with technology. Mr. Google and Mr. Apple who are the predominant players in the marketplace sell advertising space, sell apps to thieves for about 6 months. Microsoft sold ad space to thieves. So if you wanted Firefox, if you typed it in being “I want Firefox download”, the top link on their website, was—
Frank: Wasn’t Firefox?
Trip: Was not Firefox. You click on it and if you have a decent virus alert, it would go off. I know this because I did that.
Frank: What are your thoughts on our ease with clicking in the box of terms of agreements when we’re downloading an app or we’re signing up on a website? We don’t even read them.
Frank: What are dangers there? What are your thoughts about those?
Trip: Well my thought is two sided. One, agreements are supposed to have a beginning and an end. But when we click “agree” on one of these things that we don’t read and we agreed to the terms and we download the program, we use the program and decide the program is garbage, where do we return it? the problem is that we don’t have ownability to turn that agreement back off. And if that agreement says “Frank, you gave me the right to copy your contacts forever.” It doesn’t matter that you got a new phone Frank. You gave me the permission to copy your contacts and send emails on your behalf to all of your contacts advising them that it’s your birthday.
Frank: Interesting point.
Trip: Okay. Data brokers know this and that’s one of the mechanisms that they use to steal. See, they use two mechanisms. One, your information is public information it’s not. Two, you gave us permission.
Nancy: Okay but…
Trip: So, if you tell Experian that or Axem, that you don’t want your information sold anymore, there’s another one that you should get into your head and that’s Lexus Nexus. There are—
Frank: A lot of lawyers use that right?
Trip: —company that steals your data constantly. If you tell these companies
No, I don’t want you to have my information and I [unclear] to all agreements that you’ve made on my behalf”, go out to www.itsmyinfo.org and click o the orange button. I give this information away for free. And this is the thing Frank, if you tell a data broker that you don’t want them to sell your data anymore and they insist, I want to know who you are. Because there’s a bunch of attorneys in this country that would love to sue the Bejesus out of these guys. Okay? And I want to find other people that are like-minded like me because I’m for a free and open internet.
Frank: And how would someone get in touch with you? Well let’s go just—let me do my—we’re talking with author, blogger and privacy expert, Trip Elix. Please tell our listeners what you’re up to and how they can find you. And then we roll right into what you were just saying, ha-ha.
Trip: Sure. My website is www.TripElix.com. You can find me on Twitter as @trip_elix, find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TripElix. Connect with me on any of the social networks and I would be more than happy to forward stuff over to you, Frank and also let others know about your show.
Frank: Well thank you.
Trip: As soon as we get offline, I’ll plead about it so that people know that I’m there. my other privacy website is www.itsmyinfo.org and as far as my books, you can get those on iTunes, Amazon, you can get them at Barnes and Noble. I have them on my website as well, www.TripElix.com.
The companies that are out there selling our information and getting the dating information—it’s wrong. It’s wrong because the information is not correct that they have. For another time that I’ll tell you that our criminal look-up system is completely broken. I talk about this in our book and I really get solutions to this stuff. That’s why I go to the security conferences because I want to know not only what the hackers think but to fix it.
You know, hackers are not the enemy. Hackers are—think about this first for a second. Who has exposed government law and corporate wrong doing in the last 2 years?
Frank: Right, right.
Nancy: The hacktivists.
Frank: But one of the hard—I mean government comes down—
Frank: —ridiculously hard on these folks because they can’t control them. They—
Trip: They can’t control them and they’re coming down… Now, if you’re talking about a hacker that gets in to a system and manipulates a foreign computer to his advantage so we can spy on you, that’s a hacker.
Frank: You’re talking about their works for the government or does it?
Trip: —to every one of our computers and they spy on us in a mass scale—where’s the justice department?
Frank: I get you now. Are you talking about hackers that work for the government or don’t? Because they got—the government has their own hackers.
Trip: They have their own hackers but what I’m saying is that viruses and spyware that are manufactured by corporations to spy on the American public and know where we’re at, and stick them on our phones, and stick them on our computers, should be investigated and persecuted with the fury of the federal government that goes after individuals doing the same actions against corporate America.
Frank: Well then on that note—
Trip: It’s a double standard going on and I’m tired of seeing it.
Trip: And that is that the government is ignoring what companies are doing to our devices without our knowledge.
Frank: But people don’t really care… I mean, if you really think about it, when we click on those terms of agreement, we don’t read it because we don’t really care and we understand what the ramifications could be on the legal side or what we might be signing away but we really don’t care…
Nancy: But we just don’t think our own lives are all that complicated and I will say—
Trip: Until—you’re right. Your life isn’t that complicated until…
Frank: It is.
Nancy: Something ha— Right.
Trip: Identity thief sticks his head into your life.
Nancy: Right, right.
Trip: Though—I agree with you Frank. I really agree with you. There are people that do care and honestly, I’m looking to find you.
Trip: If you are somebody that is tired of corporations bullying you and telling you what you can or can’t do in your life, I want to know who you are and I’ll let you know who I am.
Nancy: Got it.
Frank: Guess what?
Trip: Okay, if the revolution doesn’t have the masses, that’s fiction. It’s individuals that want to make change.
Nancy: Well on the note of making change…
Trip: Our justice department really needs to start investigating the mass hacking of all of the computer systems and all of the systems that we use by corporate America and do it with a fury that they go after individuals because this is completely not fair. It’s not fair that hackers get prosecuted for invading a computer that some company can stick a Trojan on my device and use it and there’s no foul play by the government.
Trip: That should be—that is illegal activity.
Nancy: Well hold on, give me a second. Give me a second, Trip and I want to go back to it. what were you saying? What were you going to tell me?
Frank: Oh me?
Frank: I can talk?
Frank: You know who’s back?
Frank: She got a little financial advice to give us.
Nancy: Oh cool let’s hear it.
Frank: What you got Miko?
Miko: Here’s a financial tip from Miko’s Money Matters.
Are you dating or looking for that special someone? Do you want to make sure that you are picking someone that s financially responsible? Here are some tips to help you discern whether you are dating a goal digger or gold digger. Believe me, ginger doesn’t matter. A man or a woman can be either.
1. A gold digger is mainly interested in what you can buy them. This person is interested in what material things you can add to their life.
2. A goal digger is interested in your dreams and aspirations. This persons’ attracted to your inherent talents like intelligence, your sense of humor, and your compassion.
3. A gold digger is smitten with the car you drive, your home or your status in society.
4. A goal digger understand your grind and respects delayed gratification. This individual sees the big picture. What you’re trying to create and achieve. They do not want you to incur debt to try to impress or woo them.
5. Gold diggers believe the cost of the gift measures your feelings towards them and may manipulate you to spend beyond your budget or comfort zone.
6. Goal diggers push you to be honest and go after your dreams. They do not let the social mirror, relatives or friends determine the life you both share and/or want to create.
So don’t just get lost in the physical attraction you have for your potential partner. Make sure you also weigh how attractive their financial values are too.
If you need more guidance or financial dating tips, call Miko’s Money Matters at 202-695-2404 and remember, it’s never too late to rescue your financial future.
Frank: Thanks, Miko.
Nancy: Okay, Trip. You say that we should, you know, the government should do something and as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking about another point that you make in your book which is that the… especially the 4th amendment laws, constitutional laws, bill of rights, these things are designed to protect us from the government but you do site that there’s nothing to protect us from each other. That would include protecting us from corporations. So the government maybe sort of lacks in this whole thing because their base is covered.
Now, the whole—what is it? Caveat M Tour? Let the buyer beware or let the internet user beware—we’re kind of on our own in that.
Trip: That’s true and we’ve only got one agency in the federal government that’s really doing anything to “try to protect us” but they’re totally overwhelmed in that’s [unclear / to settle trade] commission.
Trip: The STC—
Frank: And they’re overwhelmed with what kind of cases? What’s the big one?
Nancy: Is there biggest issue privacy and internet issues or electronic issues?
Trip: They are the arm of the government that’s supposed to be watching our back.
Nancy Got it.
Trip: But at the same time, with all the power of that massive settle agency, companies do things that violate the logic and reason of information all the time. I’ll give you an example. The example is when you use your credit card and you got to a doctor and you pay the co-payer, you go to a pharmacy and you pay for your medications and you pay the co-pay, and you have your loyalty card with you… Experian sells what ailments you have and what diseases you might have.
Frank: To who?
Trip: To anybody that wants to buy them.
Nancy: So much for your medical privacy…
Trip: It’s called “health banks”.
Nancy: Health banks?
Trip: Or “behavior banks”.
Frank: And what can be done with that information?
Trip: Anything… what can be done with that? Well, blackmail.
Nancy: And they mark it “pharmaceuticals” to you I guess.
Trip: They mark it pharmaceuticals… they sell it to anyone. You got to remember this, it’s just for marketing means that you’re just for sale.
Trip: And regulation in this industry, asking government to impose new laws is legitimization of your stolen data. That’s why Experian, TransUnion and Equifax are allowed to have your name.
Nancy: So regulation would be good news for them.
Trip: Because through regulation, regulation says that they can have it.
Trip: And what I’m saying about your information, your right to your name, this doesn’t come from me. If you ask any federal official, anybody that works for the federal government, they will repeat exactly what I’m saying. It’s not that it’s not known within society. If your name were public information, the police would not need a search warrant.
Frank: If your name were public information…
Trip: The police would not need a search warrant for Google. Okay?
Frank: You mean to find out information about you from Google?
Trip: That’s right. You got any recommended books?
Nancy: Besides your own?
Trip: Well, the last one that I read about government which was pretty good was [unclear] which is about Supreme Court justices and on the big time, Sam of Freakonomics.
Nancy: Oh okay. Yeah.
Trip: Understanding what the cause and effect are the basis of my life.
Frank: You got any advice to couples?
Trip: Yeah… The thing is, if you think your spouse might be cheating on you, they are. Okay? Alright? Really. If you have a suspicion, it’s right.
Frank: And then what?
Trip: And then what?
Trip: Confront them, discuss it.
Nancy: Okay, okay.
Trip: If you can’t have a discussion with your significant other, you’ve got some real problems.
Nancy: Right, right.
Trip: Okay? Really.
Trip: If you can’t have an open dialog, then you’ve got a problem already.
Frank: Any advice to business owners?
Trip: Yeah, business owners, due diligence and if you’re really interested and your handling a lot of cash, hire a PI to do a background check of that new employee. The data brokers? Their stuff is crap and they really don’t know about anybody. The NCIC system is 55% incorrect. That’s what our FBI uses for background checks for guns. Okay? I mean, you hear about the gun check? The data is 55% incorrect.
Trip: Meaning that, 45% of known criminals are not even in that system.
Trip: Okay? That’s a huge amount. And the data brokers? Their data is worse.
Nancy: Give us a sound bite on data confusion.
Trip: Data confusion?
Nancy: Well, yeah. The thing you mentioned to me where you—
Trip: Oh yeah.
Trip: One of the most important things you could do for yourself is disrupt your data.
Nancy: That’s it. Yeah. Data disruption.
Trip: This comes in people. Look at your information and they look for who you are. Well, what the systems do is you try to limit the amount of information you give the system, then everything I get from the system is correct because you limited purposely the amount of exposure.
Frank: And how do you limit that?
Trip: Well, this is where the fallacy comes in. You don’t limit it, you add to it.
Frank: Oh okay. You just—
Nancy: Distort it.
Trip: So when you’re sitting bored at night with your tablet or laptop on your couch, watching a movie and you’re surfing instead of talking to your significant other, look up stuff that you’re not interested in and click on the advertiser link.
Frank: That is interesting. That’s true.
Trip: Go on Facebook and look for things you’re not interested in like wind surfing on cooler lids and click like.
Trip: Okay? Facebook sent me to the corner at one point because I liked too many things. They turned off my link, my like button for 30 days. I think it was Farsi, you know Arabic language?
Trip: I was clicking like on… and they didn’t like that because their whole thing is they want to track who I am and I gave them too much information. So –
Nancy: Couldn’t pin you down.
Trip: Just like the noise that we’re all getting consumed with, that we’re trying to hear through. That’s what we need to do to our own data to match with the data brokers, to make it impossible to track you if your GPS or the coordinates on your phone… I use a thing called “GPS spoofer” and I’ll tell your listeners something that they can—a little secret and some day data brokers will figure this out. There’s an expensive steak house in my area and every time I go to a political event, somewhere around the area I will put my GPS just sitting in that restaurant.
Frank: How do you put your GPS as sitting in that restaurant? How do you—
Trip: Because I have a location spoofer on my [unclear] and it broadcasts the wrong address.
Frank: And what’s the name of that again?
Trip: It’s called GPS spoofer
Trip: On the Android system. The other one to get that’s actually pretty good, it’s made by a Russian group, it’s called “Lost Firewall”.
Nancy: Lost? Lost?
Trip: And that limits the ability of those apps on your phone from actually talking to the internet and also tells you the countries where that information goes. You see, when we’re talking about spying and data brokers, that’s one side of the fence but other governments around the world are trying to know the American people just like the American corporations. The reason that they’re doing that has to do with exploiting American business. Our government is doing just a horrible job—by the way that’s called “Fake GPS”.
Nancy: Fake GPS, okay.
Trip: On Android.
Frank: How does that affect how your GPS actua—
Trip: Lost Net Firewall is the firewall that I use on my cellphone.
Nancy: Lost Net, okay.
Frank: And how does the Fake GPS actually affect your GPS when you really need it?
Trip: Oh I turn it off.
Frank: Okay, alright.
Nancy: That could be problematic.
Trip: I mean, what good is it going to do me to be in Buena Aires Airport, I hang in there a lot too.
Frank: Okay. On that note, we’ve been talking to author, blogger and privacy expert, Trip Elix. Trip, last time, please tell our listeners how they can find you and what you are up to.
Trip: Sure. My website is www.TripElix.com and you can find me on the internet just about anywhere. Just type in “Trip Elix” into Google, I’m on Facebook, I’m on Twitter and that website. If you’re sick and tired of all these companies doing all these stuff and you’re done with it, www.itsmyinfo.org, click on the big orange button and it gives you the addresses, free downloads and free letters, the mail, all these companies and tell them to cut it out and listen, you’re not alone. I want to know who you are because when I find enough of you, let’s sue these companies and make them stop doing this to us. I’m done with being bullied, are you?
Nancy: Got it. Thank you.
Frank: Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed pseudo credit, terms of agreements and data brokers. I hope you’ve learned as much as I’ve had talking with Trip Elix about privacy at an information age.
As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that I hope you create a relation that’s as loving and accepting as possible.
Let us know what you think of today’s show at www.facebook.com/relationshipflove, on Twitter at @mrfranklove or at www.franklove.com. If you’re listening via Blog Talk Radio, make sure you like us there and if via iTunes, make sure you subscribe so that you can receive each week’s show.
This is Frank love.
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