What Privacy? This AI Can Identify You by Your Computer Habits

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By the author of The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications and The Cartoon Ham Exam Handbook: A Complete Ham Radio Technician License Study Guide

The world of privacy is a constant battlefield. It’s not a static decision where once you’ve done this one single step, you’re now good until the end of time. Instead, you have to stay abreast of the research, studying the ways that privacy is constantly being diminished so that you can then take the appropriate steps to respond.

If you’ve read through a privacy policy for an app, website, or contract in the past, you’ve likely noticed that they state they may sell your data to third parties. Exactly who these third parties are, you never know, nor what your information is being used for in the first place.

But sometimes, you find the privacy policy tries to add a feel-good clause here, saying something to the extent that “our data about you is completely anonymous.”

Not anymore, it isn’t.

Researchers have created an artificial intelligence that can use sets of anonymous data and the trends within that data to correctly pick out a targeted individual more than 50% of the time. (Admittedly, this took place in early 2022, but it’s something few know about.)

Specifically, they’ve done this with phone numbers.

After being fed a database of 40,000+ phone numbers as well as some background information on who that number contacted, when this AI system was tasked with picking out an individual from an anonymous dataset, it was able to correctly pick out the target by analyzing all of the numbers that Phone Number C regularly contacted. People are creatures of habit, and because AI is very good for data harvesting purposes, this AI was able to effectively say, “This phone number likes to contact these four phone numbers quite a bit. Based off of the existing data I already have on these four contact phone numbers, the anonymous data point that is contacting these four people is likely John Brown.”

You can be identified by your habits.

Of the research, University of Minnesota computer scientist Jaideep Srivastata said, “It’s no surprise that people tend to remain within established social structures and that these regular interactions form a stable pattern over time.”

I would add that it’s not just your social structures that are habitual. So are your buying patterns, your location patterns, your driving patterns, your entertainment patterns, your exercise patterns, your sleep patterns, and just about everything else.

Ultimately, this means that even if data is anonymized, it really isn’t. Transhumanist Ray Kurzweil was spot on when he pointed to the drastic leaps in AI technology we’re going to see over the course of the next few decades, and this type of technology is only going to grow more prevalent. Trends can be analyzed and used to determine who you really are.

What are some of the dangers of this?

Let’s say you regularly read the exact same five websites every day at the exact same time. This type of technology could potentially be used to determine who you are, even if you’re using a VPN.

Let’s say that you have a credit card addiction and are trying to dig your way out of deep debt. You’re really trying hard, but now, third parties could hit you with very effective ads that would better entice you to spend money on stuff you really don’t need even though you have tried to be as anonymous as possible.

Let’s say you use an alarm clock app that sells anonymous data to third parties. You also set your alarm to 5:47 every morning. Somebody could use this type of AI to figure out not only when you are sleeping and when you are in your deepest stage of sleep.

Let’s say you’re in Belarus and have posted something against Vladimir Putin online. Even if you thought you were remaining anonymous, this type of technology could easily be used against you to determine exactly who you are.

Let’s say you suffer from a rather embarrassing medical disorder that you would like to keep private. The entire marketing world could soon know that you have this condition, and that information could be purchased by anybody who wants to know more about you.

While some of these results couldn’t be accomplished with this AI alone, when combined with many of the other AI methods out there, you could very easily end up with that outcome.

Privacy sure isn’t what it used to be.

So be careful with what apps you download or use. Be careful with the websites you browse. When combined with a Chinese-style social credit score system (such as an ESG score), this type of power could easily be used for nefarious purposes.

And honestly, I’m not even really sure of what the best course of action is to avoid this type of AI. But you have to know what the problem is first before you can start to search for solutions. Hopefully, this will help to get that information out there to somebody who has a better fix for this than I do.

What are your thoughts? Were you aware of this kind of attack against personal privacy? What do you think is the best way to counter this? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

Aden Tate

Aden Tate

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  • I think there is things that people can do to possibly bugger this AI.

    Make a habit of doing bogus Internet searches for things that are completely out of character for you. Don’t have kids? Research day cares in your area. Terrified of reptiles and particularly snakes? Research what to feed your pet boa constrictor.

    As far as phones go, look into a “de-Googled” phone. Research what this is and consider getting one. I recommend the TerraCube 2e. It comes with slots for two SIM cards. Purchase SIM cards with cash and switch them out routinely. Do not load any sort of social media to this phone. Do not store a contact list on it. Do not load anything on this phone that can be linked back to you, such as a VPN that you have purchased with a credit card and had to give your real details to. There are free and anonymous VPN’s out there.

    Is this a pain in the butt? Yes it is. It is not nearly as convenient as what we have become used to, but remember this… They got us in the situation that we are in by and large because we like things convenient, don’t we?

    I think that regardless of what we do, we will always leave a data trail. The trick is to make this data pretty much useless to them.

    • I like this idea. One will of course need to do this quite a bit, as I’m sure the algorithm will discard “outliers.” After certain changes in my domestic situation, it’s my intention to withdraw from a lot of what I do, as in which sites I search and read. Sure, the historical/ back data still exists, but possibly I’ll just be discarded.

  • I am not savvy to these type of things. I will check back for all the other smarter people to chime in.

    I would like more examples of how this affects us. I’d like to think of myself as a hard sell & I don’t do any social media (gasp!) so I’m not sure how this would effect me specifically. I barely use my phone & turn it off at night.

    • Agree, I rarely use a phone and keep it business like calling for appointment or store info. I don’t like chit chat,social media or use apps. Am retired so no need to start now.

  • In addition, most smart phones have voice-activated internet search, so the phones listen to you all the time. My wife and I have talked about vacations or purchases in the same room as one of our cell phones (without looking anything up on the phone), then been targeted with emails about planning travel to that location, or where to buy the item we discussed.

    Many people now work from home, and my employer prohibits having an Alexa or similar device in the home office, since it would listen to confidential business information. But a smart phone seems to do that also.

    • YES a smart phone will do that and so will ALL of the newer Smart Televisions. They are not only listening to you day and nite but they are also watching you. And so are these newer smart appliances. Ahhh, it’s getting to where there is little or NO privacy. Think about all of the people who do sexting, and even sex chats online or worse yet private video of them in the nude oh my!!! But someone is reading, and someone is watching. Do they have a smart tv in the bedroom. Then they might as well be making their own porn video but the rest to watch free of charge. Everything being said and done is being tracked. I own NO smart televisions. I’ve had my plasma now for about 8 yrs. and it was 4 yrs. old when I traded my larger one for it with my neighbor. I downsized from a house and didn’t need the 50 in. tv. anymore so we all traded down to one smaller, but it is NOT a smart tv (thankfully)…Ummmm, so today it seems that things are NOT always what they seem. Caution is the key!!!

  • Well, as it is said, “Who gives a R.A.T.S.A.S.S. if they don’t like what I write on line. What are they going to do? Send in law enforcement? Yeah like that going to work. Many in law enforcement now see that our government will only uses them as cannon fodder when it hits the fan, add to that the Defund the Police ballyhoo that the radical leftist are pushing, thus we’ll be left to our own devices when the deep state comes calling. I have .45 good reasons I will discuss with them at that time. If that doesn’t convince them, then I can show them the double barrel with slugs. ANY QUESTIONS ???

  • When Dementia Biden’s digital-only bucks replace all the then-worthless US dollars … that will give government and the central tyrant bank the ability to impose your social credit score to block any purchases or sales you want … that conflict with their idea of “political correctness.” Unless you have learned how (and prepped with the goods and services to do business) to 1) barter, and/or 2) trade via non-government issued crypto currencies that you protect with a non-custodial wallet (so government can’t lean on custodial wallet keepers (like coinbase, eg) to spy on you …you’ll be stuck submitting to the tyrant/fascist all-digital money system with its 24/7/365 spying-on-you free-range prison.


    • Hi Lewis,

      While I myself lean towards the bartering end of the spectrum, I’m wondering if you could please explain a bit more about a “non-custodial wallet”? Just trying to keep up with the technology and be well-informed.

      Here’s my concern: Perhaps one of the first things to accomplished in the “24/7/365 spying-on-you-free-range prison” would be to heavily restrict access to the internet itself to high credit score folks. So, would that make trying to keep any kind of electronic funds risky? Just the thoughts of a crypto neophyte. I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

      Kind regards,

      • Is Crypto really safe? Hummm, Bit Coin also is that safe? IF it can be put into just numbers on a computer, then it seems to me it can also be quickly deleted with a stroke of the keyboard, and just completely wiped out. Is that making sense to anyone? Or could that just be my own reasoning and a tad of common sense thrown in for good measure? For some reason we are not into any of it.

      • RE: HappyHomesteader:

        I ran this search on search.brave.com:

        how and why might a person use a non-custodial wallet for crypto currency transactions?

        Here are three of the many hits that search yielded:




        Re: your question about whether a tyrant government could restrict one’s access to the internet ..

        That’s a fair question. Communist China has officially banned all cryptos not created and controlled by their central government. I’m sure that some Chinese are well aware of the many “banned” varieties of cryptos (several thousands of them), but whether they are having any success doing black market transactions with non-custodial wallet how-to over the internet I have no way of knowing. The evil motives of that communist government are likely being admired by the Biden bucks enthusiasts who are anxiously awaiting adoption of a China-like social credit system here in the US.

        Could a person use multiple identities, computers, operating systems (like Linux, eg), and such to work around government barriers? I can’t claim to know.

        Throughout history whenever a country’s money has been debased to destruction there has usually been resort to commodity alternatives like grains, alcohol, chocolate, ammo etc, etc. While less convenient than the money we are used to, such commodities still are easily divisible, somewhat portable, difficult to counterfeit (more so than US dollars, BTW). For the last few years (I think maybe 4 or 5) a UK-based organization called glintpay made available to Americans a mastercard usable in the US and backed by gold bullion in Swiss vaults. That has been a superb way to avoid the plummeting loss of purchasing power of the US dollar caused by Federal Reserve counterfeiting (since 1914). But I have my suspicions that with mastercard already restricting some weapons purchases, they may well knuckle under and cripple the use of glintpay.com to pay for anything in this country once digital money replaces the dying US dollar.

        One observation seems relevant: If the digital money is allowed to replace the US dollar (with its 4th Amendment destroying effect on privacy and property rights), the US Constitution will have been destroyed for the rest of our lifetimes and beyond.


        • Thank you for the links and for your thoughts, Lewis. Now, I do understand the difference between the wallets. That is helpful to know.

          In my own opinion, I do think that access the internet/crypto could be blocked and/or attached to social credit scores. So much is already being censored. This is what they practiced in their Event 201-style trials. I don’t think my score will be very high (ha ha ha!) and I am planning accordingly.

          I appreciated the content in this article, as it raised a concern I wasn’t aware of. In case folks aren’t already aware:

          Electric companies are installing smart meter monitors on all homes/apartments that collect similar data AND zap you with health-harming pulsed microwave radiation every few seconds.

          There is a high quality documentary available about this for free: https://www.takebackyourpower.net/ If you were interested in the content in this article, then you will want to see this movie. I contacted my own hydro company to opt out and was told, “We will collect this data or you get no electricity.” That’s it.

          Wishing everyone the best!

  • People are creatures of habit, that is well known and the patterns that are made by those habits stand out.
    This article is informative, but misses bringing the point home to this audience.

    Preppers must be aware of their habits and patterns, especially after SHTF.
    Walking the same path, at the same time, every day is a sure way to get ambushed. The same goes for eating meals, sleeping or other activities that might consume your attention and allow a breach of your security or at least a delay your threat response.
    Which is also why many Police raids are done between 2 and 4 AM. People are at home, usually in bed and asleep. Criminals also know this and often do late night home invasions or burglaries.
    Using AI to detect these patterns is new, but the concept itself is quite old. Studying people’s patterns was one way to detect spies during the Cold war.
    Although there, it was more the change in the usual pattern, like to make a dead drop or some other unusual activity.
    So beware in making or breaking the usual patterns. Also if you constantly and conciously try to obscure your patterns in today’s world, you will draw unwanted attention to yourself.

    • IF you constantly and consciously try to obscure your patterns in today’s world, you will draw unwanted attention to yourself. That one just might cause you to be watched ever more so or closer, b/c they will think you have something to hide and wanna catch you. Hummmm…

  • I tend to leave my phone at home. Not by design, but I just forget the stupid thing.
    I also leave it in front of the radio often.
    When I do get email ads, they are not really targeted, unless it is a company I have directly bought from.
    I try avoiding from Amazon, but when I do, that is when I will start getting random email ads.

    • Never did get into the habit of doing anything financial online. Never put info online like that. Don’t pay bills online. Do not charge online or pay any with credit cards that way. Those over 55 are actually more cautious and are from the “old school”. That might be laughed at but it’s really safer that way. IF you ask for trouble, you will find it. Decreet was and is most likely better. Looks that way.

      • Four of our kids have tried for years for us to use venmo on our phones if we gift them money/birthday meals, etc. That’s a firm hell to the no for me. They laugh at my old school ‘paranoid’ mentality but I tell them we have more to lose then they do!

        I do try & ‘mess’ with whomever may be listening 😉 & say… ‘Spanks. I need to get me some spanks’, which if you knew me I would never buy/nor need to & to this day, I still have no ads come to me selling me spanks! Lol, just a little humor this morning. 🙂

  • About 20 years ago one of the early computer magazines had a cover that said,
    “We Know Everything About You”. Then they listed about Ten items like: Where you work, where you live what you drive, etc. I still have that somewhere in my ‘disorganized’ references room!
    They were already talking about and developing marketing and info selling data bases on you way back then. Over the years the computer spying and privacy intrusion changed and then ruled the economic world.

    Marketing manipulations for making money have no morality. Especially when knowing your personal, privacy info can be achieved anonymously and easily There is also significant absence in oversight since commerce is so important in our society, the attitude among ‘authorities’ is that your personal privacy is not as important as a thriving economy. And of course, with the lack of any accountability with authoritative law enforcement, it wouldn’t matter much anyway.

    However, if you want to see exactly how they abuse marketing there is a good book and the you tube documentary of this phenomenon by professor Shoshana Zuboff and book of the same title, ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’. The frightnening aspect she exposes is how dangerous predatory marketing is due to its ability to control behavior. The Pokemon game example in the documentary will ‘skeer ya’! Mind Control of the masses and manipulation of their finances all in the same happy Frankenburger. And all at the touch of a few keystrokes!

    But The most deleterious tipping point came when ‘Authorities’ had the sinister epiphany that this internet with A.I. technology could be the winning lottery ticket for their ultimate police state wet dreams.

    The government used to have to do extensive legwork for ‘investigations’ to find and track people. If you exercised the precious right to be left alone and weren’t breaking any laws, you once, in a faraway American land, a long time ago, could find, have, and enjoy the subtle and sublime pleasure of exercising your absolute Constitutional RIGHT to be left alone anonymously without the constant fear of being stopped tazed and strip searched, swatted and flash banged a 4 am and your cat kicked into the wall of your private bedroom and forced to stand in front of strange angry people completely naked like they did to that poor INNOCENT woman in Chicago!

    And people seem to be begging for this kind of treatment by literally opening up their lives like a perverse strip tease on stages like facebook, and now tic toc, and everywhere else the ‘authorities’ can access at will. They might as well have their own website for those who want to let the police know exactly what you’re doing every single minute of your life?

    And soon…coming to a theatre near you…the last straw to be lit up in the hay stack of humanity, the complete and total Surveillance State in unholy matrimony with the complete and totalitarian Police State.

    This will be the culmination of the New Paradigm of the thoroughly corrupted Criminal Justice System.

    The original system required that you have an actual committed crime. Then you dispatch a criminal investigation using Law Enforcement officials to find leads to who committed the crime. This has been changing dramiticaly in direct proportion to the latest advances in technology and computing power.

    Now police are focusing more on ‘potentiality’ of criminal behavior to a yet Undiscovered or not yet committed crime? Dan Bongino explained on his radio segment not it couple weeks back. Essentially, they come across someone who is doing nothing wrong at the moment or recently and they are minding their own business, but seem to fit some sort of ‘suspicion’ factor that the police have for no substantiated reason, and since it is so easy to do location ‘surveillance’ with gps locators and perform ‘Geo Fencing’ investigations with sycophant Cell phone companies off the self tracking smart phones everyone has and do a forensic background check these days just off a vehicle plate or name check.
    They will actually FIND some kind of suspicious ‘associations’ cause to check you out in person. Mainly because a ‘suspicious state of mind’ can be anywhere anytime and CAN and WLL be used against you by rights abusing police state actors. Therefore causing you personal stress and often due process deprivations. See the book or documentary “Three Felonies a day”.

    Mr. Tate here, is correct. It’s getting close to a total meltdown for your liberty and justice. Criminal activities are everywhere. All they have to do is find somebody whose behavior, contacts, communication, past associations, current locations, etc. etc. create a subjective ‘pattern’ that could ‘potentially’ justify–mainly, only in their minds, a match to some arbitrary criminal offense. And in a Police Surveillance state this is Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezie.

    For you devout religionists: The end is Not ‘near’. It is here and NOW.

    We were very very fortunate to get back control of the house of representatives and liberty supporting new Congress caucus persons can buy some time to save our American way of life. But we all need to quit dividing our focus with bullshit and nonsense that re-directs our attention and get serious about political participation. Over 70% of Millenials voted for Marxism this midterm. And the ones I’ve interviewed couldn’t even specifically point out why they did?

    People have to detox themselves from the brainwashing if they want to live in a Free, egalitarian, libertarian Republic again. Instead of a total dictatorship.

    All we have left is what the visionary founders established for us. Get seriously politically involved if you don’t want the rapidly coming Tyranny.

  • All good points Aden, and points one needs to be thinking about. I find myself participating on the Internet and sites less and less as time goes on. Less and less Social Media, and more time spent on more private sites like OP.
    I no longer make Political Commentary for the most part. There seems to be no point anymore.
    Getting some bad prognosis on my health has made me see all of this in a different light. At some point I’ll start closing accounts. Hopefully it screws up their algorithm LOL.

    • Everyone I know of in my age bracket has one or more chronic diseases like O.A., high B.P., a-fib, type 2, thyroid dysfunction, on and on. (people over 65). Several friends quit commenting, two gals the husbands said not to. Others say it is way too late and it is. The globalists have won, controlling the politicians on all levels enforcing agenda 2030.

  • Now we know VPN’s are useless and not worth persuing. People need to install ad blockers and clear the cookies every few days. Best not to accept cookies, better yet if an option to refuse them. I never get ads for anything but we use ebay and check local store ads online. I don’t join any social media since it is not private.

  • For something like this you just have to vary your habits if you don’t want to be followed. You are going to have to make it random. You’re going to have to vary everything.

    One way to do it is to set up some kind of random technique and base it on that.

  • The system exists longer, three searches are enough to identify you ( TU Delft program 2016) best counter is to ad random misspell, reverse words in sentences and switch gender and age on every website you register for. Find see mi 4 y C yoe. Something like that…Artificial is just that, made to follow patterns. Intelligence is not the same if it is pre programmed or grown through experiance and emotions….the first AI thing with emotions will selfdestruct….

  • I don’t have internet on my phone, just talk and text all across my country. I have a computer at home, so why do I want/need a mini comp in my hand. If I need to find an address I do so at home, or use a paper map of my town. I do purchase a lot online, and I’ve been wondering if prepaid credit cards would be the way to go.

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