Talk:1269: Privacy Opinions

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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This comic could be meant to satirize those who trivialize the opinions of privacy advocates. I doubt many reading this comic would assume this is either a fair or exhaustive list of opinions on internet privacy as it is highly unlikely that the reader him/herself would hold any of these opinions. 00:05, 1 October 2013 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Sometimes I think all my burritos are imaginary. Nathkingcole (talk) 11:55, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Nat.

The burrito isn't, but Chipotle's promises of all natural ingredients in their food is. They do that just to make a quick buck off the health-conscious crowd. Lying burrito! --JayRulesXKCD (talk) 15:44, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

This may be pointless, but Kudos to's edit. Saibot84 (talk) 13:13, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

This may be offensive, but Redeemer's edit was both excellent and necessary. 13:26, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't call it offensive (outside the language); it's simply opinionated. Thanks Saibot84. 13:37, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Fail on both counts, from me (for Redeemer's contribution), as neither excellent nor necessary. Only in the light of that does 63.etc's edit (who has just ninjaed me with an edit conflict... hi there!) actually make any sort of sense. But what do I know? I'm just an IP, and you can probably find that I'm not even in the US, from that...
Redeemer's meta-analysis of Randall, even if false, was still an exemplary display of critical thinking that I've found to be surprisingly lacking with XKCD fans. If Randall is anything like the person I think he is, he would appreciate such an alternative perspective. Additionally, it was an absolutely necessary defense against a straw man-like simplification of an all too legitimate concern for privacy rights. I will agree that Redeemer's edit would have been more appropriate here as a Discussion item rather than an edit to the Explanation, but this differing viewpoint should still be heard. 15:26, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Can we just have a proper explanation, instead, please? Let's say something like: there's those that overthink the situation, those that over-do it, some overestimate the problem, some overestimate other problems, some enjoy the idea too much and some just enjoy their food more. Eh? Any good for ya? I'm sure it can be tweaked, to taste. 13:41, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Done. Or at least a start. -boB (talk) 14:04, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

I have an opinion, but I'm keeping it private for now. -boB (talk) 13:24, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

One mention of the NSA, one mention of Google. I'm not sure how Randall's politics are relevant, or how he's excusing privacy concerns, and the "explanation" says a lot about the interpretation and US-centric perspective of the poster without adding to the comic. Unless it was a deliberate parody of the conspiracy panel, not appropriate, dude. (And I'm a Brit - I definitely didn't vote for any political party in the states. But hello, Echelon.) Fluppeteer (talk) 13:37, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

The comment was so off the wall I think it pretty much had to be parody, in keeping with panel 3. -boB (talk) 14:04, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

I wonder why some Americans consider that world-wide issues like on-line privacy have to be related only to U.S. politicians. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I'm pretty sure the explanation of the Nihilist isn't right. In my opinion Randall jokes that if all of your actions are meaningless (the nihilistic way of thought) then the same applies to all your data. 14:51, 25 September 2013 (UTC) Thanks to whoever classed this place up by deleting that vitriol. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I'm a fan, but I'm disappointed. Don't tell me I didn't "get it" though. I "got it" very well. I love XKCD very much, but not today. I would like to thank Saibot84 and for their heartwarming support. A Reddit post about the edit can be found here: My protest against XKCD's underhanded defense of the NSA -- Yours truly, Redeemer 16:37, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

I'm genuinely concerned about internet security issues, and I'm entirely sympathetic to your perspective, Redeemer. But, whatever Randall's background or motivation, this comic stands alone in poking fun at extreme positions on the subject. I don't believe it either trivialises the argument or makes a reasoned statement about an acceptable position - none of the panels show a "normal" perspective. Whether or not Randall intended it to be, there are many more sources of privacy concerns world-wide than the NSA, and many reasons to hold an opinion on NSA network analysis other than support for a political party (which to me rarely means support for every position that they hold). Let's stick to explaining the comic, not meta-analyzing Randall's motivations for posting it. This is not the place, no matter how your perspective may colour your interpretation of the message behind the comic. Fluppeteer (talk)
TL;DR, but the current NSA incidents are a source for Randall's ideas here. It should be mentioned. Incomplete done tag by me.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:52, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Too impatient, can't be qualified to comment. Randall mentions the NSA in one panel. The issue isn't whether the NSA is a concern, it's that the NSA is not the only source of internet privacy concerns or media scares; if not mentioning it "excuses" the NSA/current US Government, singling it out "excuses" other organizations (other governments and surveillance bodies, Google, Facebook, network operators...) - and Randall himself mentions Google. Don't assume this is just about the NSA. Even if that was Randall's inspiration, it's not the only context for the comic. There have been repeated incidents regarding GCHQ, for example.Fluppeteer (talk)
You must have some very strict guidelines for TL;DR. It's just a paragraph! Orazor (talk) 05:37, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
I also can claim "web scraping, network administration and security [as] my professional area of expertise" (only currently on personal time, hence this pseudo-anonymous IP, which I know wouldn't fool the NSA), but I think you just don't get it, Redeemer. Nor do some of your Reddit contributors. Not wanting to reddit (by a name I'd jump into there with, that is), I won't even attempt to disabuse you of your opinion, however. But you do not vandalise key areas of wikis with such personal venom. Bad show for doing so, and stick to your blogs. Anyway, for myself: Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2, line 358, second half. 23:07, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
"These foils have all a length"? 23:22, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
"The rest is silence." according to Much as I'd love to be educated enough to know that by heart.Fluppeteer (talk)

Is it just me, or is it actually Danish instead of Megan in the Nihilist panel? The hair looks too long to be Megan's. Sciepsilon (talk) 00:09, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

I have to disagree with "Since a large percentage of people and companies present in the internet don't have the ability or intention to do strong cryptography". Strong encryption is extremely available to 100% of people and companies. It is public and free to use. Most significant companies use VPN's and encrypted hard drives. It is just untrue to suggest that strong cryptography is not available to anyone. 06:57, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

That is the difference between availability and ability. While the necessary software is freely available, people don't understand how to use it (no ability), even don't want to learn how to use it (no intention).
Also in "strong cryptography" I would require not only algorithms to be strong but also authentication schemes. The current SSL system uses Certificate Authorities, which are broken by design, thus not "strong" in the sense I was meaning it.
While good companies using VPNs and encrypted hard drives is a good ideal, 90% of the companies do without them to save the money involved (performant hardware + setting up). Additionally they do not use encryption when communicating with others (e.g. their customers). Think of all the websites that cannot be accessed with HTTPS (including this one). -- Xorg (talk) 10:14, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Strong encryption in form of VPN is available to everyone and I believe lot of companies are using it. Also HTTPS is used relatively often, although many sites lack it, only use it for most important areas or only for administration for performance reasons. Thats all. Most importantly, no way of encrypting email is simple enough to be actually used by public, and I seriously doubt that majority of instant messaging is point-to-point encrypted (I know for sure Skype chat aren't - they may be encrypted on wire but keys are available to their servers).
Note that while centralised solution of Certificate Authorities is less secure that decentralized ones, you can still get usable security in SSL ... unless you need it for HTTPS. The fact that NO HTTPS page is signed by multiple authorities is the real problem. -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:56, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

At the present moment, what exactly is incomplete in this explanation? When Dgbrt added the incomplete tag, it was because "it should be mentioned that the NSA incidents are a source for Randall's ideas here", however the very first line of the explanation reads "Randall parodies some of the reactions to Edward Snowden's revelations of widespread intrusive surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency" which pretty much covers it. Furthermore, that line was already in place when the incomplete tag was added. Am I missing something? 19:59, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Wait, what? That'll teach me to read the comments page rather than checking changes to the explanation. Randall's comic is about reactions to *all* internet privacy concerns. It explicitly mentions Google. Why is everybody assuming that the NSA is the only source of issues here? Sure, there have been recent revelations about the NSA. And GCHQ (indeed, by Snowden). And Google. And Facebook. And every country introducing mandatory network filters. And my employers (and anyone else's with a firewall data sniffer). And quite probably a lot more I don't know about. Can we please stop putting words in Randall's mouth and having a blinkered focus on the NSA as though it's the only source of problems when the comic itself mentions more concerns than that. I didn't think it was my place to remove the incomplete tag, but I now support the assertion that it's inaccurate, rather than incomplete. (Sorry; I was annoyed enough to register here in order to try to balance this bias! Perhaps someone with more seniority can paraphrase?) Fluppeteer (talk) 21:52, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
NSA is not only source of issues, but it's definitely the most currently debated one. Even mentioned companies are currently debated in context of their collaboration with NSA. -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:56, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
The NSA scandal is not the most topical example. Ed Snowden's leaks about the NSA and GCHQ (including GCHQ spying on G20 Summit attendees) happened primarily in May, four months ago. The UK government has been proposing opt-out traffic inspection for porn filtering since July; one of the Australian political parties has made a similar proposal this month. The current Miss Teen USA was the subject of a recent privacy scandal, though webcam related rather than about data inspection. A media watchdog report about Google's expectation of privacy in gmail hit the news in August. Facebook drew criticism for security issues in August, and the inability to manage sex hate issues at the end of May. The NSA relationship with Google, Facebook et al. as part of PRISM is certainly an issue, but not the only, and arguably not greatest, source of concern for many about those companies and other organizations. The Snowden case is, in many places, old news, and - while it may have been reported solely in the context of the NSA in the US, it certainly hasn't been in the UK (other than regarding the issues of his asylum). Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to call out the NSA, and it's not like I avoid Google et al. I just believe that it's blinkered to attribute the comic solely either to the Snowden case in general or to the NSA in particular. I'd be happy with "Randall parodies some extreme reactions to internet security concerns, such as those raised by Edward Snowden's revelations about widespread intrusive surveillance by the NSA and other agencies." Is that reasonable? Fluppeteer (talk) 18:57, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
O.o I'm not sure I entirely agree with the analysis about what Randall wants us to believe (I'm called a "nut" about a number of things without taking offence at any of them, for example), but I'll admit that the current version removes my objection that the explanation was overly-biased in exclusively referring to the NSA. So thank you, Davidy22 (edit war aside), and I'll pick my battles. Fluppeteer (talk) 13:19, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
I didn't write that analysis, I just stepped in when another user was autoreverting it for being "too long." It is a pretty good bit of text though. Davidy²²[talk] 14:44, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Whoops. Thank you *and* Fluppeteer (talk) 18:44, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

I can't be the only xkcd reader that's driven crazy by the fact that "data" is used as a singular throughout this, can I? I mean, data isn't imaginary, data are imaginary!! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Oh dear. I'll go and get my pedantry circuits checked - I should have noticed that. See how discussing politics and current(ish) affairs contributes to my mental decay? Fluppeteer (talk) 18:44, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
Unless you talk about Lieutenant Commander Data, and I think he would be offended if you call him imaginary. -- Hkmaly (talk) 08:55, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Can someone photoshop this: ⋈ onto the conspiracist's neck? thanks, 04:18, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Please remove bias

Can somebody please rewrite the last section which is extremely biased against the comic, seeming to attack the ideas presented and suggesting that Randall doesn't care at all about civil rights. It violates the idea of a neutral explanation and is seen to be pushing the writers point of view. This bias is especially evident to a person who disagrees with this point of view (because, seriously, who cares if the govt. knows about your dinner plans or your big break up or even your love of perfectly legal porn. They don't care. If you do think that they're interested in that, then you are vastly overestimating your importance). Can somebody who is better at writing please rewrite that section with a more neutral (or at least ballanced) tone? --Imamadmad 20:09, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Page needs simplification

I tend to over-analyze stuff and I have the opinion that this amount of explanation should exist about everything. However, as a user (even though I dislike that word), that's too much text. There should be a more succinct explanation, and the rest of it hidden somewhere but available by a link, button, tab, etc. 01:15, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Why is this explanation a goddamn thesis on the comic? Is all this detail necessary? I call for a simplification of the page. I do not perform the simplification myself because the page as it is bores me too much to revise it. 21:42, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

I moved a comment from 2014 to under this topic as it seems relevant to it. Sorry if that's not a legal maneuver. 21:44, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

Just wanted to comment on “Beret guy is frequently seen as bizarrely disconnected from reality in a way that is maladaptive” - he can make ridiculous amounts of money just by “being in business”, without knowing or caring about what’s going on. He is always serenely happy and high on existence, and the whole world bends around his whims. What on earth is maladaptive about that?

Can someone please just rewrite this explanation? However well (or not well) it's written, it blatantly fails at its job of being an explanation because it gets sidetracked with analysis and criticism of Randall's work. It honestly does not deserve this much of an essay, and I'm evidently not the only one with this issue. -- 22:08, 8 April 2022 (UTC)

I feel that it should be pointed out that “valanced” means drapery in English, according to Merriam-Webster So why the heck is it being used to describe whether something has positive or negative connotations? -- 21:43, 10 December 2022 (UTC)

"Valenced", I think, in every example*. Not "valanced". Possibly an inspired riff off the initial "ambivalence", but certainly meaning 5 applies here, in which variously negative and positive (psychological) values are explicitly its thing.
( * - if you spot any that aren't, then you can change them. As you can always change it anyway. But it all looks to be perfectly cromulent to me! Well, at least in that respect...) 19:10, 12 December 2022 (UTC)

Someone just added: "The Exhibitionist presents a comedic inverse of a reasonable privacy concern: that people you don't know are getting off from secretly watching you. Celebrities are likely targets for this behavior, and anyone could suddenly be launched into fame." - starts off Ok, but the 'concern' seems to be from the employee (or the 'custodes' who definitely knows that they're being 'custodiet'ed, in turn, over their shoulder?). The speculative broadcaster of their own 'private acts' is the most obvious person deriving pleasure from the scenario. And, apparently, would do so even if there wasn't an observer (a kind of warped flip of Heisenburg's cat-in-a-box scenario!)... It's still an inverse scenario, but in different ways. True that being overly free and unconcerned whilst 'non-famous' is known to specifically come back to bite those who later become public figures (it seems to be that every other month some rising political star gets 'outed' for having said something beyond the pale as a spotty-teenaged twitterer; I'm sure most STTs do, but normally it's only once you start being an RPS/equivalent where such dirt is 'worth' being dragged up in public). But the non-exhibitionist private individual probably also doesn't want to be targetted, either (whether or not it even sparks fame/infamy just amongst 'specialist interest' corners of the internet) for current or somewhat naïve prior actions. Not to mention that an 'exhibitionist' who gets an internal thrill from the rather niche idea of there being voyeurs always out there might not be one who would 'go all the way' and exhibit themselves in proven ways (on the street, or by self-publishing on imageboards). Getting to know that all their 'safe fantasy' is actually a real thing might be as bad as having actual private (for given expectations of 'private') material leaked to the world and/or reassociated with them at an inconvenient future time. ...which is all far beyond the proven scope of the comic. And the length of these thoughts reflect how unable I was to tersely summarise necessary changes into new addition to make it not so 'wrong' in the ways I explained. 14:41, 5 January 2024 (UTC)

Yeah there's a lot here. Me swerving into the impact of fame was probably unhelpful and I may remove that aspect. However, I think it as a comedic inverse of the common concern of voyeurs is still a valid reading. It's the closest the comic gets to showing a reason why people may be concerned about their privacy... Maplestrip (talk) 13:11, 10 January 2024 (UTC)