Mozfest10: 3D’s: Dating, Deception and Data-Portability (GDPR edition)


3D’s: Dating, Deception and Data Portability | Mozfest 2019 from Ian Forrester

There are a number of blog posts I need to write about the last Mozilla Festival in the UK and I have already written about the dyslexic advantage previously. So its time for my workshop session the 3D’s Dating, Deception and Data-portability in the openness space. I added GDPR edition to the workshop, as I did submit it last year but did so before I actually got my GDPR data back from the dating sites. I assume the lack of clarity about having the data made it tricky for privacy & security to accept it last year?

I was looking forward to this one but on the week of Mozfest, my Dell XPS laptop woke me up in the middle of the night with a bright screen. I thought it was odd to have it on, as its usually a sleep. On closer inspection I found I couldn’t do much, so rebooted it. On the reboot I was able to login but not launch almost anything, so I rebooted again. To find I dumped into a GRUB recovery console. Its a long story what happened next but ultimately my plans to host the dating JSON files on my local machine with a nicer interface was never going to happen.

With all this in mind I changed the presentation (google slides are my friend) and scope of the workshop. Luckily I had redacted enough of the data in advance, and I kept a hold of my data instead of letting people rummage through like I had planned.

I focused the presentation into the 3 areas, dating, deception and data-portability. My slides are all online here.

DSC_0498

The people who came were quite vocal and engaged with everything. There were many questions about the dating and deception part, which made think I could have done a whole bit similar to my TEDx talk a few years ago. But I really wanted to get into the meat of the workshop, beyond requesting your data, actually getting it but now what?

This is exactly what I posed as a question to people.

DSC_0499

 

The replies were quite different from what I was thinking…

  • A group said if you could get a number of data dumps over time, you coul mine the data on your profile to look at positive & negative changes over a longer time scale. This would work great especially on the OKcupid questions, which you can change at anytime and I have.
  • Another group suggested something similar to Cambridge Analytica using OKcupid questions. I did suggest its highly likely they (Okcupid) are already doing this and its reflected in the people you are shown rather than your vote and news you see. I wasn’t making light of it, just sadly saying everything is there and yes it could be turned into a personality profile easily enough
  • There was a interesting thought to tally up messages and changes in profile data with historic weather, moon, quantified self data and other data. To see if there is a link. I think this one might include the person who asked why I redacted the star sign data?
  • The idea of creating a dating bot of yourself was quite shocking, but the thought was with enough of my chat transcripts you could easily train a bot to answer people in the future like I would. There was a discussion about ethics of doing so and what happens when a bot meets another bot pretending to be human
  • Finally group suggested visualisations to help make tangible choices and things I wrote. This was good in the face of what was missing and how to inform the dirty little tricks dating companies do for profit. Its always clear how powerful visualisation can be, you only have to look at my twitter gender data visualisation from openhumans.

Its clear the Plenty of Fish data was less interesting to people and it would be trivial to move from OKCupid to POF based on the dataset. Other way would require a lot user input.

Massive thanks to Fred Erse for keeping me on time and collecting the ideas together.

IMG_20191102_185108

So what happens next?

Jupyter notebook from openhumans demo

Well I’m keen to put either the actual data or the redacted data into openhumans and try the Jupyter notebook thing. Maybe I can achieve the final groups ideas with some fascinating visualisations.

 

Interviewed by PyDataMcr for their podcast about data in dating

Beginning XSLT with Jeni Tennison

I had the pleasure of talking to PyData Manchester better known as PydataMCR.

They post their podcasts to Anchor.fm oddly enough but post it elsewhere too, so its take your pick. There is a RSS feed too which was tricky to find at first for us old skool podcasters.

The interview was nice but if you heard me talk about online dating data before you may have heard a lot of it before. It was noticeable how things move in the dating world, should do some more research really.

At the end there is a shout out to a woman who has been an inspiration for me. Jeni Tennison the CEO of the Open Data Insitute. I wasn’t sure if Jeni was the only woman on a wrox book cover ever. Although I did notice both genders on the C# 2005 programmers reference book and Beginning XHTML. Even saw multiple races on Professional Multicore Programming: Design and Implementation. Then I finally found Beginning Java Objects: From Concepts to Code by Jacquie Barker

So I take back, although I was never so sure..

Thanks to PydataMCR for the interview and my chaotic schedule which caused many issues. Remember to subscribe to the podcast here.

The height issue and self-confidence

I was reading a piece about short kings a new coined term for short men.

The whole thing is about how men under 6ft tall are always the brunt of jokes and bullying. There’s also some critical points about the way society,  masculinity and our culture thinks about short men.

Sizeism is hard to avoid on dating apps such as Grindr and Tinder, where users commonly forbid men under 6ft from contacting them. Tinder even made a 2019 April Fool’s joke about launching a “height verification” update that would prevent guys from exaggerating their stature.

Yet short-shaming isn’t harmless. “There’s a host of studies that show short men are stigmatized in many ways, not only in people’s perception, but in actual real world outcomes as well,” says Joseph Vandello, a social psychologist at the University of Southern Florida. “People perceive shorter men as having fewer leadership qualities,” he says, citing findings that majority of American CEOs are over 6ft in and voters prefer tall presidential candidates (including, at 6ft 2in, Trump).

All this starts early – even in kindergarten, studies have found, teachers perceive the shortest boys in their class as less academically capable than their peers.

Height is also perceived to correlate directly with masculinity. As Vandello explains: “Because of [the correlation between height and perceived masculinity], a lot of men feel kind of a chronic sense of anxiety and uncertainty about their manhood status.” Insecurity generally manifests in oversensitivity to insult (which may contribute to the stereotype of short men as angry, resentful, over-compensating Napoleons.)

I’m almost 6ft tall at 5ft 11 so rarely gotten much of the criticism of others much shorter than myself.

It got me thinking about a few things related to height in the past. Okcupids the big lies people tell in online dating and also the discussion we had on BBC Radio Merseyside about height. Even then, I was thinking there’s got to be a connection with self confidence here, for example a lot of the women I spoke to who couldn’t imagine dating someone shorter than them was shocking. Likewise men who wouldn’t dare date someone taller was equally shocking. This is where I started keeping a rough tally on how self-confident they appeared, and it seemed my rough theory might have something about it?

Like many short men, Steven recalls an adolescence spent believing masculinity was defined by a set of immutable characteristics – like being tall and imposing – and that by not fitting that ideal he was “kind of cursed.”

But as he grew up, he began thinking about manhood as something he could develop by embodying his values, rather than a blunt appraisal of his physical self. “I think to be masculine, to be manly, whatever that word means, is about doing good in the world. It’s about contributing. It’s about finding a way to serve other people, to be kind, to be strong in defense of those who need strength in their corner. The more masculinity is an idea of service the more I think it is helpful.

Now happily committed to a taller woman, Brendan hardly thinks about his height at all. “Once you get into that sense of self-confidence the height issue kind of melts away,” he says.

The horizon dating experiment on TV again…

Horizon dating

It was Valentines day a little while ago and while I was busy. I guess someone at the BBC thought it would be a good idea to put up the Horizon Dating Experiment again.

I got a whole bunch of people asking me if they saw me on TV recently… Well yes you did and there is a story worth reading behind it all. I’m not the only one who blogged about it too. To be fair it all started with Rachel Clarke who pointed it out the call to me after my bad experience with the Year of making love.

Horizon dating experiment

To be fair although its back on Telly again, the best example of where the Horizon dating experiment popped up has to be on a plane at 36000 feet. Found via my good friend Claire

Back of a airplane seat

 

A review of my 2018 resolutions

Ian Forrester #ib100

2018 has been quite different in a good way.

Looking from the Quantified Self point of view

  • My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively increased to 367 mins,   My average sleep this year has been 8 hours 2mins (slightly down). Average deep sleep has been 4.03hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
  • According to Gmail I have had 47,769 conversations, have 27,280 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
  • Have 60,460 photos and 3,220 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 212 open tasks and completed 2,635 over the year
  • Been on 52 trips including Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Skopje, Brussels, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Dublin and Edinburgh this year.
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Doctor Who and film was Avengers Infinity War. Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
  • I spent 236 hours watching films (19.7 a month) and 409 hours watching TV series (46.6 a month)
  • Spent 847.9 hours working in Media City UK, 104.2 hours working in many coffee shops in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, 82.9 hours in Liverpool, 40.5 hours working on a train and 73.3 hours working at home. Theres a very long tail with lots more locations like hotels, Nottingham Uni, York Uni, Berlin, Dubin, Ravensbourne, etc.

Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2018.

This didn’t happen, maybe Kates appetite for adventure has dimished?

Either way, I’m also quite impressed with work friend Jimmy Lee’s travelroulette to Hong Kong. I keep seeing good prices to fly from Manchester in early 2019.

  • Head further a field with the new scooter
    New Scooter, new waterproof wear, its time for a ride into Europe before the UK leaves Europe (said with a very heavy heart)

No go on this one. I had planned to head to Rotterdam to visit my volleyball friend Barbara then drive around the Netherlands and maybe into Beligum and north west Germany? Going to some theme parks on the way, before going back to Rotterdam and then back to Hull.

  • Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Closely related to the previous one, its got to happen in 2018. I love them and its time to go further a field to see what others are doing.

Oh I busted this resoultion mutliple times over.  Starting with Parque Warner Madrid and Parque de Atracciones de Madrid.

Then in my next trip to the nordic countries I went to Gröna Lund

Then hit my person best of 49x times on one ride by visited Tivoli theme park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

49 times on the Demon, people asks why didn’t I do a round 50? Well I did try but the ride closed just as I made the last journey. Unlike UK parks, the park was open very late 11pm so I took it easy and stopped for food, etc. So I wasn’t trying to break some personal record or anything. Just going around and around enjoying each ride.

Then I thought it would be just too rude to not visit Linnanmäki in Helsinki, Finland while attending Mydata 2018 which happened next door! Although I didn’t like much of the rides and it opened at 4pm?

Then finally I got to Port Adventura Barcelona, Spain. A very popular theme park with Rollercoaster fans.

253 rides in another over  country…

Truly smashed this one into pieces and loved every moment.

  • Go to a new part of the world

This year I got to two new countries. Finland and Macedonia. Both suprised me, the Finnish was fancinating and massively different from the Swedish in many ways I didn’t quite get till I was there. Also great to see old Manchester friend Gabrielle while I was there.

Macedonia was also really interesting and I couldn’t help but link what I saw in Romania with Macedonia. One of the highlights was seeing and walking around a set of flats (centar) which I had only really seen on the screen while creating the living room of the future.

  • See more comedy

I got to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival with my partner this year. The last time I was in the fringe festival was in 2007 during the TV Un-Festival.  This year I did a lot of comedy from Edinburgh to a more local Cholton Chuckles.

Very enjoyable and something I’d like to keep this going for sure.

  • Explore more about the brain using neuroscience

This didnt happen enough, I went to a MCR Talk: Retrain Your Brain but not much more, something to explore more next year? But I’ve given up on Funzing as the last event was pretty poor.

  • Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers

So this worked out well except I broke it a few times with some poor chocolate choices. One such time was eating a milkyway out of a box celebrations, there was no Twix left and I didn’t realise Teaseers were Maltesers.  But I have been pretty good most of the time and its really changed my tastes when it comes to chocolate. Now I find milk chocolate far too sugarly and milky, almost sickly.

Cocoarunners has done a excellent job providing different types of chocolates monthly and the range has been super impressive. Theres a blog post previously highlighting my favourate ones.

  • Do more with my Estonian e-residency

I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my estonian e-residency.

  • Make better use of the online services I have paid or invested in

Started to reduce the amount of services but theres a lot more that can be done. But this year I have been making my home server more stable which runs Plex, Tinytiny RSS, etc.

  • Be more daring in matters of the heart

So my partner asks…
“More daring?”
“Yes more daring” I reply with a slight smile

I have been dating my partner for almost 10 months now and like all relationships its needs work, time and effort. Luckily my partner is understanding, patient and caring…sometimes! (smile!)

  • Explore the future of online dating

Still very interested and theres some chatter about doing something around this with a potential new project in 2019. Although I’m not dating myself, theres still a moral problem I see and would like a hand in changing, regardless of my own status. Decentralise dating for the win of team human!

  • Decentralise more and use POSSE more

This has happened, especially since I starting using Mastodon.

However Facebook dropped support for third-party tools to automatically share posts to Facebook Profiles, which is annoying and means my facebook is very quiet. Twitter also changed their API breaking a lot of my linux twitter clients forcing me to use the web interface. This meant my use of twitter has dropped too.

So generally I’m doing less POSSE because each platform is locking down their systems.

More gender issues I’ve spotted

http://nobaddatesjustgoodstories.tumblr.com/post/173444153673

I had planned a series of blog posts about different gender items I’ve seen in blog posts, the news , etc but never got the time. Instead I kept adding them to wallabag and tagging them to blog.

So think of this blog post as a series of micoblog with little comments after each link.

No baby slings or bananas: are these the new fragile masculinity rules?

This one sums up so many things I hear and can’t stand. Shes right, how fragile is masculinity that eating a banana in a certain way can cause idiots to worry. Its frankly so stupid I can’t bring myself to say anything more that what I’ve said before.

We can’t want gender equality and still expect guys to pay for the first date and Viewpoint: ‘Why most men should pay on first dates’

Dare I say anything more…? To be fair its been a long time since I mentioned who pays on the first date. But to be fair there is arguments and tensions, which is why it keeps coming up. For example if you take the massive gender pay gap and then exercise it in who pays for the bill. Most heterosexual dates would have the man paying 20-33% more for the bill. This was noted to me and I pointed out the minority pay gap is pretty awful too making things even more tricky on a first date.

How thrillers offer an antidote to toxic masculinity and Flirting and you’ll be called a rapist? Oh please grow up, Superman

Lessons in how to be a good man? Maybe? Not so sure as the old-fashioned view from Superman actor Henry Cavill says it all. Generally the men in  thrillers I’ve seen, might be better than the toxic masculinity you see now but not exactly enlighten to feminism.

What Do Men Think It Means To Be A Man?

So this is very interesting research. I originally heard the love, sex and money issue a while ago, but didn’t dig into the survey till recently.

When I read,

Pop culture was a source of inspiration for an understanding of manhood for younger men (42 percent of those age 18 to 34), while only 17 percent of men 35 to 64 and 12 percent of men 65 and over said the same.

My instant thought was something of a worry, as I’m not seeing the best examples in pop culture (although I have to admit I don’t spend much time in pop culture so maybe I’m automatically biased).

The society pressure and daily concerns was another key one, which I’d love to have similar results from a decade ago and a decade before that.

The question How would you say it’s an advantage to be a man at your work right now? Blew my mind…

59% of men surveyed didn’t think Men are taken more seriously, Men make more money, Men have more choice, Men have more professional development opportunities, Men generally have more support from their managers, Men are explicitly praised more often?

This is delusion at its worst, even Even with the movement making this super clear. But it is consistent with a conversation I had in my barbars a while ago to be fair, when I mentioned going to see the Guilty Feminist live recording in Liverpool.

All of the survey data is on Github, which feels like could be more data to add to the Modern Romance reddit data. Some of this may appear in my book one day.

You could be flirting on dating apps with paid impersonators

Cognitive burn-out

When I first saw the post about people flirting with paid people acting on your behalf. I won’t lie, I was quite shocked. But it makes sense, online dating is draining.

Online dating takes effort, and effort equals time,” he continued. “With [dating apps’] explosion in popularity, it means that you have a huge dating pool at your fingertips, but you’re also in direct competition with everyone else in your area. So if you want to have a chance at meeting your most intriguing matches, you need to have the best possible profile, photos, and messages.”

Although I understand it just feels unethical in a way I can’t describe. Its  similar to my reaction while reading OkCupid founder Christian Rudder’s book Dataclysm about the response rate to generic messages vs organic messages.

The company’s practices may be unethical—but they’re not illegal. Once the company obtains the client’s permission to impersonate them online, there are no laws against what Closers do.

Instead, it’s left to individual platforms to crack down on fake accounts. OKCupid, for instance, makes it clear in their terms of service that third parties are not allowed to open accounts, and it’s not uncommon for clients’ profiles to get flagged and deleted. But from a legal perspective, unless a Closer harasses or threatens a match, exposes a client’s confidential information, or asks for money, everything they do is legal according to US, Canadian, and UK law.

But legality aside, these cut-and-paste flirtations perpetuate negative gender stereotypes, and they reinforce an oversimplified (and destructive) view of romantic expectations.

Its well worth a read

https://qz.com/1247382/online-dating-is-so-awful-that-people-are-paying-virtual-dating-assistants-to-impersonate-them/

GDPR dating information update

Hackers movie

With GDPR I send out emails to OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Tinder and others. So far I’ve only gotten responses from POF and OkCupid. Which means Tinder and others have about a day or so to get back to me with everything before I can start to throw down some fire.

Before I headed on holiday, I got a message from POF then OKcupid a day later, saying they need the request from the email which is on the account. Fair enough, so I forwarded each email to that email address and replied all to myself and to them but from that email account address.

A few days later I got emails, first from POF and then OKCupid.

You have recently requested a copy of your PlentyofFish (“POF”) personal data, and we’re happy to report that we have now verified your identity.

We are attaching a copy of your personal data contained in or associated with your POF account.  The password to access the personal data will be sent in a separate email.

By downloading this data, you consent to the extraction of your data from POF, and assume all risk and liability for such downloaded data. We encourage you to keep it secure and take precautions when storing or sharing it.

The information contained in this archive may vary depending on the way you have used POF. In general, this information includes content and photos you have provided us, whether directly or through your social media accounts, messages you have sent and other data you would expect to see from a social media service like POF.

Please note that there is some information we cannot release to you including information that would likely reveal personal information about other users. Those notably include messages you received on POF, which are not provided out of concern for the privacy of the senders.

Sincerely,

POF Privacy Team

Then similar from OKcupid, which makes sense being the same company really.

Dear Mr. Forrester:

You have recently requested a copy of your OkCupid personal data, and we’re happy to report that we have now verified your identity.

We are attaching a copy of your personal data contained in or associated with your OkCupid account. The password to access the personal data will be sent in a separate email.

By downloading this data, you consent to the extraction of your data from OkCupid, and assume all risk and liability for such downloaded data. We encourage you to keep it secure and take precautions when storing or sharing it.

The information contained in this archive may vary depending on the way you have used OkCupid. In general, this information includes content and photos you have provided us, whether directly or through your social media accounts, messages you have sent and other data you would expect to see from a social media service like OkCupid.

Please note that there is some information we cannot release to you including information that would likely reveal personal information about other users. Those notably include messages you received on OkCupid, which are not provided out of concern for the privacy of the senders.

Sincerely,

OkCupid Privacy Team

So on my train journey from Stockholm to Copenhagen, I had a look inside the Zip files shared with me. Quite different, I’d be interesting to see what others will do.

  • Forrester, I – POF Records.zip
    • UserData.json | 6.2 kb
    • UserData.pdf | 40.5 kb
    • Profile_7.jpg | 30.1 kb
    • Profile_6.jpg | 25.0 kb
    • Profile_5.jpg | 17.4 kb
    • Profile_4.jpg | 18.8 kb
    • Profile_3.jpg | 26.6 kb
    • Profile_2.jpg | 11.7 kb
    • Profile_1.jpg | 30.7 kb
  • OkCupid_Records_-Forrester__I.zip
    • Ian Forrester_JSN.txt | 3.8 mb
    • Ian Forrester_html.html | 6.6mb

As you can see quite different, interestingly no photos in the OKCupid data dump, even the ones I shared as part of my profile. In POF the PDF is a copy of the Json file, which is silly really.

So the Json files are the most interesting parts…

Plenty of Fish

.POF don’t have much interesting data, basically a copy of my profile data in Json including Firstvisit, FirstvisitA, etc to FirstvisitE complete with my ip address. I also can confirm I started my profile on 2012-01-25.

Then there is my BasicSearchData and AdvancedSearchData  which includes the usual stuff and when I LastSearch ‘ed and from which IP address.

Nothing else… no messages

OkCupid

OkCupid has a ton more useful information in its Json. Some interesting parts; I have logged into OKCupid a total of 24157 times! My status is Active? My job is Technology?  The geolocation_history is pretty spot on and the login_history goes from July 2007 to current year, complete with IP and time.

The messages is really interesting! They decided to share one of the messages, so only the ones you send rather what you received. As the messages are not like emails, you don’t get the quoted reply, just the sent message. Each item includes who from (me) and time/date. There are some which are obviously a instant massager conversation which look odd reading them now. In those ones, theres also fields for peer, peer_joined, time and type. Its also clear where changes have happened for example when you use to be able to add some formatting to the message and you use to have subject lines.

Some which stick out include, Allergic to smoking?, insomnia, ENTP and where next, The Future somewhat answered, So lazy you’ve only done 40 something questions, Dyslexia is an advantage, But would you lie in return? No bad jokes, gotland and further a field, Ok obvious question, etc.

Next comes the photos (My photos, no one elses)

"caption": "OkCupid's removal of visitors is so transparent, I don't know why they bothered to lie to us all?", 
"photo": "https://k1.okccdn.com/php/load_okc_image.php/images/6623162030294614734", 
"status": "Album Picture Active", 
"uploaded": "2017-08-08 19:16:20"

Of course the images are publicly available via the url, so I could pull them all down with a quick wget/curl. Not sure what to make about this idea of making them public. Security through obscurity anyone?

Stop screwing with OKCupid
As long as you can see the picture above, OKCupid is making my profile pictures public

Now the images strings seems to be random but don’t think this is a good idea at all! Wondering how it sits with GDPR too, also wondering if they will remove them after a period of time. Hence if the image a above is broken, then you know what happened.

Then we are on to the purchases section. It details when I once tried A-list subscription and when I cancelled it. How I paid (paypal), how much, address, date, etc… Its funny reading about when I cancelled it…

"comments": "userid = 7367007913453081320 was downgraded to amateur", 
"transaction": "lost subscription",

The big question I always had was the question data. Don’t worry they are all there! For example here’s just one of mine.

{
"answer_choices": {
"1": "Yes", 
"2": "No"
}, 
"prompt": "Are you racist?", 
"question_id": 7847, 
"user_acceptable_answers": [
"No"
], 
"user_answer": "No", 
"user_answered_publicly": "no", 
"user_importance": "mandatory"
},

After all those questions, theres a bunch of stuff about user_devices I’ve used to log into OkCupid over the years going right back. Stuff about preferences for searches, etc.

Going to need some time to digest everything but the OKCupid data dump is full of interesting things. I might convert the lot to XML just to make it easier for me to over view.

OKcupid responds to my GDPR request

OkCupid no Match protest

I mentioned how I emailed a load of dating sites for my data and then some… Under GDPR. So far I’ve got something form POF but OKcupid finally got back to me, after finally making it to supportconsole@okcupid.com.

Hello,

OkCupid has received your recent request for a copy of the personal data we hold about you.

For your protection and the protection of all of our users, we cannot release any personal data without first obtaining proof of identity.

In order for us to verify your identity, we kindly ask you to:

1. Respond to this email from the email address associated with your OkCupid account and provide us the username of your OkCupid account.

2. In your response to this email, please include a copy of a government-issued ID document such as your passport or driving license. Also, we ask you to please cover up any personal information other than your name, photo and date of birth from the document as that is the only information we need.

We may require further verification of your identity, for example, if the materials you provide us do not establish your identity as being linked to the account in question.

Please note that if you previously closed your account, your data may be unavailable for extraction as we proceed to its deletion or anonymization in accordance with our privacy policy. Even if data is still available for extraction, there is some information we cannot release to you including information that would likely reveal personal information about other users. Those notably include messages you received on OkCupid, which are not provided out of concern for the privacy of the senders.

Best,

OkCupid Privacy Team

Pretty much the same as the POF reply.

POF first to respond to my GDPR request

Plenty of Fish

I mentioned how I emailed a load of dating sites for my data and then some… Under GDPR. So far I’ve been bounced around a little but POF is the first positive email I gotten so far…

PlentyofFish (“POF”) has received your recent request for a copy of the personal data we hold about you.

For your protection and the protection of all of our users, we cannot release any personal data without first obtaining proof of identity.

In order for us to verify your identity, we kindly ask you to:

1. Respond to this email from the email address associated with your POF account and provide us the username of your POF account.

2. In your response to this email, please include a copy of a government-issued ID document such as your passport or driving license. Also, we ask you to please cover up any personal information other than your name, photo and date of birth from the document as that is the only information we need.

We may require further verification of your identity, for example, if the materials you provide us do not establish your identity as being linked to the account in question.

Please note that if you previously closed your account, your data may be unavailable for extraction as we proceed to its deletion or anonymization in accordance with our privacy policy. Even if data is still available for extraction, there is some information we cannot release to you including information that would likely reveal personal information about other users. Those notably include messages you received on POF, which are not provided out of concern for the privacy of the senders.

Best,

POF Privacy Team

Well I guess they are being careful at least but will be interested to see what other questions they ask me.

Still wondering when the rest will get in touch?

I always said Facebook was used for dating, why so surprised?

Facebook dating tinder

Facebook announces dating and some are surprised?

At F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced a new dating service, simply called “Dating,” that will exist right within the social network’s own app. It will allow Facebook users to create separate profiles from their main Facebook accounts to pursue romantic connections. The two profiles won’t interact, meaning your Facebook friends won’t be able to see what your Dating profile says. And it should make dating app incumbents like Tinder and Bumble anxious.

Hummmm, really… from previous posts I wrote

When will social networking dethrone online dating?

Facebook is being used for dating… full stop!

Of course I certainly wasn’t the only one writing about this, you only had to look at the way people were using Facebook. I guess you have to give Facebook credit for understanding what its users were doing. That or the amount of data the likes of Tinder & Bumble were using; convinced Facebook that screw Cambridge Analytica, this is a way to get in on the action before its too late? Just as they started to rethink things?

Is Matchgroup worried? They should be, because there attitude for their customers sucks big time and Facebook may scoop in and convince those customers easily. On top of that Bumble is suing them for 400 million. Not a trivial amount…

The difficulty of dating with Aziz Ansari in the spotlight

Aziz Ansari

When I first heard Aziz Ansari’s name attached to the sexual misconduct, I was honestly pretty sad and angry at him. How can this man who is a proud feminist and talks so openly  about dating in the age of the internet. However after reading more deeply there’s been a lot more to the headlines.

Here’s my rough thoughts…

I’m happy to not have to put Aziz’s actions in the warped, rampant and unchecked abuses of power like those of Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK and Kevin Spacey; which are simply horrible and deserve the press they have gotten.

I’d say my view is quite close to this podcast which pushed me to finally write something. I think its bad but its not something for the movement in my view. Its a bad experience and wouldn’t get the press if it wasn’t a big name. Babe.net have blown this up and its damaging to the bigger movement which I would say is about total abuses in power. I’m not saying I don’t have sympathy for Grace and her experience shouldn’t be heard; but its the escalation and which is worrying. Babe.net pushed this and did some harm & injustice to Grace to get short term viewers and attention. Its sadly something which happens a lot from my own experience and what friends tell me.

About the actual date…. I have to lean on Hadley Freeman’s column in the Guardian. Its really a difficult thing to say because I’ve got a few stories from bad dates. Some are misunderstandings, most seemed to be tied to drink, some are just unbelievable and theres no way I could repeat them without changing names/locations/etc . But for each one, I’ve held a certain amount of choice, power and understanding. Being self aware and conscious has really helped. I can only be responsible for my own actions and tend to avoid situations which looking back could be seen as questionable.

Dating involves more than one person, so instead of treating this story as a gladiatorial battle between snowflakes and people who enable rape culture, a more conducive approach would be to rethink the whole hook-up narrative: stop thinking of it as a game; get your head out of your libido when there’s someone else in the room; and when someone says no, they mean no, not, “Mmm, persuade me by sticking your hand down my throat.”

The Ansari story has shone a light on the awkward fault lines in modern dating – fault lines so common that many of us just took them for granted. It turns out that the dress is neither blue nor gold, but grey.

Dating is clearly difficult and I’m in agreement, the dress is neither blue not gold but shades of grey.

15th Feb, a evening about the future of dating with myself?

Future of dating with Ian Forrester

I was asked by Ahmed and other Manchester futurists to talk about the future of dating. Of course I said sure thing…

So I have combined a few of my blog posts, thoughts and foresights into a combination which I actually think could be or could lead towards a possible future of the way we match and connect in the future.

Should be fun as it won’t be just a talk like the TEDX talk 2 years ago but a workshop involving people in creating their own dating service on the night.

OKCupid starts screwing around with messages

Stop Screwing with okcupid

I proposed a few times in the past that dating sites may not necessary showing your messages to certain people because of a number of reasons (maybe you are sending too many messages, maybe you are deemed no beautiful enough!)

Well OKcupid quietly announced this change over the holiday season.

Hi! We’ve made some exciting changes to how messaging on OkCupid works. You see, from member feedback we found that our messaging system needed some help: members were getting too many unwanted messages, which was distracting them from the messages they actually wanted to respond to. After all, the conversations that end up leading to something are between people who actually like each other, so we wanted to make it easy for you to focus on just those messages. So now, although you can still send a message to anyone, you’ll only see messages in your Conversations from people you’ve liked. People who have messaged you but whom you haven’t liked yet will be highlighted in DoubleTake (and everywhere else, too) — just visit their profile to see the message. And if you’ve already liked someone, their message will automatically show up in your Conversations. Easy! And now for the best part — after testing these changes for weeks, we’ve found that this new way of messaging increases matches by over 30%! So thanks to your feedback, we’ve been able to make some pretty exciting improvements in time for the new year.

It sounds like a reasonable change, but I do wonder how much further they will go with this? It wouldn’t be hard to not show messages because of x reasons.

If you think about it also, OKCupid is slowly pushing people towards the ways it prefers to connect with people. No longer can you browse, read peoples profiles and send a message hoping to connect that way. I understand why but once again where does it lead us?
Update

After a little discussion with the amazing Lydia about this. I do think it’s good that okcupid is listening to it’s audience, but we do agree they may only be doing this due to falling numbers to the likes of tinder (owned by the same company) and bumble (match group tried to buy recently).

The skeptical me (anything okcupid does right now I am very skeptical about) thinks there might be a better way to educate users about their poor inbox filling messages. But it’s clear from okcupids founders own book Dataclysm, the mass produced non-personal messages seem to get conversations started (much to my dismay of humanity when reading this). Its also clear men are the biggest culprit of sending these and although a 2nd inbox (similar to Facebook?) to sorted by liked unliked people is a good for women. Maybe okcupid could educate the men before the message is even sent?

We seen (we see everything!) you copied and pasted this same message over and over again (5x times in 24hours), we are not going to send it till you think of something more original or read the profile!

Okcupid is a safe place for ALL its users…

Now that would be bold, helpful and move the emphasis from the victim to the culprits.

You could even quota the sent messages which resets when there is a reply and reduces further on blocks? But this all needs to be transparent and educational otherwise the user will just setup another account out of spite or frustration?

My new years resolutions for 2018

Ian at Sarajevo Unilimited
Talking Object Based Media from the Sarajevo Unlimited stage

Its been 10 years since I’ve  blogging my new years resolutions and I’m still convinced its a good thing to do.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2018; which follows on from 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Take Kate out of her comfort zone
    Part 1 completed in Ireland in 2017, now its time for Japan or Hong Kong with a bunch of twists.
  2. Head further a field with the new scooter
    New Scooter, new waterproof wear, its time for a ride into Europe before the UK leaves Europe (said with a very heavy heart)
  3. Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Closely related to the previous one, its got to happen in 2018. I love them and its time to go further a field to see what others are doing.
  4. Go to a new part of the world
    Regular resolution and its a great one to have.
  5. See more comedy
    I can’t really believe I didn’t go to any comedy last year, got to make changes to include some comedy in 2018.
  6. Explore more about the brain using neuroscience
    Massively interested in the power, quirks and processing of the brain; from the dreams it creates to the way it processes memes. The recent talk reminded me how much I love this area. Certainly like to see more talks like that.
  7. Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers
    I like chocolate but I decided a while ago that I should only really eat a certain percentage or higher. My tolerance for lower cocoa is dropping and like my cocktail choices; its time to avoid the rubbish stuff. Chocolate tasting confirmed this and the cocoarunners subscription should offer enough to keep me away from the rubbish stuff. I decided I should give myself some outs.
  8. Do more with my Estonian e-residency
    I want to do more with my e-residency and its about time, I started using this state backed digital identity to do more. Even if its just signing documents as me.
  9. Make better use of the online services I have paid or invested in
    I have paid for quite a few services like Plex, Standard Notes, Trakt, etc. They have all passed the point of me thinking this is good and I should support it for what ever reasons. Certainly need to connect them up with local services like ttrss, etc using ifttt.
  10. Be more daring in matters of the heart
    Last year was a quiet year for me, mainly because I was away so much and frankly I’m quite disillusioned with the current online dating platforms. Its time to find something else. There has to be better and I need to find it.
  11. Explore the future of online dating
    Following on from the previous one… I have thought about this, written about this, talked about it and its time to try something.
  12. Decentralise more and use POSSE more
    Time to move away from these centralised services and look for open source alternatives which value a distributed, federated, loosely connected models. I take what I said about my role in Mozfest quite seriously. Started using Mastoden more and been using things like Standardnotes, Wallabag, etc… then syncing or publishing elsewhere under my own steam