Difference between revisions of "Information"

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[[Category: Information]]

Revision as of 10:54, 13 April 2022

Full Title or Meme

Information = Data + Context.


Here is a datum (i.e., a single piece of data):

I do not like okra. It’s like eating zucchini with hair. I don’t care how you prepare it. I don’t like okra.
That specific fact is essentially useless. Unless you invite me to dinner. Then it’s useful.
There. That’s the difference between data and information.
Data is not information until it is useful.

John Perry Barlow wrote in "The Economy of Ideas"

Gregory Bateson, expanding on the information theory of Claude Shannon, said, "Information is a difference which makes a difference." Thus, information only really exists in the Delta. The making of that difference is an activity within a relationship. Information is an action which occupies time rather than a state of being which occupies physical space, as is the case with hard goods. It is the pitch, not the baseball, the dance, not the dancer.


  • Information is what is needed to inform a decision. In Identity Management a collection of information is all that is available to identify a correspondent in an internet interchange. That is the core problem whether the goal is to track a potential customer, or to allow access to a valuable resource.
  • Communication of Information is just an attempt by the originator of the communications to infect the mind of the target in a such way that will cause that target to alter its behavior in a manner beneficial to the originator. In some cases there is collusion between two enterprises, as is the case with advertisements, but the net result is the same, controlling the behavior of the target, you the user.

Social Media

The social media sites bill themselves are a means to allow Users to share thoughts, but the reality is quite different. As described by Uzi Shaya,[1] a former senior Israeli intelligence officer:
Social media allows you to reach virtually anyone and to play with their minds. You can do whatever you want. You can be whoever you want. It's a placw where wares fought, elections are won and terror is promoted. There are no regulations. It is a no man's land.


Regardless of the level of assurance that is needed to make the identity decision, the process is the same, the replying party continues to collect information about the subject until the authorization decision threashold is reached. Notice that authentication is not a part of the process. There is really no point when the relying party ever knows who the subject really is. There is only a process of increasing knowledge of attributes attached to a subject identifier

Karl Popper described this process back in 1937[2] as proving an hypothesis. The subject starts with a subject identifier and adds details as additional attributes and until it can be assured. But notice that at a very early stage in this proofing process sufficient attributes have been supplied to allow tracking to other instances of that same real world person to be linked to the local user object. Or, in other words, identification is simply incompatible with privacy. See this demonstration at Harvard[3] to understand how little data is needed to uniquely identify you.


  1. Adam Entous and Ronan Farrow, Beception, Inc. (2019-02-18) New Yorker p. 44ff
  2. Karl Popper
  3. https://aboutmyinfo.org/