Category: information

Who Spreads Misinformation

We all know that misinformation in various forms – misunderstandings, mistakes, “marketing”, deliberately false information, fake stories, fake facts, conspiracy theories etc. exist in all forms of the media but seem to be more prevalent on social media, as anyone can create and spread falsehood for whatever reason, with little effort.

Marianna Spring, who works for the BBC investigated to find out just who starts such viral misinformation and who spreads it. She found the following:

  1. The Joker.

Anyone who shares a fake story as a joke, but people can miss the joke and spread the story believing it’s true.

  1. The Scammer.

Criminals who deliberately deceive in order to get victims to buy fake or non-existent goods, hand over personal information etc. in order to make money at their expense.

  1. Politicians

Many politicians will twist words and facts to suit their own purposes.

  1. Conspiracy theorists

For whatever reason, some people love conspiracy theories and will believe even outrageous conspiracy claims rather than look at simple explanations for things that happen.

  1. Insiders

An individual who claims to be from a trustworthy source, but it can’t be proven if they are. Some of the worst Coronavirus conspiracy lies were spread by people believing they were following insider information from health workers.

  1. Insiders

An individual who claims to be from a trustworthy source, but it can’t be proven if they are. Some of the worst Coronavirus conspiracy lies were spread by people believing they were following insider information from health workers.

Friends and relatives are some of the biggest spreaders of misinformation and when a celebrity with a large social media following gets involved, it can spread like crazy.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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The Problem of Dynamic Pricing

If you go shopping at your local shops, then you expect the prices of goods will stay basically the same. Inflation means there will be upward movement and sometimes special offers, but usually there are consistent prices.

Buying petrol is a difficult game as the price is set each day and petrol stations near each other will often change their prices to compete but there is usually at least a tiny difference in price for each petrol station you pass. You can fill your tank expecting the price to go up but it might go down instead.

Airlines have operated demand pricing for some time – the price fluctuates depending on the level of demand so passengers on the same flight may well have  paid a wide range of prices for the same seats from the early bird prices to higher last minute prices.

But what about online giants such as Amazon?

Amazon operate ‘dynamic pricing’ which means they will change prices frequently depending on demand and changing circumstances – this can be multiple times in a day but is more usually once or twice a week for many goods.

The weather forecast changes and the prices of some items changes accordingly. Monday and Tuesday are the least popular days for online shopping so there are more bargains to be had whereas the weekend is more popular so the prices go up.

Anything that potentially changes the level of demand can trigger price changes.

So, how do you deal with this?

It can be difficult to know whether prices for what you want are likely to go up or down but it can be advisable to watch the price of items for a while and see if you can get a good deal.

If you find dynamic pricing to be a problem, then you can use price comparison sites and you can try viewing items you want on various days and at different times and note the cheapest day and time.

Also, to avoid the retailer setting a price based who you are and where you live, switch your browsing to incognito mode so as to be anonymous.

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More Internet Domain Names

Brooklands Radio is obviously a radio station and the Internet domain “.radio” is becoming more popular.

In theory we could buy the domain name or or something similar if we wanted to.

“.radio” is an example of a domain name suffix or top level domain as they are called.

Many of these such as .com or can be bought by anyone for maybe £5 – £20 per year.

And some are incredibly valuable such as or or

Some have protected registrations which means you can only own the domain if it is relevant to your business.  “.radio” is protected so only radio stations and business in the field of radio can buy such a domain name.

Why is there a need to protect domains? There are unfortunately a lot of people (claim jumpers) who buy domain names they think will be valuable then try to sell them at a profit to someone who needs that one.

If .radio was not protected then someone could buy up the domain for example and then sell it at an extortionate price to the BBC if they wanted it.  This can prevent people getting the domain names that they should have for their business.

There are new Internet domain extensions created periodically and some of the more interesting names are: domains are

.rsvp .com

.dad .com

And so on.

There’s a world of new domain names to choose from. But most businesses still use .com as it’s so well known.

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Who Are The Data Brokers ?

Data brokers, also known as information brokers, collect personal information, package it into bundles, and sell it to advertisers or other third parties.

On the Internet, we are effectively giving away huge amounts of personal information by using search engines, posting on social media, accessing websites that track us, using mobile phone APPS, buying and selling etc.

We give this information away freely and sometimes it’s used for our benefit but often to help businesses sell more to us and scammers to take from us.

Data brokerage relies on this freely available information that they can collect, package and sell on.

The largest of the data brokers are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion and it’s a multi billion dollar industry.

There are four main types of data brokerage:

  1. Marketing and advertising

This information lets the advertiser target what they believe are relevant adverts at you. Can lead to adverts for the same products following you around from web site to web site. Some people prefer to have targeted adverts rather than random ones, but many feel this intrusive.

  1. Financial information

This is essential at times e.g. when you want to take out a bank loan or a mortgage – the prospective lender needs to be able to check on your previous financial dealings to determine what level of risk you are.

This data is also used to prevent fraud.

  1. Personal health information

This more about Marketing than about any benefit to you. Companies want to know what medication you buy, what health supplements you use, what medical questions you search on etc.  in order to sell more health products and services to you.

  1. People Search

These companies look for any information on you that they can find (e.g. social media profiles and postings, companies house records etc.) and then sell to a wide range of businesses including political organisations, charities, Marketing companies and many more. There are numerous web sites where you can lookup individuals – usually they charge for more than basic information.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Startpage is a Dutch search engine company that highlights privacy as its distinguishing feature.

To learn about Startpage – go to

StartMail was founded in 2014 by the CEO of Startpage and was developed to offer an email service that offered full privacy.

It is a PGP-encrypted email service.

Startmail say:

·         We never read your email

  • We believe that your privacy is a basic human right worth fighting for.

·         Unlimited aliases

  • When you don’t want to share real email addresses, you can create temporary ones on the fly.

·         IMAP/SMTP compatible

  • You can use StartMail with your favourite email programs, like Outlook, Thunderbird, and Apple Mail.

·         Based in Europe

  • Dutch privacy laws and regulations are among the strictest in the world.

·         10 GB storage in a personal vault

  • No limit on the number of emails as long as its within that maximum storage

·         Use your own domain

  • Get StartMail security on your own domains or subdomains for professional, custom email addresses.

·         Easy setup for business

  • No software to download. No installation needed. We walk you through the easy setup in minutes.

·         Costs less than a coffee i.e. $5 per month.

So, it does cost but there is a free trial available so you can test drive the service.

There are various similar email services on the market, so if you’re looking for higher privacy levels than standard email, do look around and do your research.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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