Hiding Your Moves on the Internet by acting like a Criminal is not Effective

The Guardian has a post on Janet Vertisi’s efforts to hide her pregnancy on the internet. 

Attempts to stay anonymous on the web will only put the NSA on your trail

The sobering story of Janet Vertesi's attempts to conceal her pregnancy from the forces of online marketers shows just how Kafkaesque the internet has become

The bit of irony is The Guardian hid the origin of the presentation Janet made which is here on Mashable.

How One Woman Hid Her Pregnancy From Big Data

For the past nine months, Janet Vertesi, assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University, tried to hide from the Internet the fact that she's pregnant — and it wasn't easy.

Pregnant women are incredibly valuable to marketers. For example, if a woman decides between Huggies and Pampers diapers, that's a valuable, long-term decision that establishes a consumption pattern. According to Vertesi, the average person's marketing data is worth 10 cents; a pregnant woman's data skyrockets to $1.50. And once targeted advertising finds a pregnant woman, it won't let up.

The part that had me laughing is when she figured out her process of being invisible made her more visible as a potential criminal.

Genius, right? But not exactly foolproof. Vertesi said that by dodging advertising and traditional forms of consumerism, her activity raised a lot of red flags. When her husband tried to buy $500 worth of Amazon gift cards with cash in order to get a stroller, a notice at the Rite Aid counter said the company had a legal obligation to report excessive transactions to the authorities.

"Those kinds of activities, when you take them in the aggregate ... are exactly the kinds of things that tag you as likely engaging in criminal activity, as opposed to just having a baby," she said.

What Janet was doing in her efforts to hide her pregnancy and her purchasing behavior, is she was doing the same things a criminal does to hide their activity.  If you want to hide, then blend into a crowd like camouflage.

Background matching is perhaps the most common camouflage tactic. In background matching, a speciesconceals itself by resembling its surroundings in coloration, form, or movement. In its simplest form, animals such as deer and squirrels resemble the “earth tones” of their surroundings. Fish such as flounder almost exactly match their speckled seafloor habitats.