161 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. In April 2000, Clinton hosted a celebration called the White House Conference on the New Economy. Earnest purpose mingled with self-congratulation; virtue and success high-fived—the distinctive atmosphere of Smart America. At one point Clinton informed the participants that Congress was about to pass a bill to establish permanent trade relations with China, which would make both countries more prosperous and China more free. “I believe the computer and the internet give us a chance to move more people out of poverty more quickly than at any time in all of human history,” he exulted.

      This is a solid example of the sort of rose colored glasses too many had for technology in the early 2000s.

      Was this instance just before the tech bubble collapsed too?

      What was the state of surveillance capitalism at this point?

    1. If this past year-and-change has taught us anything, it's how interconnected we all are — a bat coughs and the world gets sick. Vaccines aside, our greatest weapon for defeating Covid-19 has been the mask, an accessory I'd formerly appreciated only a symbol: masks make secret, masks hide, masks cover, in protests as in pandemics. The social value of the mask has been made clear: they're not deceptive so much as protective, of ourselves and of others too. Masking is a mutual responsibility, a symbol of common identity founded in a common hope. 

      The idea of a bat coughing and infecting the world is a powerful one in relation to our interconnectedness.

      I'm enamored of how he transitions this from the pandemic and masking for protection against virus to using masks as a symbol for protecting ourselves, our data, and our identity in a surveillance state.

    2. The intimate linking of users' online personas with their offline legal identity was an iniquitous squandering of liberty and technology that has resulted in today's atmosphere of accountability for the citizen and impunity for the state. Gone were the days of self-reinvention, imagination, and flexibility, and a new era emerged — a new eternal era — where our pasts were held against us. Forever.

      Even Heraclitus knew that one couldn't stand in the same river twice.

  2. Jul 2021
    1. i feel for for tool builders that are serious about building useful software interoperability can actually be a huge 00:45:22 spoon uh to their success um it'll make easier to acquire users it will make it easier to help users embed your own tool in their workflows um you may be also losing some users but 00:45:34 that's okay i guess because it'll create sustainable pressure to you for you to focus on an audience well and build really really useful services for them and if you do that they also won't leave as easily

      I agree. I think companies that allow their users to take their data and run when they want to just create trust. Gone are the days when users automatically thought companies had their best interests at heart, as compared with current-day surveillance capitalists.

    1. Forty years ago, Michel Foucault observed in a footnote that, curiously, historians had neglected the invention of the index card. The book was Discipline and Punish, which explores the relationship between knowledge and power. The index card was a turning point, Foucault believed, in the relationship between power and technology.

      This piece definitely makes an interesting point about the use of index cards (a knowledge management tool) and power.

      Things have only accelerated dramatically with the rise of computers and the creation of data lakes and the leverage of power over people by Facebook, Google, Amazon, et al.

    1. Against Canvas

      I love that he uses this print of Pablo Picasso's Don Quixote to visually underline this post in which he must feel as if he's "tilting at windmills".

    2. All humanities courses are second-class citizens in the ed-tech world.

      And worse, typically humans are third-class citizens in the ed-tech world.

  3. Jun 2021
    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>KevinMarks</span> in #indieweb 2021-06-25 (<time class='dt-published'>06/26/2021 01:52:39</time>)</cite></small>

      IndieWeb + Welsh finally comes in handy! The Cwtch service Kevin Marks mentioned is the the Welsh word for "hug" or "cuddle" and cleverly has a heart shaped Celtic design for their logo. Kind of cute when you think about it. And speaking of opaque ids, if they're using a new protocol I hope they call it Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch....

    1. The idea that our minds should operate as high-speed data-processing machines is not only built into the workings of the Internet, it is the network’s reigning business model as well. The faster we surf across the Web—the more links we click and pages we view—the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link—the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.

      Here it is in July 2008, Nicholas Carr has essentially specified and created a small warning bell about the surveillance capitalism we've been experiencing for the past 13 years. He's also put a bright yellow highlight on the method by which they would do it.

      What are other early surveillance capitalism warning sources from this period?

  4. May 2021
    1. “For one of the most heavily guarded individuals in the world, a publicly available Venmo account and friend list is a massive security hole. Even a small friend list is still enough to paint a pretty reliable picture of someone's habits, routines, and social circles,” Gebhart said.

      Massive how? He's such a public figure that most of these connections are already widely reported in the media or easily guessable by an private invistigator. The bigger issue is the related data of transactions which might open them up for other abuses or potential leverage as in the other examples.

    1. To change incentives so that personal data is treated with appropriate care, we need criminal penalties for the Facebook executives who left vulnerable half a billion people’s personal data, unleashing a lifetime of phishing attacks, and who now point to an FTC deal indemnifying them from liability because our phone numbers and unchangeable dates of birth are “old” data.

      We definitely need penalties and regulation to fix our problems.

  5. Apr 2021
    1. The open RSS standard has provided immense value to the growth of the podcasting ecosystem over the past few decades.

      Why do I get the sinking feeling that the remainder of this article will be maniacally saying, "and all of that ends today!"

    2. We also believe that in order to democratize audio and achieve Spotify’s mission of enabling a million creators to live off of their art, we must work to enable greater choice for creators. This choice becomes increasingly important as audio becomes even easier to create and share.

      Dear Anchor/Spotify, please remember that democratize DOES NOT equal surveillance capitalism. In fact, Facebook and others have shown that doing what you're probably currently planning for the podcasting space will most likely work against democracy.

    3. Thus, the creative freedom of creators is limited.

      And thus draconian methods for making the distribution unnecessarily complicated, siloed, surveillance capitalized, and over-monitized beyond all comprehension are beyond the reach of one or two for profit companies who want to own the entire market like monopolistic giants are similarly limited. (But let's just stick with the creators we're pretending to champion, shall we?)

    1. So on a blindingly sunny day in October 2019, I met with Omar Seyal, who runs Pinterest’s core product. I said, in a polite way, that Pinterest had become the bane of my online existence.“We call this the miscarriage problem,” Seyal said, almost as soon as I sat down and cracked open my laptop. I may have flinched. Seyal’s role at Pinterest doesn’t encompass ads, but he attempted to explain why the internet kept showing me wedding content. “I view this as a version of the bias-of-the-majority problem. Most people who start wedding planning are buying expensive things, so there are a lot of expensive ad bids coming in for them. And most people who start wedding planning finish it,” he said. Similarly, most Pinterest users who use the app to search for nursery decor end up using the nursery. When you have a negative experience, you’re part of the minority, Seyal said.

      What a gruesome name for an all-too-frequent internet problem: miscarriage problem

  6. Mar 2021
    1. The scholars Nick Couldry and Ulises Mejias have called it “data colonialism,” a term that reflects our inability to stop our data from being unwittingly extracted.

      I've not run across data colonialism before.

  7. Feb 2021
    1. There is only one way to “play” Twitter, and the only real gain is that “No one is learning anything, except to remain connected to the machine.” 

      Ik vraag me af of dat echt zo is. Twitter lijkt meer en meer de plek te worden om je eigen media op te bouwen en het eigen spel te spelen. Er zijn meerdere manieren om het spel te spelen. Toch?

    2. The tech takeover corresponds with shrinking possibilities. This evolution has also seen the rise of a seeming aesthetic paradox. Minimalist design reigns now that the corporations have taken over the net. Long seen as anti-consumerist, Minimalism has now become a coded signal for luxury and control. The less control we have over our virtual spaces, the less time we spend considering our relationships with them. 

      Interessante laatste zin. Hoe minder we eigen controle hebben, zeggenschap, agency, hoe minder we ons bezighouden met de aard van de relatie. Die relatie kan verschillende vormen hebben.

    1. identity theft

      Saw this while scrolling through quickly. Since I can't meta highlight another hypothesis annotation

      identity theft

      I hate this term. Banks use it to blame the victims for their failure to authenticate people properly. I wish we had another term. —via > mcr314 Aug 29, 2020 (Public) on "How to Destroy ‘Surveillance C…" (onezero.medium.com)

      This is a fantastic observation and something that isn't often noticed. Victim blaming while simultaneously passing the buck is particularly harmful. Corporations should be held to a much higher standard of care. If corporations are treated as people in the legal system, then they should be held to the same standards.

    2. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Cory Doctorow</span> in Pluralistic: 16 Feb 2021 – Pluralistic: Daily links (<time class='dt-published'>02/25/2021 12:20:24</time>)</cite></small>

      It's interesting to note that there are already two other people who have used Hypothes and their page note functionality to tag this article as to read, one with (to read) and another with (TODO-read).

    1. This is just one study, of course, and these are complicated social realities. I think it is fair to say that our pundits and social critics can no longer make the easy assumption that the web and the blogosphere are echo-chamber amplifiers. But whether or not this study proves to be accurate, one thing is certain. The force that enables these unlikely encounters between people of different persuasions, the force that makes the web a space of serendipity and discovery, is precisely the open, combinatorial, connective nature of the medium. So when we choose to take our text out of that medium, when we keep our words from being copied, linked, indexed, that’s a choice with real civic consequences that are not to be taken lightly.

      These words certainly didn't take into account the focusing factor that social media algorithms based on surveillance capitalism and attention seeking clicks and engagement would inflict in the coming decade.

    1. A broad overview of the original web and where we are today. Includes an outline of three business models that don't include advertising including:

      • Passion projects
      • Donation-based sites
      • Subscription-based sites
  8. Jan 2021
    1. The ad lists various data that WhatsApp doesn’t collect or share. Allaying data collection concerns by listing data not collected is misleading. WhatsApp doesn’t collect hair samples or retinal scans either; not collecting that information doesn’t mean it respects privacy because it doesn’t change the information WhatsApp does collect.

      An important logical point. Listing what they don't keep isn't as good as saying what they actually do with one's data.

    2. Recently, WhatsApp updated its privacy policy to allow sharing data with its parent, Facebook. Users who agreed to use WhatsApp under its previous privacy policy had two options: agree to the new policy or be unable to use WhatsApp again. The WhatsApp privacy policy update is a classic bait-and-switch: WhatsApp lured users in with a sleek interface and the impression of privacy, domesticated them to remove their autonomy to migrate, and then backtracked on its previous commitment to privacy with minimal consequence. Each step in this process enabled the next; had user domestication not taken place, it would be easy for most users to switch away with minimal friction.

      Definitely a dark pattern that has been replicated many times.

  9. Dec 2020
    1. The company’s early mission was to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Instead, it took the concept of “community” and sapped it of all moral meaning. The rise of QAnon, for example, is one of the social web’s logical conclusions. That’s because Facebook—along with Google and YouTube—is perfect for amplifying and spreading disinformation at lightning speed to global audiences. Facebook is an agent of government propaganda, targeted harassment, terrorist recruitment, emotional manipulation, and genocide—a world-historic weapon that lives not underground, but in a Disneyland-inspired campus in Menlo Park, California.

      The original goal with a bit of moderation may have worked. Regression to the mean forces it to a bad place, but when you algorithmically accelerate things toward our bases desires, you make it orders of magnitude worse.

      This should be though of as pure social capitalism. We need the moderating force of government regulation to dampen our worst instincts, much the way the United State's mixed economy works (or at least used to work, as it seems that raw capitalism is destroying the United States too).

  10. Nov 2020
    1. surveillance capitalism.

      I recommend to link to the book where its author, Shoshana Zuboff, has coined the term.

      The irony right now is that you're linking to an Amazon version of Zuboff's book; Amazon is currently one of the top-five surveillance-capitalist companies in the tech world.

      I would also consider linking to the Wikipedia page for the term.

    1. In another interview, this time by John Laidler of the Harvard Gazette (March 2019), Zuboff expanded on this: I define surveillance capitalism as the unilateral claiming of private human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. These data are then computed and packaged as prediction products and sold into behavioral futures markets

      Zuboff's definition of Surveillance Capitalism

    1. But as long as the most important measure of success is short-term profit, doing things that help strengthen communities will fall by the wayside. Surveillance, which allows individually targeted advertising, will be prioritized over user privacy. Outrage, which drives engagement, will be prioritized over feelings of belonging. And corporate secrecy, which allows Facebook to evade both regulators and its users, will be prioritized over societal oversight.

      Schneier is saying here that as long as the incentives are still pointing in the direction of short-term profit, privacy will be neglected.

      Surveillance, which allows for targeted advertising will win out over user privacy. Outrage, will be prioritized over more wholesome feelings. Corporate secrecy will allow Facebook to evade regulators and its users.

  11. Oct 2020
    1. It would allow end users to determine their own tolerances for different types of speech but make it much easier for most people to avoid the most problematic speech, without silencing anyone entirely or having the platforms themselves make the decisions about who is allowed to speak.

      But platforms are making huge decisions about who is allowed to speak. While they're generally allowing everyone to have a voice, they're also very subtly privileging many voices over others. While they're providing space for even the least among us to have a voice, they're making far too many of the worst and most powerful among us logarithmic-ally louder.

      It's not broadly obvious, but their algorithms are plainly handing massive megaphones to people who society broadly thinks shouldn't have a voice at all. These megaphones come in the algorithmic amplification of fringe ideas which accelerate them into the broader public discourse toward the aim of these platforms getting more engagement and therefore more eyeballs for their advertising and surveillance capitalism ends.

      The issue we ought to be looking at is the dynamic range between people and the messages they're able to send through social platforms.

      We could also analogize this to the voting situation in the United States. When we disadvantage the poor, disabled, differently abled, or marginalized people from voting while simultaneously giving the uber-rich outsized influence because of what they're able to buy, we're imposing the same sorts of problems. Social media is just able to do this at an even larger scale and magnify the effects to make their harms more obvious.

      If I follow 5,000 people on social media and one of them is a racist-policy-supporting, white nationalist president, those messages will get drowned out because I can only consume so much content. But when the algorithm consistently pushes that content to the top of my feed and attention, it is only going to accelerate it and create more harm. If I get a linear presentation of the content, then I'd have to actively search that content out for it to cause me that sort of harm.

    1. The conundrum isn’t just that videos questioning the moon landing or the efficacy of vaccines are on YouTube. The massive “library,” generated by users with little editorial oversight, is bound to have untrue nonsense. Instead, YouTube’s problem is that it allows the nonsense to flourish. And, in some cases, through its powerful artificial intelligence system, it even provides the fuel that lets it spread.#lazy-img-336042387:before{padding-top:66.68334167083543%;}

      This is a great summation of the issue.

    1. Legislation to stem the tide of Big Tech companies' abuses, and laws—such as a national consumer privacy bill, an interoperability bill, or a bill making firms liable for data-breaches—would go a long way toward improving the lives of the Internet users held hostage inside the companies' walled gardens. But far more important than fixing Big Tech is fixing the Internet: restoring the kind of dynamism that made tech firms responsive to their users for fear of losing them, restoring the dynamic that let tinkerers, co-ops, and nonprofits give every person the power of technological self-determination.
  12. Sep 2020
    1. Facebook ignored or was slow to act on evidence that fake accounts on its platform have been undermining elections and political affairs around the world, according to an explosive memo sent by a recently fired Facebook employee and obtained by BuzzFeed News.The 6,600-word memo, written by former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang, is filled with concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion. In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, she found evidence of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes to boost or hinder political candidates or outcomes, though she did not always conclude who was behind them.
  13. Aug 2020
    1. The mass surveillance and factory farming of human beings on a global scale is the business model of people farmers like Facebook and Google. It is the primary driver of the socioeconomic system we call surveillance capitalism.
    1. Facebook has apologized to its users and advertisers for being forced to respect people’s privacy in an upcoming update to Apple’s mobile operating system – and promised it will do its best to invade their privacy on other platforms.

      Sometimes I forget how funny The Register can be. This is terrific.

    1. Facebook is warning developers that privacy changes in an upcoming iOS update will severely curtail its ability to track users' activity across the entire Internet and app ecosystem and prevent the social media platform from serving targeted ads to users inside other, non-Facebook apps on iPhones.

      I fail to see anything bad about this.

  14. Jul 2020
    1. But the business model that we now call surveillance capitalism put paid to that, which is why you should never post anything on Facebook without being prepared to face the algorithmic consequences.

      I'm reminded a bit of the season 3 episode of Breaking Bad where Jesse Pinkman invites his drug dealing pals to a Narcotics Anonymous-type meeting so that they can target their meth sales. Fortunately the two low lifes had more morality and compassion than Facebook can manage.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20kpzC3sckQ

    1. a new kind of power

      This is what Shoshana Zuboff sustains in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: a new kind of power which can, at first, be apprehended through Marx’s lenses; but as a new form of capitalism, it <mark>“cannot be reduced to known harms—monopoly, privacy—and therefore do not easily yield to known forms of combat.”</mark>

      It is <mark>“a new form of capitalism on its own terms and in its own words”</mark> which therefore requires new conceptual frameworks to be understood, negotiated.

    2. One of these semiotizing processes is the extraction, interpretation and reintegration of web data from and into human subjectivities.

      Machine automation becomes another “subjectivity” or “agentivity”—an influential one, because it is the one filtering and pushing content to humans.

      The means of this automated subjectivity is feeding data capitalism: more content, more interaction, more behavioral data produced by the users—data which is then captured (“dispossessed”), extracted, and transformed into prediction services, which render human behavior predictable, and therefore monetizable (Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surviellance Capitalism, 2019).

  15. Jun 2020
    1. One of the new tools debuted by Facebook allows administrators to remove and block certain trending topics among employees. The presentation discussed the “benefits” of “content control.” And it offered one example of a topic employers might find it useful to blacklist: the word “unionize.”

      Imagine your employer looking over your shoulder constantly.

      Imagine that you're surveilled not only in regard to what you produce, but to what you—if you're an office worker—tap our in chats to colleagues.

      This is what Facebook does and it's not very different to what China has created with their Social Credit System.

      This is Orwellian.

  16. May 2020
    1. What is more frightening than being merely watched, though, is being controlled. When Facebook can know us better than our parents with only 150 likes, and better than our spouses with 300 likes, the world appears quite predictable, both for governments and for businesses. And predictability means control.

      "Predictability means control"

  17. Apr 2020
    1. Thousands of enterprises around the world have done exhaustive security reviews of our user, network, and data center layers and confidently selected Zoom for complete deployment. 

      This doesn't really account for the fact that Zoom have committed some atrociously heinous acts, such as (and not limited to):

  18. Mar 2020
    1. This is known as transport encryption, which is different from end-to-end encryption because the Zoom service itself can access the unencrypted video and audio content of Zoom meetings. So when you have a Zoom meeting, the video and audio content will stay private from anyone spying on your Wi-Fi, but it won’t stay private from the company.
    2. But despite this misleading marketing, the service actually does not support end-to-end encryption for video and audio content, at least as the term is commonly understood. Instead it offers what is usually called transport encryption, explained further below
    1. Mastercard acquired NuData Security in 2017 and it has been making advances in biometric identification.
    2. The payment provider told MarketWatch that everyone has a unique walk, and it is investigating innovative behavioral biometrics such as gait, face, heartbeat and veins for cutting edge payment systems of the future.

      This is a true invasion into people's lives.

      Remember: this is a credit-card company. We use them to pay for stuff. They shouldn't know what we look like, how we walk, how our hearts beat, nor how our 'vein technology' works.

  19. Feb 2020
    1. Last year, Facebook said it would stop listening to voice notes in messenger to improve its speech recognition technology. Now, the company is starting a new program where it will explicitly ask you to submit your recordings, and earn money in return.

      Given Facebook's history with things like breaking laws that end up with them paying billions of USD in damages (even though it's a joke), sold ads to people who explicitly want to target people who hate jews, and have spent millions of USD every year solely on lobbyism, don't sell your personal experiences and behaviours to them.

      Facebook is nefarious and psychopathic.

    1. I suspect that Wacom doesn’t really think that it’s acceptable to record the name of every application I open on my personal laptop. I suspect that this is why their privacy policy doesn’t really admit that this is what that they do.
  20. Jan 2020
    1. A Microsoft programme to transcribe and vet audio from Skype and Cortana, its voice assistant, ran for years with “no security measures”, according to a former contractor who says he reviewed thousands of potentially sensitive recordings on his personal laptop from his home in Beijing over the two years he worked for the company.

      Wonderful. This, combined with the fact that Skype users can—fairly easily—find out which contacts another person has, is horrifying.

      Then again, most people know that Microsoft have colluded with American authorities to divulge chat/phone history for a long time, right?

  21. Dec 2019
    1. We are barrelling toward a country with 350 million serfs serving 3 million lords. We attempt to pacify the serfs with more powerful phones, bigger TVs, great original scripted television, and Mandalorian action figures delivered to your doorstep within the hour. The delivery guy might be forced to relieve himself in your bushes if not for the cameras his boss installed on every porch.
    1. Google found 1,494 device identifiers in SensorVault, sending them to the ATF to comb through. In terms of numbers, that’s unprecedented for this form of search. It illustrates how Google can pinpoint a large number of mobile phones in a brief period of time and hand over that information to the government
  22. Nov 2019
    1. half of iPhone users don’t know there’s a unique ID on their phone (called an IDFA, for “identifier for advertisers”) tracking their app activity and sending it to third-party advertisers by default.
    1. Google has confirmed that it partnered with health heavyweight Ascension, a Catholic health care system based in St. Louis that operates across 21 states and the District of Columbia.

      What happened to 'thou shalt not steal'?

    1. Found a @facebook #security & #privacy issue. When the app is open it actively uses the camera. I found a bug in the app that lets you see the camera open behind your feed.

      So, Facebook uses your camera even while not active.

    1. Speaking with MIT Technology Review, Rohit Prasad, Alexa’s head scientist, has now revealed further details about where Alexa is headed next. The crux of the plan is for the voice assistant to move from passive to proactive interactions. Rather than wait for and respond to requests, Alexa will anticipate what the user might want. The idea is to turn Alexa into an omnipresent companion that actively shapes and orchestrates your life. This will require Alexa to get to know you better than ever before.

      This is some next-level onslaught.

    1. Somewhere in a cavernous, evaporative cooled datacenter, one of millions of blinking Facebook servers took our credentials, used them to authenticate to our private email account, and tried to pull information about all of our contacts. After clicking Continue, we were dumped into the Facebook home page, email successfully “confirmed,” and our privacy thoroughly violated.
    1. In 2013, Facebook began offering a “secure” VPN app, Onavo Protect, as a way for users to supposedly protect their web activity from prying eyes. But Facebook simultaneously used Onavo to collect data from its users about their usage of competitors like Twitter. Last year, Apple banned Onavo from its App Store for violating its Terms of Service. Facebook then released a very similar program, now dubbed variously “Project Atlas” and “Facebook Research.” It used Apple’s enterprise app system, intended only for distributing internal corporate apps to employees, to continue offering the app to iOS users. When the news broke this week, Apple shut down the app and threw Facebook into some chaos when it (briefly) booted the company from its Enterprise Developer program altogether.
    1. If the apparatus of total surveillance that we have described here were deliberate, centralized, and explicit, a Big Brother machine toggling between cameras, it would demand revolt, and we could conceive of a life outside the totalitarian microscope.
    1. The FBI is currently collecting data about our faces, irises, walking patterns, and voices, permitting the government to pervasively identify, track, and monitor us. The agency can match or request a match of our faces against at least 640 million images of adults living in the U.S. And it is reportedly piloting Amazon’s flawed face recognition surveillance technology.

      FBI and Amazon are being sued because of surveillance of people living in the USA.

    1. Senior government officials in multiple U.S.-allied countries were targeted earlier this year with hacking software that used Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) WhatsApp to take over users’ phones, according to people familiar with the messaging company’s investigation.
  23. Oct 2019
    1. Per Bloomberg, which cited an memo from an anonymous Google staffer, employees discovered that the company was creating the new tool as a Chrome browser extension that would be installed on all employees’ systems and used to monitor their activities.

      From the Bloomberg article:

      Earlier this month, employees said they discovered that a team within the company was creating the new tool for the custom Google Chrome browser installed on all workers’ computers and used to search internal systems. The concerns were outlined in a memo written by a Google employee and reviewed by Bloomberg News and by three Google employees who requested anonymity because they aren’t authorized to talk to the press.

    1. A highly interesting article where a well-known company prefers blood money to allowing employees to talk about politics. This is capitalism at its core: all profit, no empathy.

    2. Meanwhile at Microsoft's GitHub, employees at both companies have objected to GitHub's business with ICE, not to mention Microsoft's government contracts. Employees at Amazon have also urged the company not to sell its facial recognition technology to police and the military.
    3. If you can see how people might respond to IBM, infamous for providing technology that helped the Nazis in World War II, saying, "Who has time to look into the source of this hard German currency?" you can imagine how GitLab's policy amendment has been received.
    1. there's still the issue of user IP addresses, which Tencent would see for those using devices with mainland China settings. That's a privacy concern, but its one among many given that other Chinese internet companies – ISPs, app providers, cloud service providers, and the like – can be assumed to collect that information and provide it to the Chinese surveillance state on demand.
    1. This system will apply to foreign owned companies in China on the same basis as to all Chinese persons, entities or individuals. No information contained on any server located within China will be exempted from this full coverage program. No communication from or to China will be exempted. There will be no secrets. No VPNs. No private or encrypted messages. No anonymous online accounts. No trade secrets. No confidential data. Any and all data will be available and open to the Chinese government. Since the Chinese government is the shareholder in all SOEs and is now exercising de facto control over China’s major private companies as well, all of this information will then be available to those SOEs and Chinese companies. See e.g. China to place government officials inside 100 private companies, including Alibaba. All this information will be available to the Chinese military and military research institutes. The Chinese are being very clear that this is their plan.

      At least the current Chinese government are clear about how all-intrusive they will be, so that people can avoid them. IF people can avoid them.

    1. Amazon doesn’t tell customers much about its troubleshooting process for Cloud Cam. In its terms and conditions, the company reserves the right to process images, audio and video captured by devices to improve its products and services.
    2. Nowhere in the Cloud Cam user terms and conditions does Amazon explicitly tell customers that human beings are training the algorithms behind their motion detection software.
    3. An Amazon team also transcribes and annotates commands recorded in customers’ homes by the company’s Alexa digital assistant
    4. Dozens of Amazon workers based in India and Romania review select clips captured by Cloud Cam, according to five people who have worked on the program or have direct knowledge of it.
    1. We recently discovered that when you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes (for example, two-factor authentication) this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes, specifically in our Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system. 

      Twitter may have sold your e-mail address to people.

      Twitter has only done this with people who have added their e-mail address for security purposes.

      Security purposes for Twitter = sell your e-mail address to a third-party company.

      Spam for you = security purposes for Twitter.

    1. In case you wanted to be even more skeptical of Mark Zuckerberg and his cohorts, Facebook has now changed its advertising policies to make it easier for politicians to lie in paid ads. Donald Trump is taking full advantage of this policy change, as popular info reports.
    2. The claim in this ad was ruled false by those Facebook-approved third-party fact-checkers, but it is still up and running. Why? Because Facebook changed its policy on what constitutes misinformation in advertising. Prior to last week, Facebook’s rule against “false and misleading content” didn’t leave room for gray areas: “Ads landing pages, and business practices must not contain deceptive, false, or misleading content, including deceptive claims, offers, or methods.”
  24. Sep 2019
  25. Aug 2019
    1. I think Netflix would’ve avoided this controversy if it had plainly told subscribers what it was doing somewhere in the app or with a notification. Instead, people discovered that Netflix was utilizing Android’s physical activity permission, which is strange behavior from a video streaming app. In some instances, it was doing this without asking users to approve the move first, as was the case for The Next Web’s Ivan Mehta. You’ve got to be transparent if you want to monitor anyone’s movements. Netflix was unable to immediately answer whether it will be removing the physical activity recognition permission from its app now that the test is done.

      It's great that sites like The Verge and The Next Web are calling surveillance capitalists out.

  26. Jul 2019
    1. Even if we never see this brain-reading tech in Facebook products (something that would probably cause just a little concern), researchers could use it to improve the lives of people who can’t speak due to paralysis or other issues.
    2. That’s very different from the system Facebook described in 2017: a noninvasive, mass-market cap that lets people type more than 100 words per minute without manual text entry or speech-to-text transcription.
    3. Their work demonstrates a method of quickly “reading” whole words and phrases from the brain — getting Facebook slightly closer to its dream of a noninvasive thought-typing system.
    1. SZ: We are not users. I say we are bound in new psychological, social, political, as well as, economic interests. That we have not yet invented the words to describe the ways that we are bound. We have not yet invented the forms of collective action to express the interests that bind us.  And that that is a big part of the work that must follow in this year and the next year and the year after that, if we are to ultimately interrupt and outlaw what I view as a pernicious rogue capitalism that has no business dominating our society.
    1. “We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well-intentioned the leaders of these companies may be.”Mr. Hughes went on to describe the power held by Facebook and its leader Mr. Zuckerberg, his former college roommate, as “unprecedented.” He added, “It is time to break up Facebook.”
    1. AWS announced the general availability of Amazon Personalize, a fully-managed machine learning service that trains, tunes, and deploys custom, private machine learning models.

      Is this more of commoditising human experience so that Jeff Bezos can be even more rich?

    2. The number of Alexa-compatible smart home devices continues to grow, with more than 60,000 smart home products from over 7,400 unique brands
    3. Amazon introduced the all-new Echo Show 5
    1. According to Shoshana Zuboff, professor emerita at Harvard Business School, the Cambridge Analytica scandal was a landmark moment, because it revealed a micro version “of the larger phenomenon that is surveillance capitalism”. Zuboff is responsible for formulating the concept of surveillance capitalism, and published a magisterial, indispensible book with that title soon after the scandal broke. In the book, Zuboff creates a framework and a language for understanding this new world. She believes The Great Hack is an important landmark in terms of public understanding, and that Noujaim and Amer capture “what living under the conditions of surveillance capitalism means. That every action is being repurposed as raw material for behavioural data. And that these data are being lifted from our lives in ways that are systematically engineered to be invisible. And therefore we can never resist.”

      Shoshana Zuboff's comments on The Great Hack.

    1. Two years ago, when he moved from Boston to London, he had to register with a general practitioner. The doctor’s office gave him a form to sign saying that his medical data would be shared with other hospitals he might go to, and with a system that might distribute his information to universities, private companies and other government departments.The form added that the although the data are anonymized, “there are those who believe a person can be identified through this information.”“That was really scary,” Dr. de Montjoye said. “We are at a point where we know a risk exists and count on people saying they don’t care about privacy. It’s insane.”
    2. Scientists at Imperial College London and Université Catholique de Louvain, in Belgium, reported in the journal Nature Communications that they had devised a computer algorithm that can identify 99.98 percent of Americans from almost any available data set with as few as 15 attributes, such as gender, ZIP code or marital status.

      This goes to show that one should not trust companies and organisations which claim to "anonymise" your data.

    1. the question we should really be discussing is “How many years should Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg ultimately serve in prison?”
    2. “those who were responsible for ensuring the accuracy ‘did not give a shit.’” Another individual, “a former Operations Contractor with Facebook, stated that Facebook was not concerned with stopping duplicate or fake accounts.”
    1. In contrast to such pseudonymous social networking, Facebook is notable for its longstanding emphasis on real identities and social connections.

      Lack of anonymity also increases Facebook's ability to properly link shadow profiles purchased from other data brokers.

    2. Within this larger context, Facebook, Google (YouTube, Google+, Blogger), and Twitter have grown from small projects mocked up on sketchbooks and developed in college dorms to global networks of billions, garnering attention from venture capitalists who invested in pursuit of growth in revenues and profits and ultimately public offerings of stock. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are thus articulated into a particular political economy of the Internet, one dependent on surveillance of user activities, the construction of user data profiles, and the sale of user attention to an increasingly sophisticated Internet marketing industry (Langlois, McKelvey, Elmer, & Werbin, 2009).
    1. What should lawmakers do? First, interrupt and outlaw surveillance capitalism’s data supplies and revenue flows. This means, at the front end, outlawing the secret theft of private experience. At the back end, we can disrupt revenues by outlawing markets that trade in human futures knowing that their imperatives are fundamentally anti-democratic. We already outlaw markets that traffic in slavery or human organs. Second, research over the past decade suggests that when “users” are informed of surveillance capitalism’s backstage operations, they want protection, and they want alternatives. We need laws and regulation designed to advantage companies that want to break with surveillance capitalism. Competitors that align themselves with the actual needs of people and the norms of a market democracy are likely to attract just about every person on Earth as their customer. Third, lawmakers will need to support new forms of collective action, just as nearly a century ago workers won legal protection for their rights to organise, to bargain collectively and to strike. Lawmakers need citizen support, and citizens need the leadership of their elected officials.

      Shoshana Zuboff's answer to surveillance capitalism

  27. Jun 2019
  28. May 2019
    1. They’ve learned, and that’s more dangerous than caring, because that means they’re rationally pricing these harms. The day that 20% of consumers put a price tag on privacy, freemium is over and privacy is back.

      Google want you to say yes, not because they're inviting positivity more than ever, but because they want you to purchase things and make them richer. This is the essence of capitalism.