why is the lack of online privacy so important?
Why Google and Facebook have to track you and your family and sell everything you tell them!
the age of surveillance capitalism - shoshana zuboff
Who Knows, Who Decides, Who decides who decides
China are considered the world leaders in tracking and controlling their citizens internet use. As the protests in Hong Kong heated up in the summer I wanted to find out more about what could be in store for the rest of the world too.
When I saw the amazing reviews of this book by such people as Naomi Klein it looked the perfect place to start and before too long it became apparent that, forget China, the problem has been staring us on our laptops and phones all along. Google and Facebook.
It's a long, very detailed analysis so therefore is unlikely to be read by the many which is a real shame but i've been talking to friends and family about this book and have tried to tell them what's going on as I think we all sort of know that something is not right. This attack on our privacy is unprecedented and is deliberatly and here's why I think we should care.
why should we care?
There are many reasons which I noted throughout reading and i've tried to order them in terms of priority
- There is no privacy online and yet more and more of our life is spent here. We need space where we are not being watched and can be ourselves without fear. Shoshana calls it Sanctuary which is usually the place we call home
- It is like having a virtual stalker 24 x 7 x 365 - Most apps track far more than they need to run to make more money
- Private companies are being allowed to take everything, what you write, what you look at, what you buy where you physically are from your pc and mobile for private profit with no obligation to tell you what they are doing and why
- They are collecting data about you but not for you. We'll never know what that data tells them and how they use it
- They are using this data to manipulate what you see and to try to change your behaviour. As the Guardian newspaper noted “if Facebook can tweak emotions and make us vote what else can it do”
- Scientific studies have found that the longer you stay on Facebook the unhappier you get due to the stress of automatically comparing yourself to your friends. This impacts younger people far more than older adults
- Facebook's sole aim is to keep you on their site for as long as possible. The more you stay the more THEY earn.
- To be profitable this tracking and manipulation has to be automated. As it is automated there are no morals and so any decision taken from the data collected about you will not care about your circumstances
- Governments and Academic institutions abide by common rule to safeguard people in experiments but academics can team up with private companies for dangerous and harmful interventions with no comeback
- All this data is in private hands. Google and Facebook know more about us than our governments and increasingly more than even some of our own family. So they know and they can decide what to do with this data and finally they can also decide who decides how to use it in the future....and no one else can.
- Sheryl Sandburg joined from Google to teach them how to profit from capture
- Early mistakes - Engagement ring purchase shared will all FB friends
- Like button - Bug that tracks user from FB to the rest of the internet turns out to be a feature
- 61m person study published in Nature in 2010 on how informing if users friends voted lead to 60K (2%) more people voting. FB learning how and when to intervene
- Every user has been experimented on t learn how best to modify their behaviour without their knowledge.
- Facebook can change the tone of the newsfeed for users and this changes the positive or nnegative tone of that users posts.