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When it comes to internet privacy, be very afraid, analyst suggests | Harvard Gazette
Europe has more stringent privacy regulations than the United States. In general, Americans tend to mistrust government and trust corporations. Europeans tend to trust government and mistrust corporations. The result is that there are more controls over government surveillance in the U.S. than in Europe. On the other hand, Europe constrains its corporations to a much greater degree than the U.S. does. U.S. law has a hands-off way of treating internet companies. Computerized systems, for example, are exempt from many normal product-liability laws. This was originally done out of the fear of stifling innovation.
Internet  surveillance  privacy  tracking  security  businessModels  regulation  USA  Europe  personalData  Google 
august 2017 by petej
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017
"What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook."

"Here in the rich world, the focus is more on monetisation, and it’s in this area that I have to admit something which is probably already apparent. I am scared of Facebook. The company’s ambition, its ruthlessness, and its lack of a moral compass scare me. It goes back to that moment of its creation, Zuckerberg at his keyboard after a few drinks creating a website to compare people’s appearance, not for any real reason other than that he was able to do it. That’s the crucial thing about Facebook, the main thing which isn’t understood about its motivation: it does things because it can. Zuckerberg knows how to do something, and other people don’t, so he does it. Motivation of that type doesn’t work in the Hollywood version of life, so Aaron Sorkin had to give Zuck a motive to do with social aspiration and rejection. But that’s wrong, completely wrong. He isn’t motivated by that kind of garden-variety psychology. He does this because he can, and justifications about ‘connection’ and ‘community’ are ex post facto rationalisations. The drive is simpler and more basic. That’s why the impulse to growth has been so fundamental to the company, which is in many respects more like a virus than it is like a business. Grow and multiply and monetise. Why? There is no why. Because.

Automation and artificial intelligence are going to have a big impact in all kinds of worlds. These technologies are new and real and they are coming soon. Facebook is deeply interested in these trends. We don’t know where this is going, we don’t know what the social costs and consequences will be, we don’t know what will be the next area of life to be hollowed out, the next business model to be destroyed, the next company to go the way of Polaroid or the next business to go the way of journalism or the next set of tools and techniques to become available to the people who used Facebook to manipulate the elections of 2016. We just don’t know what’s next, but we know it’s likely to be consequential, and that a big part will be played by the world’s biggest social network. On the evidence of Facebook’s actions so far, it’s impossible to face this prospect without unease."
Facebook  socialMedia  ZuckerbergMark  attention  business  psychology  ThielPeter  mimeticDesire  GiraudRene  filterBubble  identity  fakeNews  misinformation  Russia  TrumpDonald  advertising  surveillance  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  targeting  personalData  monetisation  tracking  Experian  creditCards  algorithms  auctions  Google  monopoly  duopoly  manipulation  emotion  happiness  mentalHealth  dctagged  dc:creator=LanchesterJohn  LRB 
august 2017 by petej
Google Is Transforming NYC's Payphones Into a 'Personalized Propaganda Engine' | Village Voice
Without rigorous government protections, individual users are left vulnerable. A senior executive specializing in cybersecurity and privacy at a major international corporation told the Voice that when it comes to protecting user data, the United States falls far behind other developed nations. "If we care about the privacy of our citizens, we should be tightening our privacy protections to be more like countries in the EU and Israel," she said. "Information like my political party is protected overseas; it isn't here. My choice of a male or female life partner, or both, that's protected overseas; it isn't here. My involvement in a union is private information overseas; it isn't over here. It can be taken at will." As a result, the security executive said, she's extremely cautious with her digital interactions. "I have very few apps on my phone," she says. "When I walk down the street, I have wireless service turned off because there's so much information that can be leaking out of your phone that way. Most people don't understand that when they have Wi-Fi turned on, they're announcing their location to the entire city. I have a problem with that."

This freedom to opt out entirely is also the last argument that spokespeople for LinkNYC and the city itself fall back upon when challenged with privacy concerns: If you don't like it, you're welcome not to use it. It's a disheartening place to land, especially when discussing infrastructure that's supposed to be serving people who aren't served otherwise. To Moglen, it's simply an unacceptable conclusion. "That's what they want us to believe, that we have a choice between isolation and monitored connecting," he says. "Those are not adequate choices in a 21st-century world: We are designing the net to track you — if you don't like it, don't use it. The human race is shifting to a fully surveilled and monitored superorganism — if you don't like that, stop being human. That's a poor outcome. The United States is a society that was based around the idea that human beings can have liberty. So give us liberty! And don't tell us that otherwise we can have the death of the net."
technology  NYC  wireless  LinkNYC  Google  networks  advertising  personalisation  profiling  data  privacy  smartCities  GreenfieldAdam  DoctoroffDan  surveillance  tracking  anonymisation  deanonymisation  Gimbal  Bluetooth  location 
july 2016 by petej
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