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'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism

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'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/20/shoshana-zuboff-age-of-surveillance-capitalism-google-facebook

 

Quote

...Viewed from this perspective, the behaviour of the digital giants looks rather different from the roseate hallucinations of Wired magazine. What one sees instead is a colonising ruthlessness of which John D Rockefeller would have been proud. First of all there was the arrogant appropriation of users’ behavioural data – viewed as a free resource, there for the taking. Then the use of patented methods to extract or infer data even when users had explicitly denied permission, followed by the use of technologies that were opaque by design and fostered user ignorance.

And, of course, there is also the fact that the entire project was conducted in what was effectively lawless – or at any rate law-free – territory. Thus Google decided that it would digitise and store every book ever printed, regardless of copyright issues. Or that it would photograph every street and house on the planet without asking anyone’s permission. Facebook launched its infamous “beacons”, which reported a user’s online activities and published them to others’ news feeds without the knowledge of the user. And so on, in accordance with the disrupter’s mantra that “it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission”.

When the security expert Bruce Schneier wrote that “surveillance is the business model of the internet” he was really only hinting at the reality that Zuboff has now illuminated. The combination of state surveillance and its capitalist counterpart means that digital technology is separating the citizens in all societies into two groups: the watchers (invisible, unknown and unaccountable) and the watched. This has profound consequences for democracy because asymmetry of knowledge translates into asymmetries of power. But whereas most democratic societies have at least some degree of oversight of state surveillance, we currently have almost no regulatory oversight of its privatised counterpart. This is intolerable.

And it won’t be easy to fix because it requires us to tackle the essence of the problem – the logic of accumulation implicit in surveillance capitalism. That means that self-regulation is a nonstarter. “Demanding privacy from surveillance capitalists,” says Zuboff, “or lobbying for an end to commercial surveillance on the internet is like asking old Henry Ford to make each Model T by hand..

 

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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"Thus Google decided that it would digitise and store every book ever printed, regardless of copyright issues."

I guess this might be true for me. My work is sold legally on Google Play store so they have a commercial interest in not flouting copyright. Before ScribD went commercial it was a cesspit of copyright infringement, I made a few DMCA claims but now they make me money.

"Or that it would photograph every street and house on the planet without asking anyone’s permission "

A few years ago my whole road was robbed. The planning and execution of the criminals operation was impressive. They already knew where every back shed was and went from the behind of one house to the other. Once they accumulated enough stolen hardware from each place they put it out at the front roadside for a Truck to later come past and pick up the loot on one trip. It was a bitterly cold snowy night so I guess they chose their time when no dogs would be outside perhaps. I recall, from my bed, hearing and engine at about 3am, just like any other engine at night.

They left a pen behind, which must have fallen from one of their pockets. Would have been funny if it was a logo pen with "You've been robbed by so and so. Robbing since 19 - -".

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All about giving it for free, getting us used and dependent on it, even as far as addicted to it, taking away something that was once free, then dropping in small monthly subscriptions, then upping the rates, you know you need it, can't live without it.....then turns into a full blown necessity utility more important than fuel? food?.......very difficult though to do local.;)

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Data still has no intrinsic value though. So what if Google has logged that Meatloaf fans tend to have Pit Bulls as pets. How do they turn that into money. Data on consumer habits can be used to advertise stuff to us individually but they still can't make us buy anything.

Edited by EnglishinWales

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Once artificial intelligence improves, the data will be used for more than pop up adverts, which people expect and tolerate. For example, whether somebody should be sold health insurance, is this person the correct person to employ, should i rent a property to this person, and other uses we havent even thought off yet. If the algorithm doesnt like you, tough. 

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1 hour ago, EnglishinWales said:

My fear is that Big Data will be used to implicate us for crimes we haven't committed. Look at all the people they're locking up under 'counter-terrorism' legislation.

COP IT all ism ?

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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1 hour ago, stuckmojo said:

I am amazed that anyone with any brain activity really uses Facebook

Why?  I use it all the time.  It's really useful for things like (for example) organising an upcoming trip to Sweden with friends from all over Europe or sharing hobby photos amongst club members.  And yes, Facebook dutifully mines my data and throws me back adverts for "cheap flights to Sweden" - but so what?  It's just the 2019 version of junk adverts through the letterbox.

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Western states slowly evolving into a oppressive cyberpunk nightmare like the PRC is with its horrid "credit" system is inevitably going to lead to people living more off the grid (or even have guerillas attacking the electric/communication lines or attacking cameras, etc).

Amazon's Alexa gives me the creeps (when my games consoles and phone is harvesting enough from me).

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The scary thing is that so many people aren't disturbed by it. The default position to them seems to be that nothing should be private without good reason. Frightening, they don't even understand why anyone would not want everything about them public unless you can give a clear, practical reason.

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5 hours ago, scottbeard said:

It's really useful for things like (for example) organising an upcoming trip to Sweden with friends from all over Europe or sharing hobby photos amongst club members.  And yes, Facebook dutifully mines my data and throws me back adverts for "cheap flights to Sweden" - but so what?

I find the more disturbing aspect of Facebook is that it seems to do data mining from people who aren't even on the site. 

I have never been on Facebook for example, but my wife is an avid user. About 18 months ago I was organizing a (solo) trip to Bali. Within 3 days, my wife was getting Facebook adverts about "good hotels in Bali", even though she has never been to Bali and has never searched for hotels there on Facebook or elsewhere.  

And she and I use different laptops by the way. 

CREEPY...….

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1 hour ago, Society of fools said:

I find the more disturbing aspect of Facebook is that it seems to do data mining from people who aren't even on the site. 

I have never been on Facebook for example, but my wife is an avid user. About 18 months ago I was organizing a (solo) trip to Bali. Within 3 days, my wife was getting Facebook adverts about "good hotels in Bali", even though she has never been to Bali and has never searched for hotels there on Facebook or elsewhere.  

And she and I use different laptops by the way. 

CREEPY...….

Same source IP address on your router. Happened to my parents recently. I explained it, but doesn't stop my dad still going on Facebook, as like an earlier poster, he likes it for keeping in touch with others.

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8 hours ago, EnglishinWales said:

My fear is that Big Data will be used to implicate us for crimes we haven't committed. Look at all the people they're locking up under 'counter-terrorism' legislation.

They have moved on to white people,  mission creep, the British Army was originally sent to to N. Ireland to protect the catholic’s from the Protestants

White people are the majority in the country for the spooks to keep their well paid jobs it was only a question of time before they targeted the largest group 

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1 hour ago, dpg50000 said:

Same source IP address on your router. Happened to my parents recently. I explained it, but doesn't stop my dad still going on Facebook, as like an earlier poster, he likes it for keeping in touch with others.

It goes well beyond this, check out this link to device fingerprinting below.

https://clearcode.cc/blog/device-fingerprinting/

Check to see  how much information you leak.

https://www.doileak.com/

Edited by Lord D'arcy Pew

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11 hours ago, stuckmojo said:

I am amazed that anyone with any brain activity really uses Facebook

agreed mebook and twatter are for people who think everyone is interested in their life and their opinions

9 hours ago, scottbeard said:

or sharing hobby photos amongst club members.  And yes, Facebook dutifully mines my data and throws me back adverts for "cheap flights to Sweden" - but so what?  It's just the 2019 version of junk adverts through the letterbox.

This is why I hate mebook

I do not think anyone wants to see photos of me at a sports event/restaurant/holiday - they are not interested any more than I am interested in photos of what they are doing

people I care about I ring and chat to and arrange to meet 

Agree about the ads though I could not care less if people know I am into sport / theatre / reading when I get stuff on my pc I am not interested in I just ignore it

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A lot of people have deleted Facepalm and Tw@ter has been slowly rotting on the vine for a couple years (with a growing minority of people switching back to dumb phones).

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12 hours ago, nothernsoul said:

Once artificial intelligence improves, the data will be used for more than pop up adverts, which people expect and tolerate. For example, whether somebody should be sold health insurance, is this person the correct person to employ, should i rent a property to this person, and other uses we havent even thought off yet. If the algorithm doesnt like you, tough. 

Interesting, so you think people will be graded on individual personality traits, past behaviours, buying patterns, needs and wants.....more than just credit scoring then, we are all consumers.......but as already said cannot be forced to buy what we would like, but when we need something, if complacent and apathetic could easily be drawn into the spin, being aware of being targeted should help us to make more informed choices......can we not confuse the algorithms with data so they don't know who we are? ;)

Edited by winkie

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17 minutes ago, winkie said:

Interesting, so you think people will be graded on individual personality traits, past behaviours, buying patterns, needs and wants.....more than just credit scoring then, we are all consumers.......but as already said cannot be forced to buy what we would like, but when we need something, if complacent and apathetic could easily be drawn into the spin, being aware of being targeted should help us to make more informed choices......can we not confuse the algorithms with data so they don't know who we are? ;)

You can't be forced to buy something but people seem pretty willing to be encouraged to. Most people have their hooks salesmen - or algorithms - can find.

You can confuse the algorithms easily enough for yourself, particularly if you don't engage in anything much that's largely a data gathering exercise but they probably aren't that bothered if they don't work for everyone. It won't poison the system.

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2 hours ago, happyguy said:

agreed mebook and twatter are for people who think everyone is interested in their life and their opinions

Kind of ironic to post that comment (itself an opinion) on a website forum whose content is largely just a collection of thousands of people posting their own opinions...

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2 hours ago, Big Orange said:

 (with a growing minority of people switching back to dumb phones).

This will be a growing trend. People will be switching back to the most basic phones (if, indeed, they carry one at all). Most of the time the phone will be switched off and stored in the microwave or fridge.

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45 minutes ago, Errol said:

This will be a growing trend. People will be switching back to the most basic phones (if, indeed, they carry one at all). Most of the time the phone will be switched off and stored in the microwave or fridge.

You think so? People really don't seem to care if every aspect of their lives is being watched.

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