The Living Thing / Notebooks :

The Quantified Other

How I help Google and Facebook to learn enough about me to render me eventually superfluous

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Microsoft is able to index people and things in a room in real time. What that means, practically, is that if you can point a camera at it, you can search it.[…]

Once you can identify people and objects by feeding the computers images of Bob and jackhammers so they can learn what each of those things look like, you can start applying a framework of rules and triggers on top of the real world. Only [Certified Employees] can carry the [Jackhammer] and [Bob] is a [Certified Employee] so [Bob] is allowed to carry the [Jackhammer]. The limits to what kind of rules you can make are effectively arbitrary.[…]

The privacy implications, which Microsoft didn’t venture to mention on stage, are chilling even in a hospital or factory floor or other workplace. Yes, systems like this could ensure no patient collapses on a floor out of sight or that new hires aren’t juggling chainsaws for fun. But it also would make it trivial to pull up statistics on how any employee spends her day—down to the second. Even if it is ostensibly about efficiency, this sort of data can betray all sorts of private information like health conditions or employees interpersonal relationships, all that with incredible precision and at a push of a button. And if the system’s not secure from outside snooping?[…]

Big data, pre-existing conditions, the pan*icon, and the messy politics of monetising the confidential information of the masses for the benefit of the powerful. This will be lots of opinion pieces; for practical info see Confidentiality, a guide to having it.

Here I am mostly interested in transnational corporate surveillance. state surveillance is related, of course.

Facebook will engineer your social life.

A quick guide to asking Cambridge Analytica for your data

Vicki Boykis, Facebook is collecting this:

Facebook data collection potentially begins before you press “POST”. As you are crafting your message, Facebook collects your keystrokes.

Facebook has previously used to use this data to study self-censorship […]

Meaning, that if you posted something like, “I just HATE my boss. He drives me NUTS,” and at the last minute demurred and wrote something like, “Man, work is crazy right now,” Facebook still knows what you typed before you hit delete.

The Trust Engineers is a chin-stroking public radio show about how Facebook researches people. If you project it forward 10 years, this should evoke pants-shitting grade dystopia, when epistemic communities are manufactured to order by an unaccountable corporation in the interests of whomever.