The Living Thing / Notebooks :

The new surveillance society

Our revealed preference for revealing our preferences

Corporate surveillance

Microsoft knowing you
Microsoft knowing you

Popular mechanics details Microsoft’s lense upon the petri dish you live upon.

The Quantified Other or How I help Facebook learn enough to replace me with Danbots

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 is mostly opinion pieces; for practical info see Confidentiality, a guide to having it.

Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life:

Report: How thousands of companies monitor, analyze, and influence the lives of billions. Who are the main players in today’s digital tracking? What can they infer from our purchases, phone calls, web searches, and Facebook likes? How do online platforms, tech companies, and data brokers collect, trade, and make use of personal data?

Robin Hanson’s hypocralypse is an interesting alternate slant that considers this transparency might be problem between peers also, as opposed to classic asymmetrical problem of the elites monitoring the proles.

within a few decades, we may see something of a “hypocrisy apocalypse”, or “hypocralypse”, wherein familiar ways to manage hypocrisy become no longer feasible, and collide with common norms, rules, and laws.[…]

Masked feelings also helps us avoid conflict with rivals at work and in other social circles. […] Tech that unmasks feelings threatens to weaken the protections that masked feelings provide. That big guy in a rowdy bar may use new tech to see that everyone else there can see that you despise him, and take offense. You bosses might see your disrespect for them, or your skepticism regarding their new initiatives. Your church could see that you aren’t feeling very religious at church service. Your school and nation might see that your pledge of allegiance was not heart-felt.

Chris Tucchio, Why you can’t have privacy on the internet:

A special case of fraud which also relates to the problem of paying for services with advertising is display network fraud. Here’s how it works. I run “My Cool Awesome Website About Celebrities”, and engage in all the trappings of a legitimate website – creating content, hiring editors, etc. Then I pay some kids in Ukraine to build bots that browse the site and click the ads. Instant money, at the expense of the advertisers. To prevent this, the ad network demands the ability to spy on users in order to distinguish between bots and humans.

Facebook will engineer your social life.

A quick guide to asking Cambridge Analytica for your data

Can you even get off facebook without getting all your friends off it?

Connections like these seem inexplicable if you assume Facebook only knows what you’ve told it about yourself. They’re less mysterious if you know about the other file Facebook keeps on you—one that you can’t see or control.

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.

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.

Anand Giridharadas, Deleting Facebook Won’t Fix the Problem:

When we tell people to get off the platform, we recast a political issue as a willpower issue.

State surveillance

Do You Want to Know a Secret by Dorothy Gambrell

Catching terrorists without resorting to a Stasi reign of terror by the state.

For practical info see Confidentiality, a guide to having it.

Awaiting filing

No-opt-out-gamified citizenship: China builds the mother of all online reputation systems:

China is proposing to assess its citizens’ behavior over a totality of commercial and social activities, creating an uber-scoring system. When completed, the model could encompass everything from a person’s chat-room comments to their performance at work, while the score could be used to determine eligibility for jobs, mortgages, and social services.

“They’ve been working on the credit system for the financial industry for a while now,” says Rogier Creemers, a China expert at Oxford University. “But, in recent years, the idea started growing that if you’re going to assess people’s financial status, you should equally be able to do that with other modes of trustworthiness.”

The document talks about the “construction of credibility”—the ability to give and take away credits—across more than 30 areas of life, from energy saving to advertising.

(see also)

Why we live in a dystopia even Orwell couldn’t have envisioned

Alexa O’Brien summarises: Retired NSA Technical Director Explains Snowden Docs.