Reckless Exploit: Mexican Journalists, Lawyers, and a Child Targeted with NSO Spyware is another fine bit of investigative reporting by Citizenlab.org (a group that is worth following.) Read at this link the use of spyware to target journalists and advocates of views that are inconvenient to what some might view are corrupt officials.
… selling us stuff.
(This is the last of this morning’s roll ups.)
We already know the internet is about revenue streams for the Googleplex. Interfaces Need To Stop Selling Us Stuff And Start Treating Us Like Human Beings.
Giving those same companies the opportunity to mine information about our fine-grain activities in the home offers them the mother lode of profiling data: Rise of the machines: who is the ‘internet of things’ good for?.
A nice article at Discover Magazine tells some of the many ways our data are used. None of this is particularly surprising to privacy advocates, of course, but this is an interesting perspective since the author speaks from the algorithmic point of view; we of course would have wondered why we allowed data to be available for those algorithms to be used as such in the first place.
Of course, to skeptics who lament the absence of privacy practices that put consumers in control of their own information, there is no surprise in the the following: Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking (link to ProPublica). There was just too much money to be made not to join web tracking data with Google user profiles.
User profiles like in Google Apps for Education, for example. This would mean all Maryland students, faculty and staff who use our campus-supplied, Google-implemented mail and services are not only coloring in profiles for Google to use in commercial ventures – Google does that already – but these profiles will be joined with all our web activities (on and off campus.) All as a condition of being affiliated with University of Maryland.
Can you opt out? Maybe, but at some point employees will be opting out of getting official information from their employer and students will be opting out of getting traffic from their instructors. At least this is how it looks from here.
UM leadership puts our personal information into a stream of commerce in order to obtain its technology infrastructure. Once again Wallace Loh writes checks that we must cash.
Bloomberg reports on Baltimore Secret Cameras, which constantly record in the city. It’s a good article on how much surveillance really goes on … and in a city that has just been issued a scathing report from the Department of Justice on persistent and long-term civil rights violations in its police department. Yes, it does seem like these things go together, doesn’t it?
“Clicking ‘I accept’ doesn’t mean you surrender right to know how a company uses your data“. That’s the title of an article about some of the many ways companies use your data, often without your full appreciation of what you have given away.
As described in the linked article, some people are working hard to help you and fellow consumers be more informed about the effect of those disclosures. Bravo!
We should be so lucky that it is only the government making unfathomable decisions about us based on data they harvest without explanation for how it is used, as you might draw from today’s Washington Post article Creepy startup will help landlords, employers and online dates strip-mine intimate data from your Facebook page. (Also as linked from Slashdot, which tipped us off first.)
As a condition of doing business, the prospective clients, tenants or customers of participating firms must turn over all social media access to the startup which will profile and analyze the applicant in order to delivery a “more accurate” picture of the applicant’s ability to pay bills. (And probably a lot more.) We’ve seen this before, where social media data can contribute to one’s credit rating, so the present development just takes it to new heights … err, depths.
This is an unregulated area, with greatest impact on people who probably have the least ability to push back against inappropriate intrusions. But once businesses get you to dance to their tune, it is difficult to see where things stop, as tenants in Utah found recently (Apartment in US asks tenants to ‘like’ Facebook page or face action).
The war on impure thoughts continues down its slippery slope.
Harvard Law School will
ban retire its seal because it derived from the emblem of a slave-holding family … never mind that the family funded the school’s first professorship 200 years ago. The way ahead is described in a very nice piece of writing by a scholar who studied other problematic icons associated with Harvard.
It will be easier in the future. Today’s digital era, in which so much data are kept, will make it far easier for tomorrow’s enlightened people to reach back and study our private thoughts in order to recognize which of us must be condemned for violating that era’s sensibilities.
They will know better then than we do today.
… as in Tweeting While Intoxicated.
Just in time for St Patrick’s Day festivities too.
Researchers deconstructed some of the workings of the Baidu browser, and report back with an inventory of serious privacy and security flaws … some would say unsurprisingly so. The linked article is to commentary from the same site, and that in turn can bring you to the detail of their work, which is a very credible bit of research.