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“33 of the 36 apps shared information that could give advertisers or data analytics companies insights into people’s digital behavior. And a few shared very sensitive information, like health diary entries, self reports about substance use, and usernames.”
“Obscurity bridges this privacy gap with the idea that the parts of our lives that are hard or unlikely to be found or understood are relatively safe. It is a combination of the privacy you have in public and the privacy you have in groups. Obscurity is a barrier that can shield you from government, corporate and social snoops. And until lawmakers, corporate leaders and citizens embrace obscurity and move to protect it, your freedom and opportunities to flourish will be in jeopardy.”
“This enables governments and companies to construct profiles of them, using these highly sensitive details to make inferences or predictions that may or may not be accurate. Increasingly, profiles are being used to make or inform consequential decisions, from credit scoring, to hiring, to policing.”
“Technology companies have for years responded to court orders for specific users’ information. The new warrants go further, suggesting possible suspects and witnesses in the absence of other clues. Often, Google employees said, the company responds to a single warrant with location information on dozens or hundreds of devices.”
“The technique illustrates a phenomenon privacy advocates have long referred to as the “if you build it, they will come” principle — anytime a technology company creates a system that could be used in surveillance, law enforcement inevitably comes knocking. Sensorvault, according to Google employees, includes detailed location records involving at least hundreds of millions of devices worldwide and dating back nearly a decade.”
“A recent study led by researchers at Northeastern University and the University of Southern California shows that, given a large group of people who might be eligible to see an advertisement, Facebook will pick among them based on its own profit-maximizing calculations, sometimes serving ads to audiences that are skewed heavily by race and gender.”
“An ad system that is designed to maximize clicks, and to maximize profits for Facebook, will naturally reinforce these social inequities and so serve as a barrier to equal opportunity.”
“Facebook is seeking yet again to apportion blame for its failures elsewhere - this time on governments for failing to regulate. Yet Facebook continually obstructs regulatory reform with its powerful lobbying capabilities, appeals against regulatory judgments and then investigates its critics.”
“Privacy for marginalized populations has never been, and will never be an abstract. Being surveilled, whether by private actors, or the state, is often the gateway to very tangible harms–violence in the form of police brutality, incarceration, or deportation. And there can be more subliminal, insidious impacts, too.”
“Of ‘special concern’ is that, by cross-referencing such data to the vast trove of personally-identifying information Google also holds from services like Gmail, Android apps, and Search, Google can ‘easily associate web activity with the identities of real people’, the report warns.”
“We, by way of our platforms, give agency and credence to these acts of violence, then pilfer profits from them. Tech is a money-making accomplice to these hate crimes.”
“Personal data is used to deny low-income people access to resources or opportunities, but it’s also used to target them with predatory marketing for payday loans or even straight-up scams.”
“as this burgeoning movement becomes an industry, some worry that the “wellness” approach and its emphasis on personal responsibility is whitewashing deeper structural issues within the tech industry.”
“The list of concerns about self-driving cars just got longer.
In addition to worrying about how safe they are, how they’d handle tricky moral trade-offs on the road, and how they might make traffic worse, we also need to worry about how they could harm people of color.
“The documents… reveal a secretive global lobbying operation targeting hundreds of legislators and regulators in an attempt to procure influence across the world, including in the UK, US, Canada, India, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Malaysia and all 28 states of the EU.”
“These histories illustrate Facebook’s radical indifference, my term for the formal relationship between surveillance capitalists and their users. Facebook doesn’t care about disinformation, or mental health, or any of the other issues on Zuckerberg’s list of resolutions. Users are not customers, nor are they ‘the product.’ They are merely free sources of raw material.”
“The IAB is certainly seeking to deploy pro-privacy arguments to try to dilute Europeans’ privacy rights.
Despite its own claimed reservations about there being no technical fix to get consent for programmatic trading under GDPR, the IAB nonetheless went on to launch a technical mechanism for managing — and, it claimed — complying with GDPR consent requirements in April 2018, when it urged the industry to use its GDPR ‘Consent & Transparency Framework.’”
“If your IoT device secretly contained a microphone, which was previously undocumented, would you be happy when the device maker announced an over-the-air update that can enable the microphone for virtual assistant voice functionality? That’s what happened with the security alarm system Nest Secure.”
“The biggest oversight… is in diagnosing disinformation as essentially a problem with Facebook, rather than a systemic issue emerging in part from the pollution of online spaces by the business model that Facebook shares with others: the surveillance and modification of human behaviour for profit.”
“Facebook deliberately broke privacy and competition law and should urgently be subject to statutory regulation, according to a devastating parliamentary report denouncing the company and its executives as ‘digital gangsters’.”
“‘While consumers are legally expected or presumed to read their contracts, businesses are not required to write readable ones. This asymmetry—and its potential consequences—puzzled us,’ wrote co-author Samuel Becher, a law professor at Victoria University of Wellington”
“How can we explain what is going on here? One possibility is that startup nation advocates pushed hard to ratify the plan as soon as possible, because of its contribution to innovation; these advocates view considerations of privacy as obstacles.”
“The EU’s updated privacy framework, GDPR, requires consent to be specific, informed and freely given. That standard supports challenges to Facebook’s (still fixed) entry ‘price’ to its social services. To play you still have to agree to hand over your personal data so it can sell your attention to advertisers. But legal experts contend that’s neither privacy by design nor default.”
“Facebook will no longer be allowed to force its users to agree to the practically unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook user accounts…”
“If Facebook loses the appeal, then Germany will become a grand experiment in whether the surveillance economy is actually essential to the operation of social media. Other Europeans and Americans may demand they are given the same option.”
“Almost every internet browser has an option in its privacy settings called “Do Not Track,” which, if you turn it on, sends an invisible request on your behalf to all the websites you visit telling them not to track you. It’s been around for years, but as Gizmodo recently reported, it doesn’t do anything because almost no websites actually honor the request not to be tracked because the government never forced them to comply with it.”
“Data is powerful and can inform on us in unexpected ways. Companies learn all about you, but also all about your friends who haven’t signed up for these services.”
“Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages.
The social network permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and it let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer, despite public statements that it had stopped that type of sharing years earlier.”
“It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your algorithms are, when you treat pregnancy as an advertising event, an opportunity to be monetized, you will get situations like this. When your engineers consist largely of twentysomething dudes, you will get situations like this. When you think about your users as data-points rather than thinking, feeling, complex human beings, you will get situations like this.”
“In Fidzup’s case, complying with GDPR has had a major impact on its business because offering a genuine choice means it’s not always able to obtain consent.”
“At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The Times found. Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the United States”
“The files also spotlight several issues of concern relating to privacy and data protection law, with internal documents raising fresh questions over how or even whether (in the case of Facebook’s whitelisting agreements with certain developers) it obtained consent from users to process their personal data.”
“The emails provide an uncommon window into the thinking of Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives as they sought revenue streams amid an industry-shaking shift from desktop to mobile computing. Executives considered charging developers fees to gain access to user data – something Facebook now claims it would never do – and discussed other schemes to leverage the company’s scale and vast troves of user data into revenue. At one point, Zuckerberg mused about how Facebook could mimic financial institutions as an “informational bank” whose assets were user’s personal information rather than money.”
“Google is processing incredibly detailed and extensive personal data without proper legal grounds, and the data has been acquired through manipulation techniques,” said Gro Mette Moen, acting head of the Norwegian Consumer Council’s digital services unit in a statement.
“Facebook is accused of undermining democratic institutions, but its CEO fails to face up to MPs at a hearing in London.”
Al Jazeera Inside Story featuring @aral.
“The city is literally built to collect data about its residents and visitors, which Cavoukian was clear-eyed about when she signed on to be an adviser. She’s worried about Sidewalk using all these cameras and sensors to track people on an individual level, to create real-life versions of the personal profiles Google already uses to track people online. Without anonymization, she said, a single person’s activities could be connected across multiple sources and varying databases to track his movements over the course of the day.”
“The systems depend on black-box algorithms that give little detail about how they reduced the complexities of a person’s inner life into a calculation of virtue or harm. And even as Predictim’s technology influences parents’ thinking, it remains entirely unproven, largely unexplained and vulnerable to quiet biases over how an appropriate babysitter should share, look and speak.”
“The language of these patents makes it clear that Google is acutely aware of the powers of inference it has already, even without cameras, by augmenting speakers to recognize the noises you make as you move around the house.”
“LinkedIn processed the email addresses of 18 million non-members and targeted them with advertising on Facebook without permission, an audit by the [Irish] Data Protection Commissioner has found.”
“this is being interpreted by data experts as the regulator stating that consent to processing personal data cannot be gained through a framework arrangement which bundles a number of uses behind a single “I agree” button that, when clicked, passes consent to partners via a contractual relationship.”
“What gives you this right, and why weren’t we asked about this before you and Summit invaded our privacy in this way?”
“‘The world is being rebuilt by companies and governments so that they can exploit data. Without urgent and continuous action, data will be used in ways that people cannot now even imagine, to define and manipulate our lives without us beginning to understand why or being able to effectively fight back,’ said Frederike Kaltheuner, who heads up Privacy International’s data exploitation program.”
“As evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.”
“Now that Streams is a Google product itself, that promise appears to have been broken, says privacy researcher Julia Powles: ‘Making this about semantics is a sleight of hand. DeepMind said it would never connect Streams with Google. The whole Streams app is now a Google product. That is an atrocious breach of trust, for an already beleaguered product.’”
“Ads are the traditional funding source for social platforms; they take users’ personal data and serve it to advertisers who want their ads to reach a specific audience. This virtually ensures a fundamentally exploitative business model based on surveillance, says Laura Kalbag, a designer and the co-founder of digital justice not-for-profit Ind.ie.”
“these tests show that compliance with the feature is entirely voluntary, meaning a tool that Facebook introduced to increase trust in advertising can also be used as a vector for misinformation, and another way bad actors can game Facebook’s platform.”
“Today, we have a new set of robber barons, running digital monopolies and again receiving disproportionate benefits from the disruption brought about by new technology. History tells us we will need to regulate their monopolies just as we regulated previous monopolies.”
“Kinsa sells its data to other companies under the name Kinsa Insights. While Mr. Singh declined to share the names of other customers, citing confidentiality agreements, he said other companies had used the data to target advertising.”
“In this opinion piece, activist Aral Balkan says we’re living in a world where data companies have become factory farms for human beings.”
“To observers, these might seem like easily avoidable errors, but to Facebook, whose very identity and foundational mandate is the instinctual drive to amass personal data, they make perfect sense.”
“What is at stake here isn’t privacy, the right not to be observed. It’s how companies can use our data to invisibly shunt us in directions that may benefit them more than us.”
“Facebook is not content to use the contact information you willingly put into your Facebook profile for advertising. It is also using contact information you handed over for security purposes and contact information you didn’t hand over at all, but that was collected from other people’s contact books, a hidden layer of details Facebook has about you that I’ve come to call “shadow contact information.”
“Google Inc. told lawmakers it continues to allow other companies to scan and share data from Gmail accounts… The company also disclosed that app developers generally are free to share the data with others”
“At the end of the day, I sold my company,” Acton says. “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”
“Notably, these protections won’t do privacy-conscious consumers any good while they’re logged into Facebook, but it will help to protect them from the social network’s ever-expanding grasp while they’re logged out.”
Caroline Wilson Palow, General Counsel at Privacy International, said:
“Today’s judgment rightly criticises the UK’s bulk interception regime for giving far too much leeway to the intelligence agencies to choose who to spy on and when. It confirms that just because it is technically feasible to intercept all of our personal communications, it does not mean that it is lawful to do so.
“Since Feedbin is 100% funded by paying customers, I can focus solely on making the best product possible without compromises. Therefore, Feedbin can be private by default.”
“Today’s EU copyright vote went about as badly as could be feared: MEPs approved articles 11 and 13, meaning that unless member states push back (and good luck with that), it will likely become illegal to link to an article using the headline for that article, and all but the smallest websites will need to install upload filters to weed out copyright-protected content.”
“She should lower expectations and declare that there is nothing Facebook can do to exterminate all the pests. With 2.2 billion profiles in more than 100 languages, even a small error rate can wreak havoc. With algorithms amplifying content that generates passionate responses, the crazy conspiratorial stuff will always rocket around Facebook faster and farther than the thoughtful condolence or the cute pictures of golden retrievers. And with that powerful advertising system, Facebook will always be the platform of choice for dishonest or hateful parties.”
“Civil liberties advocates say they are alarmed by the NYPD’s secrecy in helping to develop a program with the potential capacity for mass racial profiling.”
“While the rhetoric is sharp, the specifics are vague.”
“Creating so-called backdoors in applications and services to enable communications interception capabilities for law enforcement has persistently been criticised by cryptography and security experts as dangerous for decades now.”
“Granted anonymity, affiliates were happy to detail their tricks. They told me that Facebook had revolutionized scamming. The company built tools with its trove of user data that made it the go-to platform for big brands. Affiliates hijacked them. Facebook’s targeting algorithm is so powerful, they said, they don’t need to identify suckers themselves—Facebook does it automatically. And they boasted that Russia’s dezinformatsiya agents were using tactics their community had pioneered.”
“the deal, which has not been previously reported, could raise broader privacy concerns about how much consumer data technology companies like Google quietly absorb.”
“According to the complaint, Facebook permitted advertisers to discriminate based on disability by blocking ads to users the company categorized as having interests in “mobility scooter” or “deaf culture.” It similarly discriminates based on familial status by not showing ads to users that were labeled as being interested in “child care” or “parenting,” according to the complaint.”
“Alongside having the best security and privacy technologies, smart sex toy makers should have the most robust privacy policies. The less that’s collected, the less that can be abused, after all.”
“This does not prove that GDPR caused the decline, but it may have prompted websites to look at the cookies they were using, and for which they now had to obtain consent… However, American technology companies generally evaded the cull. Most sites retained cookies from Google (96 percent), Facebook (70 percent), and Amazon (57 percent).
“The actions of a handful of individuals are unlikely to steer corporate policy, but the trend could signal a looming recruiting pipeline problem if the companies don’t change tack.”
“The debate over the terms and goals of accountability must not stop at questions like “Is the data processing fairer if its error rate is the same for all races and genders?” We must consider broader questions, such as whether these tools should be developed and deployed at all.”
“Google has the ability to associate anonymous data collected through passive means with the personal information of the user. Google makes this association largely through advertising technologies, many of which Google controls.”
“Their reams of data converged on a breathtaking statistic: Wherever per-person Facebook use rose to one standard deviation above the national average, attacks on refugees increased by about 50 percent.”
“The data broking company, which provides advice on pregnancy and childcare, sold the information to Experian Marketing Services, a branch of the credit reference agency, specifically for use by the Labour Party. Experian then created a database which the party used to profile the new mums in the run up to the 2017 General Election.”
“Google’s search service cannot currently be accessed by most internet users in China because it is blocked by the country’s so-called Great Firewall. The app Google is building for China will comply with the country’s strict censorship laws, restricting access to content that Xi Jinping’s Communist Party regime deems unfavorable.”
“Facebook was doing literally exactly what it was built for. That’s why it was worth six hundred billion dollars. You didn’t build history’s most profitable data harvesting machine by accident.”
Channel 4 spoke with Roger McNamee, an early Facebook investor who has become a critic of the company over issues including the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. He said Facebook stood to benefit from extreme content.