1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Surveillance capitalism

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by mrochester, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. Semple

    Soldato

    Joined: Mar 5, 2010

    Posts: 5,655

    I would say you're massively over-estimating your datas worth. As someone said above, your data alone is probably worth pennies, the value of data will only scale out based on the number of users.

    The problem i see from your posts is that you're severely undervaluing the costs of providing/running the number of services that Google is able to offer. What if Google said it actually costs £10/month to run it's Gmail service, along with £1 a day for mapping, plus £0.05 for every YouTube video you watched, along with £0.03 for every GB of data you upload to Google Drive... would you now consider that your data is on par with costs of running your services, or are you saying that your data is worth even more of that.

    Google is able to subsidise the costs of these services by selling your data. I questioned in my earlier post about how many people would pay Facebook £5/month as a subscription to guarantee that none of their data was to be sold/harvested.

    Are we though? The Cambridge Analytica scandal may prompt companies like Facebook to prevent 3rd parties from harvesting data, but that's nothing to do with Facebook selling advertising based on pages you like.

    There only seems to be a select few people like yourself that don't understand how this model works. You've got dozens of people on this thread telling you that you're wrong in the way that you're looking at this. You've also got the ultimate decision not to use Googles platform of services and give them your data, there are plenty of alternatives out there.
     
  2. jsmoke

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Jun 17, 2012

    Posts: 7,698

    Is this a privacy type issue or a profit issue.

    If it's a profit issue then as I said above the money supply increases in a capitalistic system for each new loan created. It's not a simple case of companies/people hording money. They create wealth and jobs. I'm not claiming to fully understand it but there's a ignorant view that if owners get rich others get poor, that could be the case in a badly managed system though.

    As for a privacy/ethical issue I see what your saying that companies like FB/Google seem sneaky in their practises. It's all done behind the scenes with maybe a tiny section of small print in their t & c's, maybe even not. It's not transparent because they know they dominate the market with their products and want to keep it that way and it takes something like a senate hearing to find out what they are doing.

    They got in there first with their ideas and don't want to lose that position. Don't want any competition etc. That's just greed simple as.
     
  3. billysielu

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 9, 2009

    Posts: 11,442

    Location: Oxfordshire

    Yeah I'm not happy with the state of privacy. I think we need regulation to ensure people have "PRIVACY BY DEFAULT".

    I'd bin my smartphone ideally, but I'd lose access to my circle of friends because they all use WhatsApp and won't switch.
    I'm looking at buying a new TV and they all seem to have some sort of 'assistant' (aka snoop) built in.
    I'll be looking for a new phone soon and the notch/cutout just show how unwilling the companies are to remove the front-facing camera.
    Even my car has a microphone and camera in it for some concierge service I don't use.
    I have a Prime TV Stick and the remote for that has a microphone built in.
    I don't want Facebook at all, and completely deleted my account, but I had to make a new one just for accessing the local residents group.
    I don't Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, anything else.
    I have my own domain for email and give a different email address to every company, it's shocking just how commonplace it is for them to either sell your data or get hacked, as emails go to one address from a totally different company.
    I had to do a credit check when I bought a house, and the credit check company already knew everything about me. They must have had the data before having permission to have it.
    I get spammed by recruiters via email trying to get me to hire people, someone must have added me to a list despite me never having the authority to hire anyone.
    I switched from Chrome to Firefox, with uBlock Origins, DuckDuckGo, and First Party Isolation.
    I swithed search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo.

    oh and don't get me started on the GDPR cookie consent things that say "We value your privacy. [Accept]".
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  4. Semple

    Soldato

    Joined: Mar 5, 2010

    Posts: 5,655

    It's very "tin foil hat" to be thinking that the front-facing camera of your phone is always recording you, or that the microphone on your Fire TV remote or car is listening in on you.

    I know there are devices Echo/GoogleHome that are obviously always listening in order to action based on it's trigger.

    A lot of these devices come under a lot of scrutiny from independent security researchers who pride themselves with finding flaws/weaknesses. I'd be fairly certain that if the Fire TV remote (just picking on that as an example) was listening and recording you, a security researcher would have discovered this flaw by now.

    WRT your credit check, a lot of that has nothing to do with your browsing habits etc. Your credit history is built up from legitimate sources such as when you open a new bank account your details are stored, the fact that you register on the electoral roll, anything you take out that's classed as a credit is then added to your credit file. It would be pretty hard nowadays to avoid having anything noted down on your credit file.
     
  5. SPG

    Soldato

    Joined: Jul 28, 2010

    Posts: 5,627

    Blame America, they have took something usefull and borked it (as usual)
     
  6. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,358

    'the privacy paradox.' is the search term for that one. Its common, the most common position so you are far from alone.

    Its existence also suggests that people are making calculations in terms of trade-off and value when it comes to perceptions of privacy.

    People who express concerns about privacy show a marked tendency when offered low cost apps to pay around 4% more for privacy enhanced features.

    Perceived to be of value.

    Again these can be used to measure peoples perception and beliefs in regard to privacy. No obvious answer in regard to what people think, believe or perceive it requires data, the bigger the better.

    The majority of the population express concern but use social media, 'privacy paradox'

    This however is not a uniform belief as many users arrive at the position that the trade off is 'worth it.'

    Discrepancy in belief. Bais plays some role here, cognitive element + culture and personal history: i.e if you have been subject to a serious data breach you're understanding of cost may be very different.

    Its thought that this discrepancy indicates people have a tendency to undervalue 'cost'.

    Seems to be a strong social element in regard to the beliefs and perceptions people adopt here, degree of social conformity inside/ outside determinations and evaluations are part of the course.

    The expression of anxiety in regard to social reception and perception is 'perfectly natural' in this context.

    I get uncomfortable about the way any random p.h.d student now has the tools to sit back grab large chunks of peoples lives from forums like this and then uses the data without consent or without any ethical consideration or training.

    Consent being a key factor, I think as people should have some control over the use and dissemination of their lives.

    Even when consent is granted many researchers feel they now control and have complete ownership of the information and can do with it as they like. No conception that they may have any ethical responsibility here.

    In regard to any ethical concerns a standard response is 'its mine, I can do what I like.'
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  7. anksta

    Mobster

    Joined: Jan 19, 2005

    Posts: 2,718

    Haven't been here in a long while but have been researching more and more about this for the past couple of months and, especially as I work in digital advertising, it hits very close to home.

    I actually came here to start a thread on this very topic, it's very OCUK for there to already be an exact thread ready and waiting.

    I have to say, I'm surprised at some of the blase attitudes to this, especially from this DP fella, but also from a lot of you other guys who are massively underestimating the power being handed to these companies. The first thing to understand is it isn't about you, the fact you're comfortable with your data, about you, is always the first port of call for someone questioned on this issue.

    There are 2 issues with that, one is that you probably don't understand the level of data they have on you, on everyone. A quick example I've been using to show people who make this point, and it usually causes them a double take at least even if they then resume the "I don't mind I get things for free" etc. argument is, if you have an iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services (at the bottom) and then Significant Locations (again at the bottom).

    This shows the places it is assuming is your work, your home and wherever else you might go. This is on by default, you didn't agree to this and I expect if anyone asked you, you wouldn't have done. And this is from literally the only big company with an ostensible focus on privacy. And it's just one example. The most powerful analytical machines on earth are playing Guess Who with you on the board, and this applies to literally trillions of data points and can be used with any question, most importantly "What will make this person stay on this site/app for another 5 minutes". it doesn't matter what the answer is to that question, but it's been proven the more controversial and negative then the more likely that is - if it bleeds it leads.

    The second main issue is that you aren't the only one who is being surveilled, if you have anything remotely "smart home" it is profiling everyone and everything in the house. If you have children it is not saying "this person is a parent", it's saying "this person is a parent" and "this child is 5 years old", you might think it's a fair trade for you to use their services for free, but do you mind them also profiling your children, they aren't using Google Maps.

    The data that is being collected and analysed is a collective problem, and speaking as an utter hypocrite, it's selfish to think that because I get use out of this, that's all that matters. The more data they collect, the more accurately they can predict your reactions to anything and everything, and as soon as that crosses a threshold, they are no longer reacting to your individuality, but dictating it. Facebook sees from its data that teens prone to depression typically buy more makeup during down periods, so they can curate that demographic's news feed to show them more depressing content. This isn't hypothetical, they've been caught doing it, ostensibly as an experiment, but no one gave them permission to do that, and if that is affecting several million teenagers, how many are likely to go over the edge.

    The argument that this has also been the case is simply not true, in the age of TV and before that it was a one to many system, now it's one to one and as a poster above said, even more detailed than that, he is seeing different Facebook feeds on different devices, that's because it knows when you use those devices and which you're most likely to respond to at that time. Show me the Don Draper example that could even comprehend that level of persuasion might be possible even 20 years ago, let alone "this has always been the case".

    Right now, the privacy issue is akin to the environment and we are in the 1950s at the latest, pumping out sewage into our rivers and oceans and saying "look this clearly has no impact on my neighbourhood or me, how can it be bad?" and it wasn't, to that person, at that time. Make no mistake, privacy is the next major societal issue that will grip us as a society immediately after we've dealt with, not not as it may be, climate change and the environment.

    If this was a government doing this and not a private company without even a suggested responsibility to its citizens/users, we'd be calling it 1984 and we'd be right, why it's any more acceptable when it's done for profit I don't know. Another thing to question is whether you think that anyone working on any of these devices, from the chief execs on down to the engineers, are using anything like Alexa, or Google Home, or Siri. This is my favourite tweet to illustrate my point.

    For anyone interested, check out Sam Harris' latest podcast with Roger McNamee which goes into detail about this and also discusses Shoshanna Zuboff's book Surveillance Capitalism which I assume the OP has read/heard about, it's excellent. Roger McNamee was an early investor in Facebook and maybe Google I can't remember, it was him that convinced Zuckerberg not to sell for a billion and also persuaded him to hire Sheryl Sandberg, he's now a staunch critic of the way they run. He points out that Google and Facebook are cashing in on the good will the tech industry accrued since the start of the Information Age, Steve Jobs' bicycle for the mind etc.
     
  8. d_brennen

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 30, 2009

    Posts: 15,371

    Location: Aquilonem Londinensi

    Meh, I use Google services and don't like the idea of buying the internet piecemeal, they can study the data I produce to see what they can sell me for all I care. From a personal POV, they must be terrible at it or my half assed attempts to adblock are better than their countermeasures.

    I think it's a generational thing too. I can remember the days before mobile phones and Joe Soap being able to get on the internet. So many people now have had youtube shoved in front of them from childhood
     
  9. jsmoke

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Jun 17, 2012

    Posts: 7,698

    Yep it's strange to think we are the last generation to remember pre internet days. The telephone box, the yellow pages, the recipe book, teletext, the phonebook.
     
  10. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,358

    Podcast was interesting! Roger McNamee points about the future predictive power of a.i. and algorithms and the complete lack of regulation. Rather mind boggling.
    Health data its a significant one, he outlines the issues here rather well.
     
  11. mrochester

    Soldato

    Joined: Sep 29, 2003

    Posts: 5,112

    Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    That was an excellent podcast. It’s something everyone should listen to.
     
  12. El Pew

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 1, 2009

    Posts: 1,053

    It's not a sensible comment, in fact it shows a dangerous lack of knowledge about how the data industry works.

    It's not simply a matter of choosing whether or not to use a particular service. Many of these companies store your data without your consent or even knowledge in some cases - a good example being Facebook, who create a 'shadow profile' for everyone regardless of whether they have an actual Facebook account or not: https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/11/...dow-profiles-zuckerberg-congress-data-privacy - and of course, Facebook are free to sell or provide access to that data to whoever they want without asking for further consent.

    The same goes for all sorts of other data collectors and aggregators, like credit agencies. The Equifax breach highlights this - how many of the 700,000 Brits who had the data stolen consented to having that data stored by them? How many even knew that they had it? A vanishingly small percentage, I bet.
     
  13. mrochester

    Soldato

    Joined: Sep 29, 2003

    Posts: 5,112

    Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    It’s staggering to me that it is even legal for these companies to collect, store and profit from this data.

    It strengthens my resolve to support Apple who are the only big tech company fighting against this.
     
  14. El Pew

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 1, 2009

    Posts: 1,053

    Apple aren't bad, but the only reason they're taking such a privacy stance is they believe it's best for their bottom line. If the bigwigs there decide that in the long-run it's more profitable to sell access to data, then that's what they'll do.

    Tim Berners-Lee has been involved with a project called Solid POD which is effectively a user-controlled repository of their data, which you can open up via API to other services that need the access. The idea is that the user is in control of who can access which data, and they'll have an audit log of exactly who has done so. It's an interesting concept, but it remains to be seen how well it will work in practice.
     
  15. mrochester

    Soldato

    Joined: Sep 29, 2003

    Posts: 5,112

    Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    I definitely like the idea of people being in full control of their data (and benefiting financial from it, if they so choose).

    Let’s hope Apple continue to not monetise user data. They are the last bastion.
     
  16. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: Mar 12, 2004

    Posts: 27,823

    Apple a bastian?

    They are one of the most unscrupulous companies out there when it comes to conning and lying to their end users.
     
  17. mrochester

    Soldato

    Joined: Sep 29, 2003

    Posts: 5,112

    Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    I don’t find that with Apple at all.
     
  18. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: Mar 12, 2004

    Posts: 27,823

    Your personal experience is irrelevant to be frank, they lie to users of their forum telling them that data recovery from their faulty products is impossible and proceed to ban anyone who says otherwise.

    They were even in the news recently where there was a video showing the Apple store telling a customer it was going to cost over £1000 to repair their motherboard when all that was wrong with it was a loose connector that needed pushing in. They will screw the consumer at every opportunity.

     
  19. mrochester

    Soldato

    Joined: Sep 29, 2003

    Posts: 5,112

    Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    Apple have their faults but on balance they are a lot better than the competition
     
  20. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: Mar 12, 2004

    Posts: 27,823

    On balance? How?!

    Which other computer manufacturers are perpetuating the kind of fraud that Apple are?

    Most manufacturers are better than Apple, their products are easier to repair, they don't attempt to block 3rd party repairs and they don't ban people who want to recover their data!