A few months ago a Facebook advertisement piqued my interest about how the company was leveraging my user data to target ads in my feed. What began as a passing curiosity about how the company targets advertising, turned into a deep dive at big tech's hidden and unregulated practices. The research led me to construct an experiment that exposed not only a deep level of corporate surveillance into our everyday lives, but also a cross-platform and cross-company effort to integrate our personal data, and use it to manipulate user behavior.
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Yesterday, October 15th, Google announced a new partnership with privately run and partially state owned French telecom giant Orange to build a new transatlantic cable. Far from being a snub to the Brexit befuddled United Kingdom, the partnership creates a host of new surveillance opportunities in Eastern Europe, Africa, Spain and France itself. This will greatly expand Google's usefulness to global surveillance by the five eyes nations (US, UK, Australia Canada and New Zealand) through their already developing infrastructure level projects.
Google loves to tout it's “Don’t Be Evil” motto. Which is why it got itself into an internal revolt this week when 3,100 employees signed a letter to it's CEO Sundar Pichai objecting to Google's participation in Project Maven, which is an AI program using recognition software applied to surveillance footage for the Department of Defense.
Pokemon Go is sweeping the nation and the world. Anecdotes and human interest stories abound. Like somebody who has been chasing some rare thing they can only see on their phone for hours, the public has Pokemania fatigue.
Privacy issues and stories about them abounded in the first days of the Pokedemic. I have not figured out what the game needs to access on my phone because I did not install it. I did have a look at how it works, and who built it, and the real privacy issues have not been given serious examination.