“Surveillance capitalism has taken human experience, specifically private human experience, and unilaterally claimed it as something to be bought and sold in the marketplace,” Dr. Zuboff told me during a visit to The Times’s office. “This new kind of marketplace trades in behavioral futures. It’s like a form of derivative. But it’s about us.”
It’s a foregone conclusion that app makers will get at least some data on how you use their product. How much data do you really expect, though? Maybe which buttons you tap or the length of sessions? According to TechCrunch and analytics company App Analyst, some popular iPhone apps are getting much more. They basically see everything you do in real time, even sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers.
A computer scientist who is known as a pioneer in artificial intelligence is sounding the alarm about its potential for misuse by China -- joining privacy advocates and technologists who have expressed similar concerns. Yoshua Bengio, a Canadian computer scientist and co-founder of Montreal-based AI software company Element AI, said he was fearful about the technology being deployed to surveil and control people.
When a bug in FaceTime allows strangers to hear and watch us, we get that, in the same visceral way we can imagine a man snooping outside our window. But your data -- the abstract portrait of who you are, and, more importantly, of who you are compared to other people -- is your real vulnerability when it comes to the companies that make money offering ostensibly free services to millions of people.
A disturbing trend is emerging in modern media and our online communications. Both government and private organizations are collecting personal user data for their own purposes, often without disclosing that fact. Now, social media platforms are banning views that contradict their mainstream views and political opinions.
As Facebook deals with the fallout from yet another privacy scandal, it’s worth unpacking how its Research app worked—especially because it serves as a good reminder for other apps you might already be using, particularly virtual private networks. It wasn’t just Facebook: Google also disabled a similar app on iOS devices on Wednesday. Both apps are still available on Android.
Apple said Wednesday that it has banned Facebook from using tools that let businesses control iPhones used by employees, following a news report that the social media giant has been monitoring the browsing habits of teenagers. Reuters reported that Apple took the punitive step a day after TechCrunch published an article saying Facebook has been paying teenagers as young as 13 to install an app called Facebook Research that is used it to monitor their internet browsing habits.
Analysts estimate that smart TVs now make up about 70 percent of all new TV sales. The television is no longer a mere display, but a full-fledged computer, for good and for ill. And what is a computer now? On the one hand, it’s something companies sell to consumers for money. But after you’ve purchased an internet-connected device of any kind, it begins to generate information that the company can use itself or sell to third parties.
Today, the world recognizes Data Privacy Day. As privacy protection concerns and privacy laws around the world, such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s incoming digital privacy law (the California Consumer Privacy Act), continue to build, we are reminded to be more mindful of data privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust. Let us mark this day by increasing our awareness of data privacy and considering key data privacy practices in our everyday work.
Lawmakers in Washington state are pushing for a new privacy law that would attempt to give consumers more control over the information that big tech companies and data brokers collect about them. The bill, proposed by state Sen. Reuven Carlyle, would give consumers the right to see what data is collected about them and find out whether that information is being sold to a third party.