Facebook has such a sweet racket. First, they used the Roach Motel model – data checks in, but it doesn't check out – to trap you and all your friends in a mutual hostage-taking situation, where you can't leave because they're there, and they can't leave because you're there.
All those address books they imported, the data they gathered from publishers' websites through the Like buttons (which gather data whether or not you click them), the data they bought or snaffled up through free mobile SDKs is now permanently siloed inside of FB.
Posts tagged ‘privacy’
Google is an advertising platform. Everything it does, all of its products, are geared towards selling advertising. Most of its products are free, many of them are useful, and a few are even great. But they all exist to suck up more data so that it can become even better at selling advertising. […] It’s called surveillance capitalism and it’s certainly not about giving you a great user experience, it’s about making money.
Whether it happens on purpose or by accident, user domestication almost always follows the same three steps:
- A high level of dependence given from users to a software vendor
- An inability for users to control their software, through at least one of the following methods:
- Preventing modification of the software
- Preventing migration onto a different platform
- The exploitation of now-captive users who are unable to resist
The completion of the first two steps left WhatsApp users vulnerable to user domestication. With investors to answer to, they had every incentive to implement user-hostile features without consequence.
So, of course, they did.
Bookmarked “A new online safety bill could allow censorship of anyone who engages with sexual content on the internet” by Zahra Zsuzsanna Stardust
Under new draft laws, the eSafety Commissioner could order your nude selfies, sex education or slash fiction to be taken down from the internet with just 24 hours notice.
The Australian Government seems to be on quite a roll with insanely bad internet policies, hey.
Even though a compromise seems to be emerging, Australian media is still abuzz with the possibility (or threat) that Google will block our country from using their search engine. Now, if you’re a small business currently relying on Google to refer customers to you, I could see that being a real but short-term problem (until you figure out how to optimise your ranking in whatever search …
Here’s a great TechDirt article on the importance of online anonymity. As it points out, the only people claiming that real-name policies will fix online abuse are those with power in society. Not only is it not true (apparently users are more likely to post abuse when using their real names, not less), but requiring the use of real names can act as a gag order on many people – and …
Today I’ve been metaphorically running around, changing the listed email address on my online accounts to one of the new ProtonMail ones I made. I still have many yet to change, but it’s interesting the wildly different experiences I’ve had. Some scattered thoughts:
- Most sites want me to verify the new address, but some just take my word for it. (More disconcerting is when sites don’t send any kind of confirmation email to the new address at all – I’m pretty sure I didn’t type it wrong, but until I get an email, how can I be certain?! I end up doing something random to trigger an email so I can breathe easy.)
- A few sites have wanted me to enter my password or do a 2FA challenge before or after reaching the “change e-mail address” form. Most haven’t. (But then again, I haven’t set up 2FA on many sites – I know I know, that’s next on my list! 😜)
- One site wanted me to confirm from my original email address that I was initiating the change, which seems like a good way to thwart account hackers, but would be annoying if you’d lost access to that original account.
As for why I’ve finally bothered to make this change, I found this blog post a very relatable read. I, too, first got a Gmail account when you needed an invitation and the amount of storage they offered seemed revolutionary. These days, I realise that the cost of me having my email there is Google mining my data, and I’d prefer the cost of a small sum of money to maintain more privacy. (Acknowledging that this is not a choice open to everyone – although ProtonMail does offer 500MB storage with a free plan, which would do for some things.) If anyone else is thinking of making the switch, this is not a bad how-to with some points to consider.
I came across an excellent (if disturbing) article today on the hidden algorithms that trap people in poverty. The examples given are US-specific, but the issues raised would be relevant in many other countries. It talks about two major types of algorithms that screw people over:
- credit scores, and broader “worthiness scores”, that can determine access to housing, employment, etc. …