PRIVACY BLOG – 09/04

PRIVACY (not to be confused with piracy) BLOG

The forms we use to create have in the past and present been monitored, restrained and rationed for those who can pay the going rate. Now it seems the newest capitalist commodity are our inner most wants, needs and search histories.

We have never, in the past, been as recorded as we are today. Not the creepy film-you-while-you’re-sleeping recorded but our unwitting digital trails are being scooped up. “The Internet of free platforms, free services and free content is wholly subsidized by targeted advertising, the efficacy (and thus profitability) of which relies on collecting and mining user data.” (Furnas, 2012)

While the attempted control of expression is coming to an end, we may simply be trading one freedom for another. Who can breach, sell and invade our privacy? Google can for one.

It seems like the digital equivalent of Google going through my trash at night looking for scraps. I don’t mind, eat what you like, my infotention has brute strength. I pay no mind to those online shoe advertisements slyly popping up to the right of my homework, no mind at all.

But with all the data collection you have to ask; do I really want Google going through my rubbish? They can’t possibly be hungry. They must be more your private investigator type, looking for possible marketing weaknesses, it makes people uneasy.

It can be assumed that when we use a service online which is ‘free’ we enter into a deal with the producer. I straight swap- service for data- we are now products. “We experience this commodification of our attention every day in virtually everything we do online, whether it’s searching, checking email, using Facebook.” (Furnas, 2012)

I’m valuable to business; it takes that old saying ‘the customer knows best’ to dizzying new heights, the business can now anticipate my wants and consume for me. Is this helping or hindering me? I don’t know yet. No one does!

Google’s policy manager, Betsy Masiello, has said that Google will not be collecting more data than it has done in the past, “This is something we have already been doing for a long time.” (Ref 2)

Google claim that this revision of it privacy policies will ‘simplify’ them. These handy simplification changes involve, “sharing its users’ data across all its services so it can be used to tailor delivery of those services, as well as advertising.” (Ref 1)

Over the last decade commercialism has successfully made us into very efficient consumer bunnies. Like bunnies we consume left, right and centre, but now this culture of commercial enterprise are trying to remove much of the guess work surrounding when, how and where shoppers buy goods and services.

“By consolidating information about its users and refining target audiences for a product, Google can charge more for its advertising.” (Ref 2)

But unlike Eddy, we cannot be locked in. The privacy laws that allow the harvesting of user search data is akin to voyeurism and has been going on without consumer knowledge for some time.

With online use getting sticky it raises questions of personal or business security?

It’s not clear whether users can politely opt out of data collection and even when you’re not engaging with Google’s most popular products they can still track your search history.

All that being said I personally dont mind my history being tracked because I think data should be used to help fight crime such as child pornography and terrorism.

We grant private entities — with no interest in the public good and no public accountability — greater powers of persuasion than anyone has ever had before and in exchange we get free email.” (Furnas, 2012)

The internet commons is where we can communicate, search and express ourselves behind the safety of perceived anonymity. However our personal information is being used to market products to us each time we login, “when we think in terms of power, it is clear we are getting a raw deal” (Furnas, 2012)

However potential uses of these technologies to alleviate major problems within society, such as, helping fight organised crime, child pornography and terrorism are rejected as too great an invasion. Yet the fickle action of selling more shoes made in sweat shops at triple the manufacturing cost remains the goal.

Ref:

Furnas, A. (2012) “It’s Not All About You: What Privacy Advocates Don’t Get About Data Tracking on the Web” Available: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/its-not-all-about-you-what-privacy-advocates-dont-get-about-data-tracking-on-the-web/254533/ (Date accessed: 09/04/2012)

https://www.pcworld.com/article/248916/google_privacy_policy_claims_challenged_by_watchdog.html

https://www.pcworld.com/article/248845/google_defends_privacy_changes_as_questions_mount.html#tk.mod_stln

Image: http://www.philosophyblog.com.au/privacy-cartoons/

 

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