/Tag: privacy

God is the machine.

From [Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger’s] perspective, the most serious threats digital technologies pose are not strictly personal concerns like identity theft or companies’ surreptitiously listening in on conversations but the emergence of a softly deterministic techno-social order designed chiefly to produce individuals that are its willing subjects. They note, for example, that when a school deploys fitness trackers as part of its physical education program, privacy concerns should extend not only to questions of students’ informed and meaningful consent. Even if consent is managed well, such a program, Frischmann and Selinger argue, “shapes the preferences of a generation of children to accept a 24/7 wearable surveillance device that collects and reports data.” This is to say that these programs contribute to “surveillance creep”: our gradual acquiescence to the expanding surveillance apparatus. Such an apparatus, in their view, appears pointed ultimately toward the goal of engineered determinism. Frischmann and Selinger conclude by advocating for legal, cultural, and design strategies that aim at securing our freedom from engineered determinism. And I would suggest that we would do well to reframe our understanding of privacy along similar lines.

L.M. Sacasas on the new panopticon.

2019-01-22T13:39:20+10:0017th June, 2019|Tags: privacy, tech|

Like and subscribe.

What does the murky history of [the novel 1984‘s] telescreen tell us about the way we live now? The hints about an old man’s reluctance and television’s power suggest that totalitarian overreach might not start at the top – at least, not in the sense we often imagine. Unfettered access to our inner lives begins as a choice, a decision to sign up for a product because we ‘feel the need of it’. When acting on our desires in the marketplace means signing over our data to corporate entities, the erosion of choice is revealed to be the consequence of choice – or at least, the consequence of celebrating choice.

Henry Cowles on what Orwell knew.

As someone who first read 1984 relatively recently, the telescreen was definitely something that struck me as being one of the book’s more eerily prescient elements.1

  1. I’m assuming here, perhaps overly kindly, that no one at, sat, Apple or Facebook was trying to intentionally recreate the technology…
2018-11-26T14:40:57+10:004th April, 2019|Tags: books, culture, pop culture, privacy, sff, tech|

The internet is for tracking.

One of the things I think most people don’t realize is that the internet—like, the whole thing, and the base technologies it runs on—are a giant tracking machine. Whether or not individual websites monetize (or exploit, or both) that is one thing, but the fact is that every time you load any resource (an image, say, or a font or script or video or, or, or…) from any website, you leave that website with a record of it.

It’s hard to even grasp the scale of this, until you, for example, read the lengths to which Feedbin had to go to to try and avoid it…

2018-09-20T11:56:22+10:005th March, 2019|Tags: internet, privacy, tech|

The decentralised web.

Interesting interview with Eugen Rochko, a.k.a. Gargron the creator of Mastodon, on the growing resurgence of the decentralised, federated web.

2019-01-13T11:41:56+10:0013th January, 2019|Tags: mastodon, privacy, social media, tech|

Facebook is still garbage.

This seems… not particularly great. Even by Facebook standards.

Ironically, I finally deleted both Facebook and Messenger off my phone last night (I never use them, but still had the apps) and ahahaha I do not regret my life choices!

2018-12-19T15:35:52+10:0019th December, 2018|Tags: facebook, privacy, social media|

The bubble.

Will the GDPR spell the end of targeted advertising (and, by association, the commercial surveillance industry)? Eeeh… look. I’m dubious, but… one can only hope, I suppose.

2018-05-21T14:10:58+10:0020th November, 2018|Tags: advertising, privacy, tech|