Interesting breakdown of how Google tailors search results, even when users are ostensibly logged out.
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.
- I’m assuming here, perhaps overly kindly, that no one at, sat, Apple or Facebook was trying to intentionally recreate the technology… [↩]
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…
More on the data broker business, including some frankly quite terrifying infographics.
The point here is that, a) pretty much all businesses are complicit in this practice, and b) it’s impossible to opt-out on an individual level. This stuff needs to be regulated. There’s no other way of dealing with it.