Products have been transformed into services given away “free” as an excuse to extract data from users. That data is woven into an invisible lattice of coercion and control—not to mention as a source of enormous profit when sold to advertisers or other interested parties. Apps and websites are designed for maximum compulsion, because more attention means more content, and more content means more data and thereby more value. All that data is kept forever on servers corporations control, and which are engineered—if that’s the right word for it—in a way that makes them susceptible to attack and theft.

Thanks to the global accessibility of the internet, these services strive for universal deployment. Google and Facebook have billions of “customers” who are also the source of their actual products: the data they resell or broker. The leverage of scale also demands that everyone use the same service, which dumps millions together in unholy community. Online abuse is one consequence, as are the campaigns of misdirection and “fake news” that have become the front for a new cold war.

Ian Bogost on the modern dystopia.

Also included for the embedded link that goes through to a sick burn about why programmers need to stop referring to themselves as “engineers”…