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2018-02-12 08:51 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 146 references Ignore this thread
Surveillance Capitalism?
[Comments enabled]

Oh, so now we're searching for ways to make it "nice sounding"?

Because the business model of many of these tech firms relies on selling ads, their relentless focus is on gathering data on their users – that would be you – to enable advertisers to better target their messages.


This intense data-gathering of your most intimate decisions – where you go, who you talk to, what you like or don’t like – is only going to get worse. With new “home assistants” like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, Big Tech is now right at the heart of family life.


Who owns all this data and what will happen to it? Quite apart from the sheer creepiness of tech companies wanting to invade your brain, we know from recent experience that literally everything can be hacked – whether by criminals or foreign governments like China that hacked our own government and stole millions of Americans’ most personal data.

Think about this.

A few decades ago abortion became legal nationally.  Why?  The Supreme Court didn't legalize murder.  What it found was that there was a fundamental right to have a private conversation with a physician, and to make a private decision about health.

This was not (and is not) an unlimited right, as no right ever is.  I have the right to keep and bear arms, but not to shoot people who are not intending imminent felonious harm to me.

The problem with these tech companies is that none of them told you the truth about what they intend to do with the data they collect, they're coercive in their alleged "transaction" in that there is no opportunity to bargain -- it's a "take it leave it" deal and, much worse, there is no real option or choice between firms either.  Apple collects your data and so does Google, and both sell it.  What other alternative is there for a 'smartphone' than these two?  Windows phone and BlackBerry 10 both failed.


Because, in no small part, the cartel-like behavior of Apple and Google.

Why is a "take it or leave it" sort of deal acceptable?  Why do a pair of large companies get to dictate the terms on which 330 million people in the United States and several billion worldwide communicate?  Why is it that their executives are not imprisoned immediately if they lie, either by omission or commission, about the data they collect, who they sell it to and to what purposes it can be -- and is -- put?

Do you really think that insurance companies, for example, don't buy this data and use it?  They sure do.  Amazon has been caught pricing the same product differently based on data they got from other places.  Who sold that data to them?  Where did it come from?  Who collected it?  How much of it tracks back to your cellphone and various tech firms?  How do you know none of their apps have your mic on when you haven't explicitly requested it for some reason like dictating a message?

In short, why do you put up with this crap America?  Are you really stupid enough to put a microphone in your house that is connected to some faceless corporation when no large firm's executives have been charged with criminal wrongdoing and sent to prison even when the firms they run are caught stealing billions from their customers over the last several decades?  Why would you ever believe any of these companies would not do anything they thought would make them a buck no matter how hard you got screwed as a consequence?

Then there's the COPPA issue -- these firms all allow kids as young as 13 to use their services and all of them know, factually, that younger children are doing so too even though it's explicitly illegal to collect data on those under 13.

Then there's this: Those under 18, with a few exceptions for life-necessary acts, cannot contract.  Therefore a teenager under 18 cannot agree to sign away their private rights because they are considered intellectually incompetent to understand the implications of the deal.  "The deal", of course, assumes that these firms accurately and fully explain exactly what they're going to do with the data and then never misuse it, which I remind you has never happened in their history.

Those who exploit children are routinely locked up -- except when they're big companies like Apple and Facebook, and then we don't.  Ever.  Even if they exploit adolescents who they know are emotionally compromised due to age and hormonal imbalances inherent in people of that age bracket.

Never mind Facebook which created a service explicitly for those under 13 and that didn't get Zuckerpig indicted either!

Instead we let these executives and companies exploit our kids without demanding that law enforcement come in, shut these places down, padlock the doors and haul every single one of their employees and officers away in irons.

Meh, says I.

Let me know when America wakes up and at least demands that every one of these executives who has and does target and allow teens and younger children to use their services and exploits their personal datawhich is flat-out illegal since nobody under 18 can contract away their privacy rightsbe immediately indicted and every one of those firms is shut down and reduced to ash.

Until then be a good little sheep and put a second one of those "smart microphones" in your house -- and this time, stick it in your bedroom because what goes in the "privacy" of your own home, behind a closed bedroom door, really belongs to Jeff Bezos -- right?

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User Info Surveillance Capitalism? in forum [Market-Ticker]
Posts: 220
Incept: 2013-02-13

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Great meme going around Facebook. It's a picture of an Alexa with the text: "In the 1960s people were afraid the government would wiretap your house. Today, they say, 'Hey, wiretap, can cats eat pancakes?'"
Posts: 7930
Incept: 2007-09-10

Scottsdale, AZ
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Saw this aricle this morning............

Posts: 4034
Incept: 2008-08-19

Farmingdale, NY
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Every time, without fail, if I start to argue the same thing... I get the same dumbass answer from the brainless asshats.. If you are not doing anything illegal, you have nothing to worry about. They are simply clueless and I have to argue...UNEDUCATED...

These people should not be allowed to vote...EVER.

Time is up.

I hate to burst your bubble, but there is no Santa Claus, the tooth fairy does not exist and American justice does not involve the courts.
Posts: 233
Incept: 2009-10-06

Msumelle, Ar
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After reading you for a long time and your comments on firms like Facebook, Amazon, and Google and I have decided it's time to pull back form the web some.

So I am giving notice to my Facebook friends that I will closing my account. Facebook makes it hard to delete your account, told me it would take up to 90 days. I know that is a crock, just an excuse I am sure to continue to list me a as user for their purposes.

I am closing my Amazon account and not renewing my Prime Account. I can live without it. I am switching to Books A Million out of Birmingham, Alabama for my books and music needs, among others.

Google is a problem, while I can do without a G Mail account, I use YouTube quite a bit. So not sure on that one yet.

Frankly I have become, to a degree, bored with the Web. I might give up my Smart Phone if they would come out with a good Flip Phone that I could use. Best phones I had at one time were Sanyo and Samsung Flip Phones about 10 years ago.

The day is coming when I am going to buy a boat and sail out for other places of interest, if it will work out for me.

My theory for the last 20 years is that Technology will be our downfall. I think of the first part of Frank Herbert's book "Dune" where he talks about that very thing. Something to contemplate.
Posts: 131
Incept: 2015-02-20

New Zealand
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An interesting contrast between the generational differences, or just the capitulation, are the two films Ed TV (1999) and The Circle (2017). Both plots revolve around a corporation making an individuals life completely public 24/7. The resolution of the two films is worlds apart however.

Maybe it would be acceptable and fair if say everyone with a net worth over $500m had all their calls, email accounts etc made publicly available.

I mean imagine the conversation if a law like that was even floated.

Or if you own shares in a "surveillance capitalist" company same thing applies. That'd be good for stock prices.

Can the Amish even opt out of constant satellite surveillance?
Posts: 4469
Incept: 2011-04-08

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kyocera dura xv is still a tank of a phone.

Posts: 11
Incept: 2018-01-25

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This intrusion has already happened with fecalbook messenger. This app already listens to everything people say and they use it to send ads your way(as most people here are already aware of).
Even if you're aware that this happens it's still freaky when it happens, I removed messenger from all our phones and won't be installing it again.

I've talked to people about this constant monitoring and they don't care.
Posts: 1659
Incept: 2010-11-07

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You can always turn on Univision and set the phone by the TV for a few hours while you sleep.

Al Jazeera or RT or some Chinese or Korean station.
NHK is good for Sumo.

Holding on to my Z10 until it dies.

Preparing to go Hunting.
Posts: 253
Incept: 2008-02-23

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Word wrote..
I've talked to people about this constant monitoring and they don't care.

You're quite right. Few people care. I posted to Facebook the article Karl wrote about the Alexa a couple of weeks ago. The response was underwhelming. 2 or 3 people were all that responded. I did get a good book recommendation out of the discussion called Future Crimes by Marc Goodman that I'm now reading. I also bought an Echo 2 today just to play with and see if there's a way to neutralize these contraptions, aside from wanton destruction. smiley
Posts: 151631
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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My shoe seems to work rather well for neutralization purposes.....

Winding it down.
Posts: 28
Incept: 2015-02-26

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It would be nice to have a jamming device I could carry that would neuter the bastard devices if I were in the vicinity. Maybe something that generated some form of white noise or pattern that defeats the listening. I'm starting to see too many of them around in neighbors homes, friends etc. Either I find a way to jam them or I can just avoid the people/places that have them.
Posts: 109694
Incept: 2007-08-26

East Tennessee Eastern Time
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Small audio player laying next to the microphone constantly asking random bull**** questions? Think 5 year old kid asking "why?"... on crack.

It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Posts: 21
Incept: 2009-12-28

Desert Southwest
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Speaking of making things sound nice and acceptable for our touchy-feely society, I offer this snowflake trigger warning:

What was that famous Jack Nicholson movie line...?

Trust but verify except if the government is involved then just verify.
Posts: 310
Incept: 2010-10-01

Cary, NC
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This is a much more dangerous situation than many of us realize. Personal information security is a matter of life and death.

I lived through the beginnings of the Shah's overthrow by the Ayatolla. It was a dark time with neighbor turning on neighbor and secret police everywhere looking for pro-Shah sentiments. If this tech existed then it would have been used to spy on everyone all the time. Let that sink in for a minute. How many people would have been executed for merely speaking their minds in the privacy of their own homes?

Now fast forward to today - these devices are cheap, already in your neighborhood (if not your own home) and the data is crunched autonomously. But they are so cool! I get to have a virtual assistant order crap for me without lifting a finger, the elderly can call out for help in time of need, etc. etc.

Now fast forward 25 years from now. These devices are everywhere. Like everywhere everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Everyone is accustomed to having them around and actually enjoy the benefits (& security?) they provide. And then someone like Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Ayatolla, Pot, Pinochet or similar comes along. How much worse would all of those have been if they had this technology?

Information privacy is the foundation of freedom and is as important as our right to bear arms. Without privacy it doesn't matter how many guns you have because if you can't communicate privately you can't organize resistance. You're dead in the water before you even step out your front door.

There are no gun free zones where free men tread.
Posts: 323
Incept: 2017-06-27

The People's Republic of New York
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there was a very large concern in the early days of the tech boom and 2000's that the microphone in the PC running the common OS's were doing the same thing absent any other software permitted to run on the system. there was always the concern as to what was actually running once the user installed some other mainstream piece of software and it is close to impossible to tell what it might be sending home via the internet. this is nothing new.

why is there not a major manufacturer willing to guarantee that their product is not doing this and what it actually does subject to auditing of its product.

simple, we are too lazy and distracted to notice and do something. as a parent, it was simple. while young the computer(s) were in a public place of the house and i was engaged with them a lot. some things were banned outright, AOL was the big hazard at the time. this ****hole had a lot of bad places a child could go. if you are engaged with your children when they are younger the teenage years are not dangerous and i was not concerned as much about their private activities. there were things that their peers (I ****ing hate this word.) were doing that they outright rejected on their own. What bothered me then and more now is the pervasiveness of this hazard, difficulty avoiding it. Much like parents were robbing their children of the learning that occurs through freedom thirty years ago, we run the risk of children not having the desire to explore and develop interests due to protecting them from this techno****.

the reason that this happened is that we did not protest as this was happening already decades ago. the tech is just making it easier. everyone was always concerned about their "record" when I was a teen and then we had to live with the whole credit report is your life **** with other data point tyranny in between. we got cooked slowly because we wanted to stay in the good graces for the sake of financial success. amazing what people will do for a few pieces of silver.

There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.
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"Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7)
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