Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Google eyes and knows all

"Last month, the New York Times revealed how sensitive location data is harvested by third parties from our smartphones — often with weak or nonexistent consent provisions. A Motherboard investigation in early January further demonstrated how cell companies sell our locations to stalkers and bounty hunters willing to pay the price. For some, the Google sibling’s [Sidewalk Labs] plans to gather and commodify real-time location data from millions of cellphones adds to these concerns."

"We are a counted people. Our locations, words, memories, shopping habits, entertainment preferences and political beliefs are translated into numbers, then stored, sold, and traded by governments and the data giants of Silicon Valley who make our technological age tick.. . phones record location; emails, calls, and texts are scanned for keywords that allow Google to develop personalized ads; Facebook existence can be run through algorithms that generalize political psychology into a marketable identity. . . The general desire to know how to get to a coffee shop has uncovered the daily lives of the citizenry more quickly and effectively than a million wiretaps." (Marc Barnes, A counted people, First Things, Feb. 2019)

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