mfioretti: google* + privacy*

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  1. Should there be regulation?#
    Yes. On privacy disclosure, and prohibiting the most draconian uses of user data. It should not be possible for users to give those rights up in exchange for use of a social system like Facebook. The idea is similar to the law in California that says that most non-competes are not enforceable. The benefit you receive has to be somewhat equivalent to the data you give up. #
    What about Google, Apple, Amazon?#
    This is the really important stuff.#
    This affair should get users, government and the press to look at other tech companies who have business models based on getting users to disclose ever-more-intimate information. Here are some examples.#
    Google, through Android, knows every place you go. They use that data. Do they sell it? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure you can use it to target ads. Apple, through the iPhone also knows where you go.#
    Apps on Android or iPhones can be told where you go. Many of them are only useful if you let them have the info. Apps can also have all your pictures, contacts. Face recognition makes it possible to construct a social graph without any access to the Facebook API.#
    Google and Apple can listen to all your phone calls.#
    Google, through their Chrome browser, knows everywhere you go on the web, and everything you type into the browser. #
    Amazon Echo and Google Home are always listening. Imagine a leak based on conversations at home, phone calls, personal habits, arguments you have with your spouse, kids, any illegal activities that might be going on in your home. #
    If you have a Gmail account, Google reads your mail, and targets ads at you based on what you're writing about. They also read the email that people send to you, people who may not also be Gmail users. Some examples of how creepy this can be -- they seem to know what my investments are, btw -- I assume they figured this out through email. Recently they told me when a friend's flight to NYC was arriving. I don't know how they made this connection. I assume it was through email.#
    Amazon, of course, knows everything you buy through Amazon. #
    Google knows everything you search for. #
    And on and on. We've reconstructed our whole society around companies having all the data about us that they want. It's kind of funny that we're all freaking out about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. The problem is so much bigger. #
    Summary#
    It seems like a non-event to me. The press knew all about the API going back to 2012. That they didn't foresee the problem then is a result of the press accepting the hype of big tech companies on their terms, and not trying to find out what the implications of technology are from non-partisan experts. This was a story that could have and should have been written in 2010, warning users of a hidden cost to Facebook.#
    Today's scandal, the equivalent of the one in 2010, is that Google is attempting to turn the web into a corporate platform. Once they control the web as Facebook controls the Social Graph, we'll have another impossibly huge problem to deal with. Better to head this one off with regulation, now, when it can do some good
    http://scripting.com/2018/04/11/140429.html
    Voting 0
  2. Mark Zuckerberg also launched Facebook with a disdain for intrusive advertising, but it wasn’t long before the social network giant became Google’s biggest competitor for ad dollars. After going public with 845 million users in 2012, Facebook became a multibillion-dollar company and Zuckerberg one of the richest men on Earth, but with only a promise that the company would figure out how to monetize its platform.

    Facebook ultimately sold companies on its platform by promising “brand awareness” and the best possible data on what consumers actually liked. Brands could start their own Facebook pages, which people would actually “like” and interact with. This provided unparalleled information about what company each individual person wanted to interact with the most. By engaging with companies on Facebook, people gave corporate marketing departments more information than they could have ever dreamed of buying, but here it was offered up free.

    This was the “grand bargain,” as Columbia University law professor Tim Wu called it in his book, The Attention Merchants, that users struck with corporations. Wu wrote that Facebook’s “billions of users worldwide were simply handing over a treasure trove of detailed demographic data and exposing themselves to highly targeted advertising in return for what, exactly?”

    In other words: We will give you every detail of our lives and you will get rich by selling that information to advertisers.

    European regulators are now saying that bargain was a bad deal. The big question that remains is whether their counterparts in the U.S. will follow their lead.
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...antitrust_us_5a625023e4b0dc592a088f6c
    Voting 0
  3. urope has propelled past the United States when it comes to constraining the abuses of Big Tech. In June, the European Union fined Google $2.7 billion for steering web users to its shopping site, and investigations remain active over similar treatment on Android phones. European regulators fined Facebook for lying about whether it could match user profiles with phone numbers on its messaging acquisition WhatsApp. They demanded Apple repay $15.3 billion in back taxes in Ireland. And they forced Amazon to change its e-book contracts, which they claimed inappropriately squeezed publishers.
    AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

    Trust-Busted: In 2002, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates had to testify at federal court in his company's antitrust case. The public trial led Microsoft to sfoten its aggressive strategy against rivals.

    Unfortunately, these actions were treated mainly as the cost of doing business. The Facebook fine totaled not even 1 percent of the $22 billion purchase price for WhatsApp, and it allowed the two companies to remain partnered. Government policy, in effect, has “told these companies that the smart thing to do is to lie to us and break the law,” said Scott Galloway in his presentation. Google’s remedy in the shopping case still forces rivals to bid for placement at the top of the page, with Google Shopping spun off as a stand-alone competitor. This does weaken Google’s power and solves the “equal treatment” problem, but it doesn’t protect consumers, who will ultimately pay for those costly bids. “The EU got a $2.7 billion fine to hold a party and bail out Greek banks,” said Gary Reback, an antitrust lawyer and critic of the EU’s actions. “No amount of money will make a difference.”

    However, one thing might: Europe’s increasing move toward data privacy. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), scheduled for implementation in May 2018, empowers European web users to affirmatively opt out of having their data collected, with high penalties for non-compliance. Consumers will be able to obtain their personal data and learn how it is used. They can request that their data be erased completely (known as the “right to be forgotten”) as well as prohibited from sale to third parties. Platforms could not condition use of their products on data collection. A separate, not-yet-finalized regulation called ePrivacy would forbid platforms from tracking users across separate apps, websites, and devices.
    http://prospect.org/article/big-tech-new-predatory-capitalism
    Voting 0
  4. Nel 2007 Google ha acquisito DoubleClick, società che raccoglieva dati di navigazione web, assicurando che mai avrebbe incrociato tali risultati con le informazioni personali possedute grazie all'utilizzo dei propri servizi. Tuttavia, a distanza di quasi 10 anni ha aggiornato le proprie condizioni per l'uso dell'account Google, informando che adesso avrà la possibilità di effettuare tale incrocio. Nel documento si legge adesso: "A seconda delle impostazioni dell'account utente, la sua attività su altri siti e app potrebbe essere associata alle relative informazioni personali allo scopo di migliorare i servizi Google e gli annunci pubblicati da Google". La modifica alle impostazioni deve essere approvata, ed infatti Google richiede specificatamente, una volta effettuato l'accesso al proprio account via browser web, di accettare tali nuove condizioni. L'utente ha la possibilità di mantenere le impostazioni attuali e continuare ad utilizzare i servizi Google allo stesso modo, mentre per i nuovi account invece le nuove opzioni sono abilitate di default. Coi nuovi termini, se accettati, Google potrà unire i dati di navigazione acquisiti tramite i servizi di analisi o tracking alle informazioni già ottenute dal profilo utente. Tutto ciò permetterà alla casa di Mountain View di comporre un ritratto completo dei propri utenti composto dai dati personali, da ciò che viene scritto nelle email, dai siti web visitati e dalle ricerche effettuate, facendo cadere definitivamente il principio di anonimato del tracciamento web.
    http://www.saggiamente.com/2016/10/ad...ource=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
    Voting 0
  5. Cook was characteristically passionate about all three topics. A theme that has persisted following his appearance on Charlie Rose late last year to define how Apple handled encryption, his public letter on Apple’s new security page in the wake of the celebrity nude hacking incidents and his speech earlier this year at President Obama’s Summit on Cybersecurity at Stanford — an event which was notably not attended by other Silicon Valley CEOs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt.

    Cook lost no time in directing comments at companies (obviously, though not explicitly) like Facebook and Google, which rely on advertising to users based on the data they collect from them for a portion, if not a majority, of their income.

    “I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information,” said Cook. “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

    Cook went on to state, as he has before when talking about products like Apple Pay, that Apple ‘doesn’t want your data.’

    They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong.

    — Tim Cook

    “We don’t think you should ever have to trade it for a service you think is free but actually comes at a very high cost. This is especially true now that we’re storing data about our health, our finances and our homes on our devices,” Cook went on, getting even more explicit when talking about user privacy.

    “We believe the customer should be in control of their own information. You might like these so-called free services, but we don’t think they’re worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data mined and sold off for god knows what advertising purpose. And we think some day, customers will see this for what it is.”

    That, in case you missed it, is an epic subtweet of Google’s Photos product, which was just rolled out at I/O.The fact that Photos is free of charge, and Apple’s products are not likely spurred the talk about “very high costs.”

    That product uploads all of your photos, with unlimited storage, to Google’s cloud, organizing, improving and giving you access to a deep history of your images. By many accounts, Photos is a fantastic product, but even early on people have begun to point out the obvious tradeoff that you’re making when you sign up.

    Encryption

    Cook then switched gears to talk about encryption — directly addressing the efforts by policy makers to force Apple to offer a ‘master key’ that would allow government agencies access to consumer devices.

    “There’s another attack on our civil liberties that we see heating up every day — it’s the battle over encryption. Some in Washington are hoping to undermine the ability of ordinary citizens to encrypt their data,” said Cook.

    “We think this is incredibly dangerous. We’ve been offering encryption tools in our products for years, and we’re going to stay on that path. We think it’s a critical feature for our customers who want to keep their data secure. For years we’ve offered encryption services like iMessage and FaceTime because we believe the contents of your text messages and your video chats is none of our business.”

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been waging a war on “pervasive encryption,” painting it as an enabler of terrorism. Every security researcher and logical human being on the planet understands that this is ridiculous. And Cook is one of them.

    “If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too. Criminals are using every technology tool at their disposal to hack into people’s accounts. If they know there’s a key hidden somewhere, they won’t stop until they find it,” Cook continued.

    “Removing encryption tools from our products altogether, as some in Washington would like us to do, would only hurt law-abiding citizens who rely on us to protect their data. The bad guys will still encrypt; it’s easy to do and readily available.”

    Cook then took it a step further, noting that weakening encryption could have a ‘chilling effect’ on our First Amendment rights.

    The bad guys will still encrypt; it’s easy to do and readily available.

    — Tim Cook

    “Now, we have a deep respect for law enforcement, and we work together with them in many areas, but on this issue we disagree. So let me be crystal clear — weakening encryption, or taking it away, harms good people that are using it for the right reasons. And ultimately, I believe it has a chilling effect on our First Amendment rights and undermines our country’s founding principles.”
    http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/02/appl...hcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29#.ph1qij:nbrA
    Voting 0
  6. In conclusione l’attuazione della cookie law si presenta come una mera operazione di maquillage che non tutela affatto i visitatori, quanto piuttosto costringe molti blogger a obblighi burocratici defatiganti che scoraggeranno moltissimi dall’aprire e gestire siti web.
    http://www.valigiablu.it/il-chiarimen...ro-a-rischio-moltissimi-siti-italiani
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-06-07)
    Voting 0
  7. Torno sull'argomento #cookielaw perché quello che sta accadendo è una follia vera e propria (pur essendo perfettamente a conoscenza dell'importanza della tutela della privacy degli individui). L'impressione netta è che, nella impossibilità di normare chi fa davvero uso della profilazione, si sia adottata una linea di azione liberticida.
    http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1smg853?new_post=true
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-06-02)
    Voting 0
  8. we know for a fact that companies like Google are giving corporate advertisers access to users based on the personal data they control -- and many of those advertisers are targeting individuals with the express intent to rip them off, sell them deadly products, and financially impoverish them.

    Some advertisers are just trying to help customers find a product they might like, but the dark version of online marketing is that it can facilitate what economists call "price discrimination," selling the same exact good at a variety of prices in ways unknown to the buyers. Researchers Rosa-Branc Esteves and Joana Resende highlight how with the low costs of online advertising, such online price discrimination systematically shifts wealth from consumers to corporate profits. One implication of their models is that "average prices with mass advertising i.e. without the discrimination allowed by targeting individual users online » are below those with targeted advertising," which follows the idea that firms will target certain consumers with promotions while enjoying higher prices paid by consumers kept ignorant of lower prices offered to others.

    Early Internet visionary Jaron Lanier, who pioneered ideas like "virtual reality" two decades ago, has noted that such access to behavioral targeting has even more appeal to the "tawdry" kinds of firms than the "dignified side of capitalism", since "ambulance chasers and snake oil salesmen" among the capitalist class thrive on such targeted access to their victims.

    Google isn't usually identified as a big player in the subprime mortgage debacle and its aftermath, but a significant portion of Google's profits in the mid-2000s were coming straight from subprime mortgage lenders advertising on its site. As Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy said back in 2007, "Many online companies depend for a disproportionate amount of their income on financial services advertising, with subprime in some cases accounting for a large part of it."

    Companies enticed customers with unrealistic "teaser rates" -- heavily advertised online -- that burdened borrowers with toxic terms and unmanageable obligations that exploded in later years. And as the racial and exploitive aspect of the mortgage meltdown was endemic with what some scholars described as reverse redlining, "the practice of targeting borrowers of color for loans on unfavorable terms." This offering of differential rates based on the characteristics of the borrower constitutes the most damaging price discrimination inflicting consumer harm in American history, for which Google played an integral (and profitable) role as an advertising intermediary where it was earning billions of dollars a year in that role.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-...ource=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
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  9. Have you guys heard of The Next Five Billion? Yeah? They’re really excited about this in Silicon Valley. The Next Five Billion are these poor souls in parts of the world where they can’t connect to the internet; they don’t have the resources, and there’s nobody locally who could fix this problem of course, so the white man has to bring the fire, right? With things like balloons with Google Loon, or Internet.org which is already working, where they’re giving free internet, but it’s not the full internet; it’s only Facebook and a few other services.

    So in the future, there might be a whole nation whose notion of the internet is something you sign into with your Google username or password, or your Facebook username and password, and that’s quite a bleak future to look forward to. And it’s also what I call digital imperialism. It is a new form of colonialism.

    So that’s data about you. But there’s more data in the world, right? And Google needs that data as well, so how do they get it? They’ve got satellites of course, they’ve got maps; beautiful Google Street View. Who’s seen the Google Street View Car here? Who’s done something funny while it was going by? Yeah. But there’s some places they can’t go with a car and they need the data. So there’s the Google Street View Trike for places you can’t go with a car but you need the data, right? And if you can’t go there with a trike, there’s the Google Street View Snowmobile. You can use that. And if you can’t go there with a snowmobile, maybe it’s indoors, there’s the Google Street View Trolley for that. And if you can’t go there with a trolley but you need the data, there is the Google Street View Backpack. And I saw this the other day; I shit you not!

    Now. Do you kinda get the feeling they need the data? Do you? Talk about Apple; they’ve got a different business model my friend; they sell products. They don’t sell your data, but we can talk about them. They’re not great; they’re closed, but they are a very different company. So that’s why I’m not talking about Apple, but thank you for bringing it up.

    So, what is the end-game? What are we trying to do? What does all of this combine into? Data about the world, data about all of us. What do we get if we combine all of that? Well we get what I would call the Camera Panopticon. And you might say Aral, OK, so they’re building this Camera Panopticon that knows everything about the world and everything about us. And that’s probably a useful tool for manipulating behaviour, for even, depending on how good your lens is, in predicting the future and creating it. But at least they don’t share it with governments, right? Well, wrong, of course. Since 9/11 things have changed. In the US, they’ve formed this, the Information Awareness Office, with the publicly stated goal of attaining total information awareness, knowing everything about everyone and everything. Now, if you’re going to do that, this was their real logo. Don’t make this your logo! Really! People get scared with a pyramid with an all-seeing eye shooting laser beams at the world. So, people got scared, and they were like, we were kidding, we’re just going to shut it down, right? That was a joke, ha-ha!

    And of course, they didn’t shut it down, as Edward Snowden’s revelations showed last year and we’ll be hearing from him tonight. The NSA really needs to hire a PowerPoint designer! But apart from that, all of these companies that we trusted with our most personal data, we realised were sharing it with the Government, all of this data that we thought was private. Why? Well easy; because data that you have volunteered to a third party is not under the same protections under the law. It’s so much easier for them to go to one place and to ask them for information you have volunteered. It’s like a drive-through MacDonald’s or something, you know, if you’re an agency, it’s just like all this data in one place and I just have to ask; it’s beautiful, right?

    privacy is not about whether or not you have something to hide; it’s about having the right to choose what you want to keep to yourself and what you want to share with others. It’s a fundamental human right that we have seen fit to enshrine in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 12 specifically. So, when these companies that need your data, that don’t respect your privacy, tell you, oh my gosh, we are fighting for your privacy, right, and if they build things like reform government surveillance and say, “We’re fighting for your privacy; the government is evil.” There’s a term for that. It is “bullshit”. Right?

    It is bullshit and it is misdirection. This is a cornerstone of magic.

    here’s the problem. If you want the problem at its core, this is the problem: in order to share something with your friend, you shouldn’t also have to share it with a stranger. You should be able to share it directly with them. This is not a complicated problem, and it doesn’t require a complicated solution. And if anyone tells you it’s a complicated problem, they probably have a vested interested in it appearing to be complicated. If we can do this, then we can start people off in their own homes, not in the home of a known abuser. We can start them off somewhere that is safe, not start them off somewhere that’s unsafe and say, “Protect yourself”. And if we can do this, then we can build products that actually protect our human rights, that protect our fundamental freedoms, that protect democracy.
    https://ind.ie/the-camera-panopticon
    Voting 0
  10. I switched from using a BlackBerry to an Android phone a few years ago it really irked me that the only way to keep my contacts info on the phone was to also let Google sync them into their cloud. This may not be true universally (I think some samsung phones will let you store contacts to the SD card) but it was true for phone I was using then and is true on the Nexus 4 I'm using now. It took a lot of painful digging through Android source and googling, but I successfully ended up writing a bunch of code to get around this.

    I've been meaning to put up the code and post this for a while, but kept procrastinating because the code wasn't generic/pretty enough to publish. It still isn't but it's better to post it anyway in case somebody finds it useful, so that's what I'm doing.

    In a nutshell, what I wrote is an Android app that includes (a) an account authenticator, (b) a contacts sync adapter and (c) a calendar sync adapter. On a stock Android phone this will allow you to create an "account" on the device and add contacts/calendar entries to it.

    Note that I wrote this to interface with the way I already have my data stored, so the account creation process actually tries to validate the entered credentials against a webhost, and the the contacts sync adapter is actually a working one-way sync adapter that will download contact info from a remote server in vcard format and update the local database. The calendar sync adapter, though, is just a dummy. You're encouraged to rip out the parts that you don't want and use the rest as you see fit. It's mostly meant to be a working example of how this can be accomplished.

    The net effect is that you can store contacts and calendar entries on the device so they don't get synced to Google, but you can still use the built-in contacts and calendar apps to manipulate them. This benefits from much better integration with the rest of the OS than if you were to use a third-party contacts or calendar app.
    https://staktrace.com/spout/entry.php?id=827
    Voting 0

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