mfioretti: social networks* + surveillance*

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  1. I do believe that this time is different, the beginning of a massive shift, and I believe it’s the fault of these social networks.

    One of the problems is that these platforms act, in many ways, like drugs. Facebook, and every other social-media outlet, knows that all too well. Your phone vibrates a dozen times an hour with alerts about likes and comments and retweets and faves. The combined effect is one of just trying to suck you back in, so their numbers look better for their next quarterly earnings report. Sean Parker, one of Facebook’s earliest investors and the company’s first president, came right out and said what we all know: the whole intention of Facebook is to act like a drug, by “ giving » you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.” That, Parker said, was by design. These companies are “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya has echoed this, too. “Do I feel guilty?” he asked rhetorically on CNN about the role Facebook is playing in society. “Absolutely I feel guilt.”

    And then, there’s the biggest reason why people are abandoning the platforms: the promise of connection has turned out to be a reality of division. We’ve all watched the way Donald J. Trump used social media to drive a wedge between us all, the way he tweets his sad and pathetic insecurities out to the world, without a care for how calling an equally insecure rogue leader a childish name might put us all on the brink of nuclear war. There’s a point that watching it all happen in real time makes you question what you’re doing with your life. As for conversing with our fellow Americans, we’ve all tried, unsuccessfully, to have a conversation on these platforms, which has so quickly devolved into a shouting match, or pile-on from perfect strangers because your belief isn’t the same as theirs. Years ago, a Facebook executive told me that the biggest reason people unfriend each other is because they disagree on an issue. The executive jokingly said, “Who knows, if this keeps up, maybe we’ll end up with people only having a few friends on Facebook.” Perhaps, worse of all, we’ve all watched as Russia has taken these platforms and used them against us in ways no one could have comprehended a decade ago.
    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/...-social-era-twitter-facebook-snapchat
    Voting 0
  2. Chi chiede il visto d’ingresso deve consentire l’accesso a tutti i contatti che sono stati registrati nella propria rubrica telefonica e in quella della posta elettronica. Ma non basta. Devono essere “consegnate” anche le parole chiave che assicurano l’accesso ai propri profili sui social network e alle caselle mail normalmente utilizzate.

    Per entrare sul suolo a stelle e strisce occorre anche fornire il consenso all’acquisizione delle informazioni finanziarie attraverso la consultazione delle movimentazioni bancarie di conto corrente e ad altre eventuali operazioni. Non manca nemmeno l’obbligo di rispondere alle domande che sul formulario sono predisposte per individuare ideologie e convinzioni religiose. Quesiti di questa natura non sono certo nuovi perché in passato non sono mancate le schede da compilarsi prima di scendere dall’aeromobile e che sollecitavano a confidare se si era o meno “terroristi”.

    L’entrata in vigore della nuova disciplina è destinata a modificare le abitudini e ad innescare l’ennesimo arrembaggio alla privacy. Gli agenti dell’Immigration Service potranno farsi consegnare cellulari, palmari e computer, curiosare tra i contatti e la cronologia della navigazione in Internet, scandagliare l’iscrizione a partiti politici o l’appartenenza a movimenti e associazioni, ricostruire la mappa di parentele, amicizie e relazioni di lavoro. L’obiettivo (legittimo) è quello di identificare (in maniera un po’ troppo invasiva) i soggetti potenzialmente pericolosi che – sapendo di questo screening o vivisezione digitale – si guarderanno bene dal presentarsi con diavolerie informatiche che possano farli incastrare.

    L’intrusione nella vita privata è stata considerata eccessiva non solo dalle organizzazioni a tutela dei diritti civili, ma persino da April Doss, ex “associate general counsel” (ossia avvocato addetto all’ufficio legale) della National Security Agency. Doss ha dichiarato infatti che “l’esecuzione di una simile raccolta di dati potrebbe recare detrimento alle attività di intelligence, perché si corre il rischio di raccogliere tanta immondizia che non ha nulla a che vedere con niente”.

    Vedremo se le tante Authority in materia di privacy faranno sentire la loro voce…
    http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2017/...cumenti-e-password-per-favore/3500365
    Voting 0
  3. non voglio farla lunga, ma in allora, come oggi, io non controllavo affatto il dato e l’informazione personale volontariamente o forzosamente appresa ad ogni mio movimento; ciò che in qualche modo mi salvava nella tribolata adolescenza (non sempre invero) era il controllo della situazione sociale e del contesto.

    Il controllo sul dato-informazione non l’avevo con il macellaio del paese e non posso pensare di averlo oggi sul web con Google, Facebook e soprattutto con le mille agenzie statuali affette, per svariate e talvolta encomiabili ragioni, da bulimia informativa. Ma in allora avevo contezza e in qualche modo governavo le banali regole tecniche (le vie del paese, gli orari della corriera) e quelle sociali di prossimità del mio territorio.

    Oggi non ci riesco più. E non è solo per la quantità dei dati captati e memorizzati ad ogni passo ma per la totale opacità del contesto e delle regole tecniche e sociali che governano la nostra vita digitale.

    Algoritmi ignoti, insondabili ai loro stessi creatori, ricostruiscono la nostra immagine, creano punteggi e giudicano rilevanze e congruità a nostra totale insaputa. Banche, assicurazioni, imprese di ogni risma e fattezza (a breve l’internet delle cose ci stupirà) ma soprattutto lo Stato, con le sue mille agenzie di verifica e controllo, accedono ad ogni informazione decontestualizzandola, creando relazioni e correlazioni di cui non abbiamo coscienza, ma di cui subiamo quotidianamente le conseguenze.

    Non possiamo impedire tutto questo, il big data e gli open-data salveranno il mondo, d’accordo. Ma possiamo e dobbiamo pretendere di sapere il chi, il come e il quando. Abbiamo bisogno di sapere qual è il contesto, e quali sono le regole; solo così troveremo strategie, non per delinquere o eludere la legge (come sostiene parte della magistratura), ma per esercitare i diritti fondamentali della persona.

    Nel mondo fisico sappiamo quando lo Stato ha il diritto di entrare in casa nostra, o a quali condizioni possa limitare le nostre libertà personali, di movimento, d’espressione; nel mondo digitale non sappiamo, e neppure ci chiediamo, chi, quando e a quali condizioni possa impossessarsi dei nostri dati, dei nostri dispositivi tramite software occulti, della nostra vita. Accettiamo supinamente un’intollerabile opacità.

    Io ho qualcosa da nascondere da quando ho ricordi: sono riservatezze variabili a seconda dell’interlocutore, del tempo, del luogo e del contesto. E non voglio per me e i miei figli una società stupidamente disciplinata da una costante sorveglianza e decerebrata dagli algoritmi. Vorrei una società in cui l’asimmetria dell’informazione sia l’esatto opposto dell’attuale, dove purtroppo il cittadino è totalmente trasparente e lo Stato e le sue regole sono opache e incerte.
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    Carlo Blengino
    Carlo Blengino

    Avvocato penalista, affronta nelle aule giudiziarie il diritto delle nuove tecnologie, le questioni di copyright e di data protection. È fellow del NEXA Center for Internet & Society del Politecnico di Torino. @CBlengio su Twitter
    http://www.ilpost.it/carloblengino/2016/11/02/ho-qualcosa-da-nascondere
    Voting 0
  4. Soon, foreign visitors to the United States will be expected to tell U.S. authorities about their social media accounts.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to start collecting “information associated with your online presence” from travelers from countries eligible for a visa waiver, including much of Europe and a handful of other countries. Earlier this summer, the agency proposed including a field on certain customs forms for “provider/platform” and “social media identifier,” making headlines in the international press. If approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the change could take effect as soon as December.

    Privacy groups in recent weeks have pushed back against the idea, saying it could chill online expression and gives DHS and CBP overbroad authority to determine what kind of online activity constitutes a “risk to the United States” or “nefarious activity.”

    The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression wrote last month that the scope of information being collected was “vague and open-ended,” and that he was “concerned” that with the change, “government officials might have largely unfettered authority to collect, analyze, share and retain personal and sensitive information about travelers and their online associations.”

    “If a ‘follower’ of an applicant raises a red flag for the agency, the applicant herself may be denied permission to travel to the United States.”

    CBP and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, said that the social media question will be optional, and that the agencies “would only have access to information publicly available on those platforms, consistent with the privacy settings of the platforms.”

    A CBP spokesperson provided a statement saying that collecting social media information “may help detect potential threats because experience has shown that criminals and terrorists, whether intentionally or not, have provided previously unavailable information via social media that identified their true intentions.”
    https://theintercept.com/2016/10/21/t...avelers-tweets-before-letting-them-in
    Voting 0
  5. the social Web: a glorious dystopia where everybody works for likes — as in, “for free” — while a handful of tech tycoons profit.

    Never has this been clearer than in the past month, as Reddit — a private company that recently accepted $50 million in venture funding — quelled an uprising among the volunteers who actually run the site: its moderators.

    What will happen to the Internet if Reddit shuts down? »

    But insomuch as Reddit relies on digital work to run its business, it is not alone. In fact, that’s basically the elevator pitch of every major Internet institution, from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to Wikipedia. Even when these sites don’t openly rely on “consumers” to create the content that keeps venture capital, ad revenue or donations pouring in, they’re mining them for other sorts of resources that can be monetized.

    Can something truly be called exploitative, or even labor, if the exploited parties enjoy it? That’s a difficult question and one that theorists haven’t conclusively answered yet.

    And still, there’s plenty to suggest that different sorts of labor arrangements would be really good for users and the sites they work on. When people aren’t paid for their work, for instance, the only people who can contribute are the ones who (a) have money from other sources or (b) are overwhelmingly compelled by motivations like power, popularity or revenge. (The writer and tech theorist David Banks has implied this is one of the reasons that Reddit skews so heavily young and male.)
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/t...t-youre-working-for-facebook-for-free
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  6. It's the notion that in a free society, anyone should be able to read, learn, and debate without being monitored and recorded. Americans have long cherished this freedom, but author Neil Richards says it's being threatened by pervasive online tracking of digital habits and social media discussions.

    intellectual privacy is for anyone with an intellect – which is to say, it’s for everyone. Intellectual privacy is about needing to have protections from being watched and interfered with when we’re making up our minds about the world – when we’re reading, surfing the Web, talking on the phone, and sending e-mail to confidants. It's a way of understanding why people get so annoyed when the government and companies monitor our lives, and it was perhaps the greatest interest threatened by the surveillance Edward Snowden leaked. Although intellectual privacy is incredibly important, the right hasn't been well understood. We didn’t have to think about our beliefs, desires, and fantasies as matters of intellectual privacy until recently when we started interacting over digital devices that keep long and detailed records of our thoughts and reading habits.

    Beyond government surveillance, is anything else undermining intellectual privacy?

    Richards: Yes, corporations are. A few years ago Facebook offered “social reading” and automatically shared things we clicked on and read with our friends. People ended up accidentally disclosing embarrassing things. Amongst all the shame, the trend died a secret and unheralded death. But while this obvious case of intellectual privacy infringement is behind us, we’re still stuck with the fuel that keeps Facebook and so many other companies going: Internet advertising.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Passco...ivacy-and-how-yours-is-being-violated
    Voting 0
  7. Silicon Valley’s relations with the British government have hit a new low after an official report in the UK blamed Facebook for failing to prevent the jihadi-inspired murder of a British soldier.

    Behind closed doors in the tech community – where relations are already strained following the revelations from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden – there is fury over the intelligence and security committee (ISC) report, published on Tuesday, which accused Facebook and its peers of running a “safe haven” for terrorists.

    The ISC was investigating what the UK intelligence agencies knew about the two men who murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby in a street near his military barracks in Woolwich, London, in May 2013.
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/20...facebook-silicon-valley-uk-government
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  8. What is the role of Facebook in today’s journalism? The debate has been recurrent in the past few months, and was revived by the Pew Research Center's study that we discussed last week (the impact of social media in the diet of readers, and how that impact is very strong on their opinions about the news). The issue has been discussed again, this week, gutted by many and enriched by one of the most read and commented articles in the past few days. It is the interview by Ravi Somaiya of The New York Times with Greg Marra, a 26 year old Facebook engineer, among the "people responsible" for the algorithm by which users find the news on their news feed (usually ordered on the basis of the behavior of the members and not in chronological order as Twitter is - for now) and that, indirectly or not, affects the relationship of users with the news and the number of readings and sharing of editorial content.

    According to research by SimpleReach, in fact, one in five visualizations on news websites came from Facebook - and the numbers continue to grow. Therefore, it is not a surprise that publishers study Facebook with some interest, trying to get the best possible from it while guarding a crucial area
    http://www.journalismfestival.com/new...nished-social-media-is-just-beginning
    Voting 0
  9. Did you hear the one about Facebook charging $2.99 per month for access?

    Recently, the Facebook fee hoax started circulating on, yes, Facebook, and you didn’t have to be an investigative journalist to debunk the thing. You just had to look at the company’s revenue numbers. Facebook’s 1.3 billion users are so valuable as advertising targets, the company would never run the risk of cutting any of them off with a paywall.

    But, as it turns out, Facebook is willing to risk alienating its users in other ways. It also sees tremendous value in using its social network to experiment on those 1.3 billion souls—so much value that it’s still worth losing a few here and there.

    If anything in recent memory comes close to validating off-repeated conspiracy theories about the motives of Facebook, it was the company’s now infamous “emotional contagion” study published over the summer. In the study, Facebook researchers tweaked the News Feeds of nearly 700,000 users—without their knowledge—to see if more positive or negative updates from friends induced the same emotions in the users themselves. The outcry was swift and loud, and now, several months later, Facebook says it’s being more careful in how it conducts its research. But there’s no sign that it’s stopping.
    The idea that Facebook isn’t a content-neutral communication medium like the phone or email seems to generate constant surprise and outrage.

    So we’ll spell it out: Facebook has every reason to manipulate the News Feed to optimize for whatever user engagement metrics correspond to the best returns for advertisers, which in turn correspond to the best returns for Facebook. And it has every reason to use other experiments in an effort to improve other parts of its operation. This is the way so many online companies work.
    http://www.wired.com/2014/10/facebook...g-just-lucrative/?mbid=social_twitter
    Voting 0
  10. the mathematical principles used to control groups of autonomous robots can be applied to social networks in order to control human behavior. If properly calibrated, the mathematical models developed by Dixon and his fellow researchers could be used to sway the opinion of social networks toward a desired set of behaviors—perhaps in concert with some of the social media “effects” cyber-weaponry developed by the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ.
    http://arstechnica.com/information-te...l-media-to-control-people-like-drones
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