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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

commercial data mining « Previous | |Next »
December 29, 2013

The net has effectively been captured.

Government spying agencies on the one hand and Facebook and Google on the other are warehousing our data, mining our lives and minting theirs.Thus Facebook monitors – and stores the stuff that its subscribers post on their Facebook pages, and the core of Facebook's business is "strip-mining human society".

Eben Moglen in Snowden and the Future: Part III; The Union, May It Be Preserved says that the data-mining companies surveil our reading:

If you have a Facebook account which you use, that is you log in from time to time, then not only will Facebook be surveilling every single moment you spend at Facebook—watching what you read, how long you read it, what you do next, where you go to, what you click on from there, etc.—but also every Web page that you touch that has a Facebook “like” button on it, whether you click the “like” button or not, will report your reading of that page to Facebook.

He adds about this commercial surveillance by Facebook, which is premised on he idea of social sharing, in a context in which the service provider reads everything and watches everybody watch:
....if you go from one page with a Facebook “like” button on it to another page with a Facebook “like” button on it, Facebook will calculate how long you spend reading page number one, and so on ad infinitum down the chain. If your newspaper, that you read every day, has Facebook “like” buttons or similar services’ buttons on those pages, then Facebook or the other service watches you read the newspaper: knows which stories you read and how long you spent on them, though you gave Facebook nothing about that at any time.

It’s not our publishing which is being surveilled, it is our reading.

And he says of the complicity between the data mining companies and the US Government that:

Everywhere outside the United States, the United States Government had hacked, tapped, stolen its way inside their charmed circle of encryption between themselves and their customers, in order to get to the data after it had been decrypted inside their own houses, their own internal networks, where they did not keep it adequately secure.

The vast surveillance-industrial state not only had authorization and resources, but also instructions everywhere outside the United States to take anything that it could get. It also ignored the rules regarding the limitations of listening inside the United States under the rule of law had basically been lifted by a US administration full of people who were politicizing fear.

There is no anonymity of reading online in a world of widespread surveillance that has nothing to do with national security and which extends to everyone. Britain and Australia have been more than the US's stooge in this surveillance scandal in that their respective intelligence agencies ( eg., GCHQ in the UK and the Australian Signals Directorate in Australia) play a large and active role.

The spooks of high technology are not held properly accountable by Parliament. Australian democracy sleeps, and shoots the messengers.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:46 AM | | Comments (3)


"That’s right: someone took the time to identify rape victims and then turn that into a mailing list. Which they will sell to people. At $79 per 1,000 names."

I dunno, I seem to be more out of touch with what passes as 'morality' the older I get.
I can't think of a single good reason why the people selling this list are not in jail -- or at least undergoing rehabilitative community service under the supervision of the staff from a Rape Crisis Centre.

I''m fine if Google knows my wife and I were searching for a new restaurant and how to get to it.

I'm opposed to them mining every one of my personal texts, emails and searches.

Collect enough metadata together, and you have a complete picture of someone's friendship networks, sleeping patterns, and working hours, all without reading a single email.