This text is a part of a collection on company surveillance highlighting civil liberty, privateness, cyber safety, security, and tech-product consumer exploitation threats related to related merchandise which might be supported by the Android (Google) OS, Apple iOS, and Microsoft Home windows OS.
At present, individuals, companies, authorities officers, and regulation makers are unaware of the enterprise mannequin that helps their favourite know-how comparable to smartphones and related merchandise which might be supported by the Android, Apple, and Microsoft Home windows working techniques.
The connected-product enterprise mannequin includes surveillance and knowledge mining enterprise practices rooted in “surveillance capitalism.” These are phrases that the public is unaware of as a result of all events involved aren’t clear about their enterprise practices.
Addictive, Intrusive, and Exploitative
Corporations which have adopted a surveillance capitalism enterprise mannequin are in the enterprise to take advantage of their paying clients or product customers for monetary achieve at the expense of the consumer’s civil liberties, privateness, cybersecurity, and security, whether or not the product consumer is an grownup or a toddler.
Don’t take my phrase for this declare: Former Alphabet Inc. government chairman Eric Schmidt, Facebook co-founder Sean Parker, and former Google designer Tristan Harris admit that Google and Facebook develop addictive, intrusive, and even probably dangerous know-how so as to exploit the product consumer for monetary achieve.
“I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. … They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next,” Schmidt advised The Wall Road Journal in 2010.
“We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less guess what you’re thinking about. Now, is that over the line?” he stated in an interview with The Atlantic at the Washington Concepts Discussion board in 2010.
Parker stated in an interview with Axios in November 2017: “It’s a social-validation suggestions loop; it’s precisely the type of factor that a hacker like myself would come up with, since you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators—it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of those individuals—understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.
“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
What’s scary is that Parker signifies that corporations reminiscent of Facebook aren’t involved that they could be harming their product customers and clients, whether or not the product consumer is an grownup, enterprise skilled, or baby.
The Federal Commerce Fee, lawmakers, people, mother and father, and companies that use Facebook must be extremely involved over Parker’s admission that Facebook is designed to be addictive in an effort to exploit the consumer for monetary achieve at the expense of the consumer’s privateness, cybersecurity, and security.
Harris reveals extra about how the merchandise are designed to be addictive in his essay on Medium:
“The typical individual checks their telephone 150 occasions a day. Why can we do that? Are we making 150 acutely aware decisions? One main cause why is the primary psychological ingredient in slot machines: intermittent variable rewards. … Addictiveness is maximized when the fee of reward is most variable.
“By shaping the menus we pick from, technology hijacks the way we perceive our choices and replaces them with new ones. But the closer we pay attention to the options we’re given, the more we’ll notice when they don’t actually align with our true needs.”
Monetizing the Smartphone User
Surveillance capitalism merely signifies that social media, smartphone, and connected-product customers have been monetized by data-driven know-how suppliers, which embrace social media suppliers, telecom suppliers, gadget producers, working system builders, and content material (apps, widgets, and so on.) builders.
Collectively, these data-driven know-how suppliers have monetized their customers to be auctioned off to the highest bidders, which embrace third-parties comparable to publishers, advertisers, builders, and rights holders as said in Google’s phrases of use (privateness coverage).
With that being stated, Google writes its privateness coverage in a nebulous method by describing all events involved as “Partners,” which means there could possibly be further third-parties which are enabled to gather, use, share, promote, buy, and combination the Google product consumer’s private and professional info for monetary achieve.
I need to be clear that corporations corresponding to Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook don’t promote their product customers’ private info on to any third-party. Nevertheless, these corporations promote entry to their customers by way of intrusive and exploitative pre-installed (“rooted”) content material akin to apps, widgets, and emojis.
Moreover, third-parties can achieve entry to the connected-product consumer by way of intrusive and exploitative third-party content material that’s distributed via sources resembling Google Play and the Apple App Retailer.
Individuals want to know that pre-installed and third-party content material corresponding to apps are primarily designed to allow the content material developer with the potential to watch, monitor, and knowledge mine the consumer for monetary achieve 24 hours a day, 7 days every week, 365 days a yr.
As Parker stated, it’s the sort of factor a hacker would provide you with. To the consumer, apps present comfort, leisure, and knowledge. Nevertheless, to the app developer, the app is the car that’s used to gather, use, share, promote, and combination the product consumer’s info for monetary achieve.
The New Gold Rush
Knowledge-driven know-how suppliers resembling Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Baidu, and different tech giants are in the enterprise to take advantage of product consumer’s private and professional info, referred to as an individual’s “digital DNA.”
An individual’s collective digital DNA is the most respected commodity in the digital age.
The product consumer produces private and professional digital DNA by merely utilizing a related product comparable to a smartphone, pill PC, TV, car, and in style voice-automated merchandise similar to the Amazon Echo powered by Alexa.
Related-product customers could be described as “uncompensated information producers” who’re being exploited for monetary achieve at the expense of the consumer’s civil liberties, privateness, cybersecurity, and security by the very tech corporations that the consumer patronizes with their belief, loyalty, and hard-earned cash.
The consumer pays for a product comparable to a smartphone and produces digital DNA that’s then exploited for income by the service suppliers, who don’t compensate the product consumer for producing the worthwhile digital DNA.
This may be like shopping for your personal instruments to dig up diamonds just for the diamond mine operators to promote the diamonds for money with out compensating the diamond miner, despite the fact that the diamond miner had paid for the instruments.
Individuals say privateness is lifeless and we should always not care. In case you are considered one of these individuals I would really like so that you can meditate on the following assertion:
To lose privateness is dangerous sufficient however to be exploited for income at the expense of your civil liberties, privateness, cybersecurity, and security is unacceptable.
Company surveillance rooted in surveillance capitalism poses a larger menace to civil liberties, privateness, cybersecurity, and security than Nationwide Safety Company surveillance packages reminiscent of PRISM (uncovered by Edward Snowden) as a result of the product consumer has been monetized by for-profit corporations.
Frankly, we have no idea how our digital DNA is being utilized by data-driven know-how suppliers reminiscent of Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
Silicon Valley tech giants need us to be clear with our private and professional lives, but these tech giants don’t need to be clear about their surveillance and data-mining enterprise practices.
We’re unsure if our private and professional digital DNA is being utilized in a dangerous method, which was the case for Facebook customers in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal must be a wake-up name to all connected-product customers, as a result of the exploitation threats related to the scandal are additionally systemic in all related merchandise which are supported by the Android OS, Apple iOS, and MS Home windows OS.
At the finish of the day we aren’t positive if Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and different tech giants are in reality utilizing, sharing, promoting, buying, and aggregating our collective digital DNA in a dangerous method.
For instance, is our digital DNA ending up in the arms of knowledge brokers (e.g., Cambridge Analytica), state actors (overseas/home), regulation enforcement, enterprise rivals, employers (present/future), insurance coverage and financial institution underwriters, establishments of upper studying, or some other entity that would deliver hurt to the product consumer?
Future articles will pursue the reply to this essential query plus many others.
In closing, let’s not overlook that the connected-product consumer is the “paying customer,” and all corporations involved are required by regulation to be clear with regard to surveillance and data-mining enterprise practices to the paying buyer.
In any case, who needs to pay for intrusive, exploitative, and dangerous merchandise resembling smartphones, pill PCs, TVs, automobiles, or some other related product that would convey hurt to the product consumer, together with youngsters?
It’s time that the public knowledge mines the knowledge miners by demanding transparency relating to surveillance and knowledge mining enterprise practices employed by all events involved.
Contact your service suppliers at present and demand transparency!
Rex M. Lee is a privateness and knowledge safety advisor and Blackops Companions researcher.
Views expressed on this article are the opinions of the writer and don’t essentially mirror the views of The Epoch Occasions.