News Dump Wednesday: The Death Of Privacy Edition

We are watching you

predictions in a new study by LDV Capital, a VC firm that invests in visual technologies such as computer vision. It polled experts at its own portfolio companies and beyond to predict that by 2022, the total number of cameras in the world will reach about 44 trillion.
Jaw-dropping as that figure is, it doesn’t seem so crazy when you realize that today there are already about 14 trillion cameras in the world, according to data from research firms such as Gartner.

Disney are perverts

The Walt Disney Co. secretly collects personal information on some of their youngest customers and shares that data illegally with advertisers without parental consent, according to a federal lawsuit filed late last week in California.
The class-action suit targets Disney and three other software companies — Upsight, Unity and Kochava — alleging that the mobile apps they built together violate the law by gathering insights about app users across the Internet, including those under the age of 13, in ways that facilitate “commercial exploitation.”

Facebook. nuff' said

Well, this sounds like potentially a pretty big deal. Facebook is using smartphone location data to recommend new friends to users, which suggests many possible privacy invasions. This is also a technique NSA uses to track surveillance targets.
“Thanks to tracking the location of users’ smartphones, the social network may suggest you friend people you’ve shared a GPS data point with, meaning your friend suggestions could include someone whose face you know, but whose name you didn’t until Facebook offered it up to you,” writes Kashmir Hill at Fusion.

Google is watching you

Google recently announced a new advertising program tying consumers’ online behavior to purchases they make in stores.
Through its third-party partnerships, Google has access to 70 percent of U.S. consumers’ debit- and credit-card records. In the past three years of testing, it’s already measured 5 billion store visits. Google executives have heralded the program, which relies on machine learning, as “revolutionary” for both Google and for marketers.
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Comments

Pluto's Republic's picture

In China, where facial recognition is leap years ahead and has gone full AI, there are signs over intersections that call you out by name if you jaywalk. Beijing KFCs already know what you will order when you approach the counter, and it has some personal suggestions just for you. What's more, you don't need an ATM card anymore. Just step up to the machine and enter your pin.

But more disconcerting and to the point are articles like this one, that appears on the World Socialist Web Site:

Evidence of Google blacklisting of left and progressive sites continues to mount

8 August 2017— A growing number of leading left-wing websites have confirmed that their search traffic from Google has plunged in recent months, adding to evidence that Google, under the cover of a fraudulent campaign against fake news, is implementing a program of systematic and widespread censorship.

Truthout, a not-for-profit news website that focuses on political, social, and ecological developments from a left progressive standpoint, had its readership plunge by 35 percent since April. The Real News, a nonprofit video news and documentary service, has had its search traffic fall by 37 percent. Another site, Common Dreams, last week told the WSWS that its search traffic had fallen by up to 50 percent.

As extreme as these sudden drops in search traffic are, they do not equal the nearly 70 percent drop in traffic from Google seen by the WSWS.

“This is political censorship of the worst sort; it’s just an excuse to suppress political viewpoints,” said Robert Epstein, a former editor in chief of Psychology Today and noted expert on Google.

::

The massive drop in search traffic to the WSWS and other left-wing sites followed the implementation of changes in Google’s search evaluation protocols. In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the company’s vice president for engineering, stated that Google’s update of its search engine would block access to “offensive” sites, while working to surface more “authoritative content.”


This is one place where the Deep State Intelligence Agencies hold a trump card over all the American people.

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26 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@Pluto's Republic

Truthout, a not-for-profit news website that focuses on political, social, and ecological developments from a left progressive standpoint, had its readership plunge by 35 percent since April.

My answer to that is simple: I went to Truthout directly, and have been reading it ever since!

Smile

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11 users have voted.

"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

Pluto's Republic's picture

@thanatokephaloides

But for the site's authors who seek to get the message out and grow their audience — it's depressing. They are shoved into shadows by a monopoly search engine. Hard to find, impossible to discover. Eventually those voices will be silenced, or that site will cease to function as a gathering place.

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14 users have voted.
dervish's picture

@Pluto's Republic there are always counter-measures, and whatever they are, let's start using them.

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11 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Pluto's Republic

For you as a reader, you're fulfilled. But for the site's authors who seek to get the message out and grow their audience — it's depressing. They are shoved into shadows by a monopoly search engine. Hard to find, impossible to discover. Eventually those voices will be silenced, or that site will cease to function as a gathering place.

What I am saying here is this: When we discover such nefarious doings as this, we need to bypass the monopoly search engines. Make sure people see the site. Link to it. Promote it in every way possible. And keep hitting the monopoly search engines with queries which must return the site as prime results -- and complain loudly to the search engines' management if/when they don't.

Direct action and sunshine. The best disinfectants.

Wink

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2 users have voted.

"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

Pluto's Republic's picture

@thanatokephaloides

We can become living search engines and create paths for others.

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2 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic

censors. I wonder if there is a behind the scenes deal on this, as there are between the government and Microsoft, for example.

Speaking of Microsoft, Cortana keeps asking me to speak so it can help me better, when I am nowhere near it and not asking for help. So, far, I have not responded in any way. However, I don't close or turnoff my laptop when the phone rings or when I'm talking to someone. So, I'm probably ID'd voicewise anyway.

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Please donate to caucus99percent.com.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@HenryAWallace

Lately, she's started interrupting our conversations. I suspect she's listening when she's not supposed to.

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@Pluto's Republic

explosive device and see what happens.

A number of years ago, I came across online a story about Justice Brennan. I don't remember when the conversation written about took place, but Brennan retired in 1990, 27 years ago. Reportedly, Brennan said that the US had listening devices so powerful, they could be on the street and listen to conversations inside buildings. So, if Microsoft, Amazon and whomever are selling voice ID'ing info to the government......

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A local news station had segment on how Walmart is considering using facial recognition technology in stores to identify customers that appear unhappy so they can have someone rush to assist them.

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12 users have voted.

@pro left Ugh. I'm a grumpy old man. If someone rushes to assist me every time I walk into a store they're going to make me less happy, not more. Wink

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20 users have voted.
k9disc's picture

@Chaddiwicker Grumpy old man on aisle 5...
"Gladys to aisle 5, Gladys to aisle 5..."

If your business practice is a lemon make 'em buy L3monade.

@Chaddiwicker

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11 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

They'll need a sexuality detector to go with that. I'm more likely to go for Glen, than for Gladys. Wink

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13 users have voted.
k9disc's picture

@Chaddiwicker

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8 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

@pro left

Sales personnel can't do that?

Doesn't sound right.

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@HenryAWallace

Hey, big chain stores having sufficient store personnel to adequately do their jobs would involve placing customers, employees and the actual business above maximized profits! Blasphemy against Mammon, that notion is...

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0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

dervish's picture

How is that even possible?

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9 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

Lily O Lady's picture

@dervish

that number up. Still, it's mind boggling.

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8 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

dervish's picture

@Lily O Lady in developed countries, but 14 trillion?

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7 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

Mark from Queens's picture

@Lily O Lady
of modern life, especially post 9/11.

But even in the 80's there was a massive proliferation of this. Seemed most every fear-laden head of household had been sufficiently conditioned by MSM propaganda about a big, scary world out there (think about your local primetime news show. Guaranteed to have in its intro teaser montage, "Coming up tonight..." a grainy video clip of some black you with a hood on stealing something or holding up a store). The security systems companies had a windfall on their hands. My suggestion was far simpler, more efficient/less cumbersome and good for stress relief: get a good dog.

Every peon wants their home to be like Fort Knox, in imitation again of their Worship of the Rich. We've passively accepted a world completely covered in security cameras.

Airport security is ten times worse than when Carlin wrote this bit:

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10 users have voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

snoopydawg's picture

@Lily O Lady
with all the new surveillance devices that people buy and install in their homes and places of business, people are allowing their government and others spy on them and paying for them to do that.

This is what is nuts with people buying these types of devices. And it isn't only the surveillance devices, it's also devices like Amazon's Alexa or Echo (?) that can hear your conversations in real time and send them on to whoever is interested.
I wonder how many of the people that willingly buy these devices are in the category of saying that they have nothing to hide and they don't care if the government is spying on them?
They don't understand how this system can be abused.

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4 users have voted.

@dervish

14x(10^12)/7x(10^9) = 2x(10^3).

hard to believe it.

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3 users have voted.

@dervish
All of those cameras pointed at each other.

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snoopydawg's picture

@gjohnsit
the new cameras add more dimensions and more views for their reality tv shows that are popular on Mars where they tune in to see what bone headed moves the humans are doing today.

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3 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

again.

Can't say I'm sure how much better DuckDuck Go is in terms of privacy or selling data, but I'm fairly content with its searches. Farcebook is an open sewer of surveillance, mind-control and data mining, masquerading as fun, fun, fun. Furthermore, I try to use cash as much as possible, except when a credit card helps with documenting for tax filing purposes.

Where FB has succeeded most is getting users to conflate their menial lives with "news," by having set up a scrolling "wall" to report with up-to-the-minute details of farcical and mundane happenings of themselves and their friends. This then gets processed by other users, as their news for the day.

It's a great coup. It could have been a potentially revolutionary forum of people discussing how they've been fucked by a system that immunize the plutocrats and their stolen wealth. But instead its a platform for self-aggrandizement, which begets more self-interest when people swarm to "like" (a whole other psychological aspect) their banal postings. Nice, family-friendly, content-free homogenized entertainment, perfectly in stride for a consumerist-addled country and global society of neo-fuedalism. "I guess things aren't so bad; I've got all my friends here online." Wedding and pet photos are the most popular thing on FB.

Haven't used either in years.

What a dystopian world we've entered. The relative anonymity we could enjoy, which was accessible for millenniums to us if we chose it for ourselves, is gone, as documented on this thread. I really fret for my son this ultra surveilled world he will be thrust into, as the "new norm."

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13 users have voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

riverlover's picture

@Mark from Queens frustrating many users. So they surround us. What do they want now that most are in a big corral?

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5 users have voted.

Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

@riverlover

that seems to be the plan.

we will see if they have us or not.

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Mark from Queens
and I was immediately freaked out by who it said were my possible friends.
One was my Jr. High gym coach who I used to be friends with after I left school and hadn't seen her in decades until she came to my mom's funeral.

But it really freaked me out when it recommended two friends that were my neighbors in California almost 2 decades ago.
At first I couldn't understand how they had been found to be my friends, but then, all facebook's computers had to do is run a search for where my name used to live. That could have taken the computers less that a minute to do.
Now I rarely post anything on it, or like a post even if it's by my family members on it.

And it did squat for my photo sales.

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4 users have voted.

@Mark from Queens

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

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1 user has voted.
yellopig's picture

Google thinks I live in Dallas, while Facebook is sure that I live in LA. This seems to be caused by the automatic (Internet) address resolution algorithms, interpreted via rural Internet services. I almost never get ads for local businesses online, but darn it! I'm not driving 400 miles to some Buick dealership! Biggrin

I've given up trying to correct their errors.

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2 users have voted.

My new plan: "We may not be able to change the system, but we can make the system irrelevant in our lives and in the lives of those around us."

@yellopig

Good! The more confused they are about your personal information, the better!

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1 user has voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.