Surveillance Capitalism
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Work in Progress - Updated September 9, 2019

Abstract

Surveillance Capitalism - You Are Being Tracked. Many Internet services are tracking you and sell your information on the Surveillance Capitalism Supply Chain.

Wild West

Once upon a time, wire tapping your telephone required a court order. Surveillance Capitalism is the wild west where law and order are very rare.

The corner stone of some hugh empires like Amazon, Facebook and Google business plans seem to be built on Surveillance Capitalism. Every transaction you have with them, may be exploited, packaged, and sold on the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain.


Surveillance Capitalism Supply Chain

What is Surveillance Capitalism?

Surveillance Capitalism - "A new economic order that claims human experience as free raw material for hidden commercial practices of extraction, prediction, and sales.
Google invented and perfected surveillance capitalism in much the same way that a century ago General Motors invented and perfected managerial capitalism. Google was the pioneer of surveillance capitalism in thought and practice, the deep pocket for research and development, and the trailblazer in experimentation and implementation, but it is no longer the only actor on this path. Surveillance capitalism quickly spread to Facebook and later to Microsoft. Evidence suggests that Amazon has veered in this direction, and it is a constant challenge to Apple, both as an external threat and as a source of internal debate and conflict.
— Shoshana Zuboff
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

To learn more about the sobering breath and depth of Surveillance Capitalism in the information age, read The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Copyright ©2019 by Shoshana Zuboff, Professor at Harvard Business School.

Tracking

Those who are tracking you are packaging where you have been on the Internet and maybe personal information they have gathered about you. They may be selling your information on the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain with or maybe without your permission, and without knowing what buyers may do with your information.

News Flash - September 5, 2019

Google’s "DoubleClick/Authorized Buyers" ad system is active on 8.4+ million websites. It broadcasts personal data about visitors to these sites to 2,000+ companies, hundreds of billions of times a day.

So much for "Don’t be evil".

Surveillance Capitalism supply chain buyers may buy more information about you from multiple sellers . They bundle information about you and sell it to other Surveillance Capitalism supply chain buyers. Advertising agencies are buyers of your information and target you with ads.

Some other Surveillance Capitalism supply chain buyers and sellers who are interested in you are, insurance, retail, finance, goods and service companies, and many more.

When any of the numerous buyers and sellers in the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain are breached, the stolen information about you may be sold to bad actors on the world wide black market.


My Defense Against the Dark Arts

Here is what I’m doing to help not being a Surveillance Capitalism supply chain commodity:

  • Internet Connection

  • Domain Name Service

  • Email Service

  • Ad blocker

  • Virtual Assistant

  • Social Media

  • Email Service


Internet Connection

The first step in my defense against the dark arts is to rely on a cable company only for an Internet connection.

I do not rent a network cable modem. I have my own that is approved by the cable company.

I do not rent a Wi-Fi router from the cable company. I have my own. I’m not supporting a cable company shared Wi-Fi access point for their customers.

The cable company does not have access to my cable modem or Wi-Fi router. I am confident information contained in these devices is not being packaged and sold on the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain.

I am only dependent on the cable company for my Internet connection.


Domain Name Service

The next step in my defense strategy is not to use the cable company Domain Name Service (DNS) resolver that translates an Internet site name such as techtalkjohn.com into an Internet Protocol 104.27.135.182 address, so that a hugh cast of Internet network hardware can send requests to the web site.

Because of the ease of accessing all of your personal browsing information from their DNS services, some Internet service providers mine it, track the web sites you visit, and maybe use personal information they have gathered about you, to target you for ads. They may also sell your information on the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain, with or maybe without your permission, and not knowing what buyers do with it.

Cloudflare

Check out Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 and find out about the free, fastest, and safest Domain Name Service (DNS) resolver.

They believe privacy is a right. Cloudflare does not want to know what you do on the Internet. They do not sell you on the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain


Email Service

I have a Swiss Email Account. ProtonMail is incorporated in Switzerland and all servers are located there. All data is protected by strict Swiss privacy laws.

Emails are secured automatically with end-to-end encryption. Even ProtonMail cannot decrypt and read my emails or share with third parties.

No personal information is required to create your secure email account. ProtonMail does not keep any logs that can be linked to my anonymous email account. Privacy comes first.

Think of ProtonMail as the antithesis of Gmail.

Ad Blocker

Ad nauseam is sickening and disgusting to me. My ad blocker keeps track of the number of ads, tackers, and threats that are blocked.

I’m flabbergasted by how many ads some web sites pummel me with, and how many sneaky trackers they try to infect me with.

Tracking is the meat and potatoes for many web sites. The more tracking data they get, the more they can sell on the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain.


Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are powered by AI technology and responds to user requests and voice commands.

Most contemporary virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri seem to be in training using artificial intelligence learning methods, along with natural language processing and speech recognition. Quite impressive, but at a cost.

It was recently revealed that the major virtual assistant companies have been employing contractors world wide to listen and record conversations, and give feedback to companies to help virtual assistants with their training.

Google is involved in a federal lawsuit alleging that it violated children privacy laws and collected data using cookies, persistent identifiers which allowed YouTube and Google to target ads without parents consent.

News Flash - September 4, 2019

Google and subsidiary YouTube has been hit with a record $170 million fine by the Federal Trade Commission, to settle allegations the search company violated a law protecting children’s privacy.

My guess is paying $170M may be just a fraction of a days profits.

I like the ideas that companies be fined 15% or more of yearly profits for privacy violations and breaches that steal personal data.

I do like the concept of virtual assistants. I do not own one. I do not like the idea of being recorded and possibly being turned into Surveillance Capitalism supply chain fodder.


Social Media

Facebook is probably the best poster child the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain could have.

Facebook’s negative press seems to worsen daily. I think they are following the Ferengi Rules Of Acquisition 242. 'More is good, all is better.' No matter the cost.

Facebook and Google are the Surveillance Capitalism biggies. I would guess the hugh volume of information they collect about their users, and sell on the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain, may be a hefty chunk of the supply chain traffic.

I don’t know any social media service that doesn’t sell you on the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain. There may be some that do not, but where is the profit in that?

I tried social media for a while, got bored with it, and disconnected before I knew about being sold on the Surveillance Capitalism supply chain.


Corporate State

The opinionated topics I’ve highlighted in this post are barley touching the vastness of Surveillance Capitalism, which is only one of the latest enterprises of the Corporate State.

Charles Reich wrote in his The Greening of America book that the words from the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln ".. government of the people, by the people, and for the people.." have been perverted to ".. government of the Corporate State, by the Corporate State, and for the Corporate State, at the expense of the people.."

Warning About The Corporate State

Dwight D. Eisenhower as the 34th President of the United States, delivered his farewell address to the nation in a television broadcast on January 17, 1961. Perhaps best known for advocating that the nation guard against the potential influence of the military–industrial complex…​

Examples

Amazon Ring Doorbells

News Flash September 5, 2019

Amazon’s Ring line of video doorbells and home surveillance equipment is particularly popular with one key group: police. More than 400 law enforcement agencies around the country have partnered with Ring to use its apps and help market its security cameras to residents in the name of safer neighborhoods. As a dozen recent media reports have shown, however, the details about these partnerships and the privacy concerns they raise tend to be shrouded in secrecy and hard to learn.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is now among those who would like Amazon to explain what, exactly, Ring is up to. "The nature of Ring’s products and its partnerships with police departments raise serious privacy and civil liberties concerns," Markey said in a letter (PDF) addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

"Although Amazon markets Ring as America’s ‘new neighborhood watch,’ the technology captures and stores video from millions of households and sweeps up footage of countless bystanders who may be unaware that they are being filmed," Markey said in a statement. "I am particularly alarmed to learn that Ring is pursuing facial-recognition technology with the potential to flag certain individuals as suspicious based on their biometric information."

But multiple reports have found evidence that Ring shared maps featuring active cameras with police in 2018, basically as a sales tactic to convince a police department to sign up for the partnership program by demonstrating how many cameras were already operating in its jurisdiction. Reports also found evidence that Ring collected data about purchasers which it then shared with police in order to cross-reference eligibility for subsidy programs or camera giveaways that police conduct, in partnership with Ring.

Insurance Companies

News Flash August 15, 2019

A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that Erie, State Farm, Farmers, and other giant home and auto insurers around the country have co-opted law enforcement to intimidate and prosecute their own customers tactics that can help companies boost their profits and avoid paying claims.

Insurance companies provide financial incentives to scores of police departments, prosecutors, and other public agencies to encourage them to focus on insurance fraud, a crime that has traditionally not been a priority for local law enforcement. In some cases, insurance giants even cover the salaries of dedicated prosecutors, detectives, and investigators whose caseloads consist primarily of referrals from those same companies.

The result is that dozens of premium-paying customers across the United States have faced jail for doing nothing more than filing insurance claims for damages to their property.

These are just a couple examples of Corporate State media reports.

Stranglehold

I think the Corporate State stranglehold has grown so tight that it will continue until it strangles itself.

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