The Cyberfascism Bulleting #3: Spring Cleaning Edition

BIG BIZ

  • Uh, oh. The punditry is starting to wise up. Here’s 4 Reasons Why Big Tech is Hazardous to Our Lives.
  • Google AI Ethics Council is Falling Apart. Part artistic ethical differences, part Googloid mau-mauing. Only the truly clueless would use “Google” and “ethics” in the same sentence.
  • Time for a ‘Third-Party Audit’ of De-Platforming Policies. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo) doesn’t think folks like Twitter are holding up their end of the bargain

    Social media platforms have been given a “sweetheart deal,” according to Hawley, which includes “immunity from liability for illegal content posted by third parties.”
    They were given special consideration, he said, because they promised to provide “a forum for a true diversity of political discourse.”

  • Pop antiquarian James Lileks tries to pull a fast one and cadge an extra discount on a Coke 12-pack, and runs afowl of real-time big data.

    Went to Lunds. They had a sale: $1.99 on Coke 12-packs. Well! I bought one, the new Orange-Vanilla Dreamsicle flavor. LIMIT ONE PER DAY said a handwritten sign, because obviously people had been loading up. Drove south, decided I would check the other Lunds for the large paper bags. They had them! I also picked up another 12-pack, and I was thinking: this goes against the rules. I wonder if I can get away with this.

    On the way out I noticed that the receipt did not give me the sale price; I went back. A manager asked: did you buy one earlier today?

    “I did!” I said. “I’m sorry! I wasn’t trying to get away with anything. Well I guess I was.”

    “The computer knows everything,” she said.

    Doofus. If you’re going to sail close to the wind, pay cash. It leaves no footprints.

  • Google is thrashing.

    For a while there has been a subset of people concerned about Google’s privacy and antitrust issues, but now Google is eroding trust that its existing customers have in the company. That’s a huge problem. Google has significantly harmed its brand over the last few months, and I’m not even sure the company realizes it.

BIG MED

CYBER CREEPS

Surveillance technology enables bad behavior from individuals as well as large institutions. Looking for a new way to be a creep? a pervert? an asshole? There’s an app, or gadget for that.

ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA

  • UNIX guru Linus Torvalds: “I absolutely detest modern “social media”

    The whole “liking” and “sharing” model is just garbage. There is no effort and no quality control. In fact, it’s all geared to the reverse of quality control, with lowest common denominator targets, and click-bait, and things designed to generate an emotional response, often one of moral outrage.

  • Writing in USA Today, Glenn Reynolds says “It’s too easy to form a mob today.” Quoting John Hayward

    Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, mob action no longer requires any significant investment of time or physical energy. In essence, mobs have been subsidized, so we’re getting more of them.

GOING DARK

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Zones of Order and Chaos. Richard Fernandez lays out a model for the New World (Dis)Order.

    What if live-streaming required a government permit, and videos could only be broadcast online after a seven-second delay? What if Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were treated like
    traditional publishers, expected to vet every post, comment and image before they reached the public? Or like Boeing or Toyota, held responsible for the safety of their products and
    the harm they cause?

    Imagine what the Internet would look like if tech executives could be jailed for failing to censor hate and violence.

    Bledsoe The Conspirators
    https://remodernreview.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/paintings-the-conspirators/
  • My continuing review of Shoshanna Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance CapitalismZuboff’s focus is the explosive growth of the invasive exploitation of metadata by large corporations like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. She is much less concerned with the advent of surveillance states, who she treats mainly as enablers of Big Data. I think Big Biz and Big State are in competition (cahoots?) and both exploit both our metadata and the CyberMob to advance their agendas. The value of Zuboff’s analysis is that she builds frameworks that describe and predict the behavior of both Big State and Big Biz. For example, in collecting metadata, the Biggies follow the simple dictum “more is better.” Zuboff calls this the extraction imperative. How do they get “more?” Through economies of scope: “…behavioral surplus must be vast, but it also must be varied.”
    • Expand the scope of data collection. Google Maps and Streetview anyone? How about that FitBit?
    • Expand the depth of data collection. Amazon tracks your purchases. In the future, the store freezer case doors will track your gaze with facial recognition displays.

ZuboffBook

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You’re not just web surfing, you’re participating in an A/B test

Pretty much every time you log on to Facebook or use Google, you’re participating, as a subject, in an A/B test.  Unknowingly.  Without informed consent.  This is how privacy and human rights are eroded, one click at a time.  Worse yet, the folks who do this brag about it!  Don’t believe me?  Type “A/B testing internet” into your favorite search engine (I avoid Google) and see what you get.

A-Btesting

There’s a friggin’ geek army of snoops out there.

Even your doorbell is spying on you

In it’s unbridled quest for behavioral data, Google put microphones in its subsidiary Nest’s home security systems.   Ostensibly for future upgrades.  Without telling their customers.  Who does PR for these guys?  Jussie Smollett?

Bonus:  apparently Google was pushing privacy limits with Street View as well, sucking up local WiFi addresses.

Tip from Stephen Green at the Instapundit.

Need a 3-Way?

One of my techno-nerdy students got me hip to the Logitech Anywhere2 wireless mouse.  It can be linked with a dedicated USB device AND paired with Bluetooth-capable devices.

MXAnywhere2
It’s button #7 – switch devices!

So now my old Windows desktop computer, my Surface laptop, AND my old Surface tablet can be clicked with a single mouse.

mx-anywhere-2s-3-computers
Just like my desk, only less cluttered

How cool (and handy) is that?

KWIC, make me some hash!

IEEE Spectrum has a fascinating bio sketch of Hans Peter Luhn, inventor of the hashing and KWIC indexing algorithms.

HansPeterLuhn

This is Luhn’s legacy: He helped show that computers and computation weren’t just the province of mathematics, statistics, and logic but also of language, linguistics, and literature. In his day, this was a revolutionary way to think about machines.

Tip from the Geek Press.