The Internet’s Power As Ubiquitous Surveillance

The Internet’s Power As Ubiquitous SurveillanceWhether we know it or know, whether we like it or not, and whether we admit it or not, we have now arrived at a time when the Internet is so ubiquitous that it has achieved the status of being a Silent Stalker — a perfectly detailed surveillance tool.

‘Ubiquitous surveillance’

Google and Facebook now tracks us. Apple tracks our iGadgets. And now, even what we do offline is linked with the known online data about us. Everything we do now involves the use of computers. All our information are being saved, stored, analyzed and correlated with our spending habits, lifestyle, personalities, and health.

Yes, we are now being subjected to ubiquitous surveillance. All of us are being monitored by the watchful eye of the Internet. We can take a few measures to prevent or just limit this, we can cover up our tracks by deleting cookies, or we can use bogus names on social networks and emails. But being followed is simply not something we can opt out of. We have no choice regarding this matter.

‘Freedom and privacy’

Online, privacy is scarce. One wrong click and your data is stored forever in the most hidden corners of the Web. And today, the government and business companies are working together to maintain the scarcity of online privacy because both of them benefit from it.

So, we are doomed. No more private conversations — email, text, private messages on social networking sites — forget it; it’s not private anymore. This is a world where everything you do on your computer or cellphone is being saved, used, stored, and passed around with out your consent. This is a world where all of us are held under ubiquitous surveillance without our knowledge. And to begin with, we were awestruck with this treasure trove of knowledge that we once worshiped.  Truly, we are paying a big price for the advancement of technology — a price that involves our freedom and privacy.

Anybody else here misses old-school snail mail and post-it messages?


Image: Psy Blog

Facebook Uses Your Data Regardless of Your Preference

The European Commission is cracking down on the way Facebook gathers information about European users. A new EC Directive will ban targeted advertising unless users specifically say they want it. European Commission Vice President Viviane Redding called for streamlining of the continent’s laws regarding how service providers protect personal data.

All the data Facebook harvests is stored at data centers in the U.S. Facebook has information about a user’s friends, family, educational background, “likes,” everything that gets posted to Facebook Walls, and data about what its users are reading and listening to. Messages and “chats” are stored, too, even if the user deletes them.

Facebook denies tracking peoples’ behavior to serve advertising. It also denies selling users’ personal information to third parties. Facebook claims that advertisers only see “anonymous and aggregate information,” using that to serve up targeted ads. It said that it does not target individual users, saying the Telegraph story is “sensational and misrepresents both how Facebook’s advertising model works and the current advertising privacy debate across Europe.”

Yet with an IPO in the works, there’s no denying that advertising on the site has increased. Earlier this year, sponsored stories started showing up in the right rail. Facebook recently added sponsored stories to the news ticker (a.k.a. stalker feed). Last month, the Federal Trade Commission expressed concern about Facebook privacy. In early November, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was nearing a settlement with the FTC on charges that they had acted in a deceptive manner regarding the site’s privacy settings.


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