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‘Amazon, Microsoft, and Uber are paying big money to kill a California privacy initiative’

“The campaign to pass the California Consumer Privacy Act is almost wholly funded by Bay Area real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart… He started working on the initiative about four years ago, after hearing a Google engineer say the public would be frightened to learn how much data the company holds on consumers.”

Also on our radar:

‘Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse’

“Smart home technology can be easily harnessed for misuse for several reasons… Usually, one person in a relationship takes charge of putting in the technology, knows how it works and has all the passwords. This gives that person the power to turn the technology against the other person.”

Also on our radar:

‘Apple strikes blow to Facebook as it clamps down on data harvesting’

“Onavo ostensibly provides users with a free virtual private network (VPN) which, it claims, helps “keep you and your data safe when you browse and share information on the web”. What is not immediately obvious is that it feeds information to Facebook about what other apps you are using and how much you are using them back to the social networking giant.”

Also on our radar:

‘GDPR attacks: First Google, Facebook, now activists go after Apple, Amazon, LinkedIn’

“in some cases they don't let people use their services at all unless they consent to having their data exploited in ways that are not strictly necessary for delivering the core service. This all-or-nothing approach undermines the concept of consent, according to the new law.”

Comment on our radar:

An easy-to-read guide to how data companies get our data, from Privacy International:

“Data companies – a catch all term for data brokers, advertisers, marketers, web trackers, and more – facilitate a hidden data ecosystem that collects, generates and supplies data to wide variety of beneficiaries.”

Also on our radar:

‘Privacy is power’

“Privacy was once misconstrued as being about hiding and secrecy. Now it’s understood to be something much more pressing: power dynamics between the individual, the state and the market.”

Also on our radar:

‘Facebook, Google face first GDPR complaints over ‘forced consent’’

“Schrems argues that the companies are using a strategy of “forced consent” to continue processing the individuals’ personal data — when in fact the law requires that users be given a free choice unless a consent is strictly necessary for provision of the service.”

Also on our radar:

‘Most GDPR emails unnecessary and some illegal, say experts’

Something timely for the Radar…

“if the business had consent to communicate with you before GDPR, that consent probably carries over, and even if it doesn’t carry over, there are five other reasons a company can cite for continuing to process data.”

Also on our radar:

‘When the business model *is* the privacy violation’

“In other situations, the intended use is the privacy violation. The most prominent example is the tracking of our online and offline habits for targeted advertising. This business model is exactly what people object to, for a litany of reasons: targeting is creepy, manipulative, discriminatory, and reinforces harmful stereotypes.”

Also on our radar:

‘GDPR will pop the adtech bubble’

“tracking people without their knowledge, approval or a court order is just flat-out wrong. The fact that it can be done is no excuse. Nor is the monstrous sum of money made by it.”

Also on our radar:

‘A Smart Doorbell Company Is Working With Cops to Report ‘Suspicious’ People and Activities’

“ill-conceived neighborhood-watch platforms can also be breeding grounds for racial profiling, giving people safe (and poorly moderated) spaces to discriminate”

(You’re installing a device that gives access to your family’s comings-and-goings to the corporation and any third parties with whom they choose to share that information.)

Also on our radar:

‘Cambridge Analytica Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg’

“We have the opportunity to help explain the situation as more of an environmental problem—privacy is about me… but surveillance is about other people, especially more vulnerable people, and the ways in which they can be exploited or manipulated through the use of vast collections of data and algorithmic governance.”—Siva Vaidhyanathan

‘The many deceptions of Mark Zuckerberg’

“With 2 billion users and counting, Facebook is unavoidable, and it’s growing more influential by the day. It’s vital that we understand what Zuck is actually up to, especially since he didn’t reveal it in his testimony. A number of media sources have helpfully corrected his inaccurate claims.”

Also on our radar:

‘Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach’

(From the video:) “we’d only need to touch a couple hundred thousand people to expand into their entire social network, which would scale to most of America”

For more links on the subject, and more context, see our radar at

‘Facebook Quietly Hid Webpages Bragging of Ability to Influence Elections’

“In the wake of a public reckoning with Facebook’s unparalleled ability to distribute information and global anxiety over election meddling, bragging about the company’s ability to run highly effective influence campaigns probably doesn’t look so great.”

Also on our radar:

‘Stephen Hawking’s final words to the internet: robots aren’t the problem, capitalism is’

“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.”

Also on our radar:

‘The tyranny of algorithms is part of our lives: soon they could rate everything we do’

“[Personal data and its endless uses] boils down to the relationship between the individual and power, whether exercised by government or private organisations.”

Also on our radar:

‘Be Wary of Silicon Valley’s Guilty Conscience: on The Center for Humane Technology’

“The CHT senses that there is anger in the air towards the big tech companies, and it pulls a clever bait and switch by acknowledging that there is a problem but then insisting that the people who caused the problem can be trusted to fix it.”


Also on our radar:

‘Google Is Quietly Providing AI Technology for Drone Strike Targeting Project’

“Google, which has made strides in applying its proprietary deep learning tools to improve language translation, and vision recognition, has a cross-team collaboration within the company to work on the AI drone project.”

Comment on our radar:

‘Good for Facebook, maybe, but not for the rest of us’

“Extending blanket protection to enterprises that act like Gilded Age plutocrats cannot help but stifle the innovators and startups of the future. All in all, that would be bad for people’s well-being, and for society.”

Also on our radar: