One should imagine statements like a bottle of ink spilling its contents into a lake. It flows everywhere. Now how do you put the ink back into the bottle? Or at least regulated so that it only flows to certain places in the lake? This lyrical metaphor was coined by a group of Meta Corporation privacy officers (Facebook et al.) and the ink, in this metaphor, is the myriad of user data the company collects every day from users of its apps and platforms. The lake is the world.
The assessment of the situation was leaked to the public at the end of April. It becomes more specific later in the document. It does not have a sufficient level of control and accountability over how its systems use data, and therefore cannot make “controlled policy changes or external commitments such as ‘We will not use data set X for purpose Y'”.
The data will be used to find out who performs the abortion
Given that it is an admission of complete failure, the response was surprisingly low. Of course, this is often the case when privacy disasters become known. Although people realize that they are dealing with a problem with more than just a theory, this knowledge only leads to concrete action in the rarest of cases. A little cognitive dissonance is manageable when you’re about to put together a shabby chic shelf and the spirit level app requires full access to your phone. You can’t take care of everything, can you?
An example from last week shows how quickly things can become tangible. As the US Supreme Court appears to be working to overturn a landmark decision on abortion rights, it has emerged that smartphone user data is being profitably used to identify women seeking abortions. Like Tech . magazine Motherboard Reports, until recently, information on his whereabouts could have been purchased from the data broker Safegraph, which provides insight into groups of people who attended abortion clinics. From the data sets offered for a few hundred US dollars, it can be inferred “Where the groups of visitors came from, how long they stayed there, and where they went next.”
On Twitter, women reported being scared
GPS data is by no means the only means. Cases have already been reported in the recent past in which pregnancies were incorrectly identified by internet searches alone – and ads were shown to affected users of baby clothes even before the pregnancy was announced. However, if advertisers can predict who she was pregnant, it can also be said that they can also predict who is no longer pregnant or who should be pregnant, and provide that information to those who are willing to pay for that information.
The ad delivery technology commonly used on the Internet is a very effective tool for collecting and combining location data, search terms and past behavior in order to find people based on their supposed needs and distress. It is only a matter of time and motivation before this mechanism is used to pressure people in ways other than encouraging them to consume.
On Twitter, the women stated that they were afraid. Solidarity addresses alternate with messages to delete the corresponding applications to track the cycle as quickly as possible. But going back to the geometric prose, the ink had already leaked into the lake. If previously permitted actions are suddenly declared illegal and there is an additional incentive to retroactively prosecute persons classified as criminals, all data – past, current and future – is marketed and evaluated. After all, in the digital context, almost all of our daily social actions are infested with parasitic advertising technology. It is the foundation of an industry in which the lives and bodies of users are nothing more than raw material for their value chains.