‘Surveillance capitalism’ was the term coined in 2015 by Harvard academic Shoshanna Zuboff to describe this large-scale surveillance and modification of human behaviour for profit. It involves predictive analysis of big datasets describing the lives and behaviours of tens or hundreds of millions of people, allowing correlations and patterns to be identified, information about individuals inferred, and future behaviour to be predicted. Attempts are then made to influence this behaviour through personalised and dynamic targeted advertising. This is refined by testing numerous variations of adverts on different demographics to see what works best. Every time you use the internet you are likely the unwitting subject of dozens of experiments trying to figure out how to most effectively extract money from you.
openDemocracy: The problem isn’t just Cambridge Analytica or Facebook – it’s “surveillance capitalism”, March 20, 2018
We’ve also become aware of ‘dark profiles’: people who don’t have Facebook accounts, but, because of their presence in others’ contact lists (and in this newly revealed communications metadata) fully describe their own social networks of connections, simply because everyone else is on Facebook and connected to them, outlining a missing individual in a very distinct shadow.
Even non-compliance does not leave you outside Facebook.
Meanjin: The Last Days of Facebook?, March 26, 2018
After the revelation about how Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to target specific voters in the 2016 Presidential election and the Brexit campaign in the UK (here's an explanation of how that worked), Facebook has once again come under scrutiny for the amount of data it collects and sells (and to add to the horror, here's everything that google collects about its users).
To put any argument about not needing data privacy if you're not doing anything wrong, here's a story that might put that thought into perspective - China's ability to combine advanced technology and surveillance in a polity that doesn't need to justify breaching the privacy of its citizens.
The powerful silence at the March for Our Lives.
After the first death of a pedestrian hit by an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode, more questions about the future of the technology and the regulatory environment it operates in, but Waymo, a ride-hailing service, is investing heavily in a fleet of Jaguar-built autonomous vehicles that will be ready to operate by 2020.
A beautiful and very personal essay about moving to Korea as a Korean-American.
A new biography about Indigenous rights campaigner Mary Montgomerie Bennett.
For the release of his short story collection The Merry Spinster, here are three interviews with Daniel Mallory Ortberg (about breakfast, putting out a book while transitioning, and with Nicole Chung).
Neil Gaiman and N.K. Jemisin discuss writing and representation for Lithub.
An insight into the archives of Octavia Butler.