Let us be grateful for small mercies. Thank you Twitter for banning political advertising. Given that such advertising is by its nature biased, tendentious and hard to check, Twitter is behaving as a good publisher should. Politicians may make full use of its outlet. That is democracy. But as the organisation’s chief, Jack Dorsey, points out, with social media awash in “micro-targeting, deepfakes, manipulated videos and misinformation”, those who control it should keep it as clean as possible. Money may not buy truth, but it should not drown fairness.
Organisations that deploy Facebook’s ubiquitous “Like” button on their websites risk falling foul of the General Data Protection Regulation following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice.
The EU’s highest court has decided that website owners can be held liable for data collection when using the so-called “social sharing” widgets.
Palantir is one of the most significant and secretive companies in big data analysis. The company acts as an information management service for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, corporations like JP Morgan and Airbus, and dozens of other local, state, and federal agencies. It’s been described by scholars as a “secondary surveillance network,” since it extensively catalogs and maps interpersonal relationships between individuals, even those who aren’t suspected of a crime.
Palantir software is instrumental to the operations of ICE, which is planning one of the largest-ever targeted immigration enforcement raids this weekend on thousands of undocumented families.
Steve Wozniak said that “most people” should find a way to get off Facebook. Speaking to TMZ at Reagan National Airport in D.C. he raised a number of privacy concerns.
Dystopian fiction – from Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange to Russell T Davies’s spectacular recent BBC1 series Years and Years – is usually intended to take elements of the present and then imagine a future in which they have become inescapable, so as to warn us of what might already be in our midst.
But the 21st century is challenging this technique in one bracing sense: the way the world now seems to race beyond the wildest aspects of our collective imagination before we have even started to think about what might come next. Consider last week’s news about Facebook, and the fact that three years of corporate disgrace – and rising noise from legislators about bringing the tech giant to heel – have yet to slow its terrifying quest to insinuate its workings into every area of our lives. Now, in a move that could have been taken from a futuristic novel, it wants to create nothing less than a new global currency.
WHEN HACKERS BREACHED companies like Dropbox and LinkedIn in recent years—stealing 71 and 117 million passwords, respectively—they at least had the decency to exploit those stolen credentials in secret, or sell them for thousands of dollars on the dark web. Now, it seems, someone has cobbled together those breached databases and many more into a gargantuan, unprecedented collection of 2.2 billion unique usernames and associated passwords, and is freely distributing them on hacker forums and torrents, throwing out the private data of a significant fraction of humanity like last year’s phone book.