Starting today, your face, name, and personal information could appear in Google ads.
Read more about the new terms here. But most importantly: opt out here.
Is it just me, or does anyone feel like Google and Facebook are in an arms race to create the most inauthentic climates on the Internet?
To ensure that your recommendations reach the people you care about, Google sometimes displays your reviews, recommendations and other relevant activity throughout its products and services. This sometimes includes shopping contexts, like the Google Play music store, and ads. Your profile name and photo may appear with the recommendation.
The first part of that first sentence (bolded by me) should read “to ensure that we earn ad revenue from you advertising to the people you care about”. Who in their right mind actually wants to work for Google for free without even recognition or prestige? Well, I guess maybe you could theoretically get some unique traffic to your profile and gain exposure that way, if that’s what you want. But that would almost by definition require Google using your stuff outside your network, anyway.
UPDATE: Reminds me, haha. The co-founder of Youtube left his first comment on there after 8 years of dormancy. Here it is, reflecting the stupid stuff that Google is up to these days:
Right now, as soon as someone is encrypting, he gets flagged…We need to show that this [ubiquitous] surveillance practice is an unsustainable use of government resources…Banning cryptography is not an option, and we will never get the government to stop monitoring. But we can make it really expensive. If everyone is encrypting, then the government has to take more care with who it investigates.
Does this sort of “deny and disrupt” campaign sound familiar? It should: you’ve seen it before, deployed against terror networks. That’s because part of the value in targeting the electronic communications of actual terrorists is that the terrorists are forced to use far slower means of plotting. The NSA has learned this lesson well, and is now applying it to journalists. I suppose it’s fitting that Miranda was held pursuant to a law that is ostensibly limited to anti-terror efforts. The National Surveillance State understands that what works for one can be usefully directed against the other. In fact, it’s not clear the National Surveillance State even recognizes a meaningful difference.
The National Surveillance State doesn’t want anyone to be able to communicate without the authorities being able to monitor that communication. Think that’s too strong a statement? If so, you’re not paying attention. There’s a reason the government names its programs Total Information Awareness and Boundless Informant and acknowledges it wants to “collect it all” and build its own “haystack” and has redefined the word “relevant” to mean “everything.” The desire to spy on everything totally and boundlessly isn’t even new; what’s changed is just that it’s become more feasible of late. You can argue that the NSA’s nomenclature isn’t (at least not yet) properly descriptive; you can’t argue that it isn’t at least aspirational.
My Fellow Users,
I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on—the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.
What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.
This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.
Ladar Levison, Owner and Operator of Lavabit LLC, an encrypted email service used by Edward Snowden and, according to him, about 400,000 others.
The arguments for unlimited record keeping were remarkably thin. A White House spokesman said the amendment [to de-fund the NSA’s phone record collection program] was not “the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process” — a laughable assertion considering how uninformed the administration wants the public to be about the loss of privacy. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, said supporters seemed to have forgotten Sept. 11.
But the closeness of the vote [—205 to 217, narrowly defeating the amendment—] suggested that a growing number of lawmakers no longer respond reflexively to the waving of the 9/11 flag, or the patronizing insistence of government officials that they should be trusted implicitly. That reflects an increasing skepticism in the public, as reflected in several opinion polls, as people become aware that the N.S.A. isn’t following the common-sense practice of spying only on those suspected of terrorism.
Yahoo wins NSA court document case
The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) ruled that papers and documents from a 2008 court case between Yahoo and the FISA court will be declassified and made public.
The 2008 case centers on the “the details of a controversial ruling that forced the Internet company to hand over private data.” The Monday ruling is a result of a request that Yahoo filed with the court on June 14 to show that it “vehemently … rejected” initial requests and attempts by the NSA to datamine customer information.
There are a lot of speculations revolving around this ruling. Yahoo officials believe that the documents could possibly outline specific actions taken by the government to build its justification for implementing PRISM, the mass surveillance and data collection spy program orchestrated by the National Security Agency. Yahoo released a statement concerning the Monday ruling saying that the documents will “contribute constructively to the ongoing public discussion around online privacy.”
If you prefer not to have your privacy Screwgled or Microshafted when you’re searching, try the DuckDuckGo search engine.
In an interview to be published in this week’s issue of SPIEGEL, American intelligence agency whistleblower Edward Snowden criticizes the methods and power of the National Security Agency. Snowden said the NSA people are “in bed together with the Germans.” He added that the NSA’s “Foreign Affairs Directorate” is responsible for partnerships with other countries. The partnerships are organized in a way that authorities in other countries can “insulate their political leaders from the backlash” in the event it becomes public “how grievously they’re violating global privacy.” Telecommunications companies partner with the NSA and people are “normally selected for targeting” based on their “Facebook or webmail content.”
Germany oh Germany.
What’s becoming clear is that the mass surveillance of the NSA/US is this, from Glenn Greenwald:
But contrary to what some want to suggest, the privacy rights of Americans aren’t the only ones that matter. That the US government - in complete secrecy - is constructing a ubiquitous spying apparatus aimed not only at its own citizens, but all of the world’s citizens, has profound consequences. It erodes, if not eliminates, the ability to use the internet with any remnant of privacy or personal security. It vests the US government with boundless power over those to whom it has no accountability. It permits allies of the US - including aggressively oppressive ones - to benefit from indiscriminate spying on their citizens’ communications. It radically alters the balance of power between the US and ordinary citizens of the world. And it sends an unmistakable signal to the world that while the US very minimally values the privacy rights of Americans, it assigns zero value to the privacy of everyone else on the planet.
In that article, Greenwald mentions the “NSA’s mass and indiscriminate spying on Brazilians” and an article detailing all that that he helped write for Brazil’s O Globo newspaper based in Rio de Janeiro. Expect more revelations of NSA spying around the globe with the consent or aid of people’s governments (andor commercial entities).
We may never know all the details of the mass surveillance programs, but we know this: The administration has justified them through abuse of language, intentional evasion of statutory protections, secret, unreviewable investigative procedures and constitutional arguments that make a mockery of the government’s professed concern with protecting Americans’ privacy. It’s time to call the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal.
In 1975, Senator Frank Church spoke of the National Security Agency in these terms:
"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."
The dangerous prospect of which he warned was that America’s intelligence gathering capability – which is today beyond any comparison with what existed in his pre-digital era – “at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left.”
That has now happened. That is what Snowden has exposed, with official, secret documents. The NSA, FBI and CIA have, with the new digital technology, surveillance powers over our own citizens that the Stasi – the secret police in the former “democratic republic” of East Germany – could scarcely have dreamed of. Snowden reveals that the so-called intelligence community has become the United Stasi of America.
So we have fallen into Senator Church’s abyss. The questions now are whether he was right or wrong that there is no return from it, and whether that means that effective democracy will become impossible. A week ago, I would have found it hard to argue with pessimistic answers to those conclusions.
But with Edward Snowden having put his life on the line to get this information out, quite possibly inspiring others with similar knowledge, conscience and patriotism to show comparable civil courage – in the public, in Congress, in the executive branch itself – I see the unexpected possibility of a way up and out of the abyss.
Commentators often attempt to refute the nothing-to-hide argument by pointing to things people want to hide… As the computer-security specialist Schneier aptly notes, the nothing-to-hide argument stems from a faulty “premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong.” Surveillance, for example, can inhibit such lawful activities as free speech, free association, and other First Amendment rights essential for democracy.
The deeper problem with the nothing-to-hide argument is that it myopically views privacy as a form of secrecy. In contrast, understanding privacy as a plurality of related issues demonstrates that the disclosure of bad things is just one among many difficulties caused by government security measures. To return to my discussion of literary metaphors, the problems are not just Orwellian but Kafkaesque. Government information-gathering programs are problematic even if no information that people want to hide is uncovered. In The Trial, the problem is not inhibited behavior but rather a suffocating powerlessness and vulnerability created by the court system’s use of personal data and its denial to the protagonist of any knowledge of or participation in the process. The harms are bureaucratic ones—indifference, error, abuse, frustration, and lack of transparency and accountability.
Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’ (via ayjay)
A good article. I have this impression that too many people perpetually underestimate (or are unaware of) the fundamental reality of gradual, imperceptible change over time. No matter how well-intentioned ubiquitous data gathering and analysis of private information is now, a precedent is set and a momentum is imparted that can forcefully direct our fate into a murky, undesirable, and unavoidable future, based on the current problems and relationships with information, people, and government.
WashingtonPost: The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping into the central servers of nine leading US Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.
Wowww…. this is kind of messed up </understatement>. This is huge. The 9 companies include Microsoft, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple, and Yahoo (ah oh).
Over a year ago, I posted a link to an intriguing yet unnerving, long-read Wired article which I retitled to The NSA and ‘Total Information Awareness’, an article that is relevant to recent revelations (say that 5 times fast) and this. So it’s not really all that surprising, but it’s still messed up.
I’m gonna have to rethink a bunch of things in light of all this recent NSA business…