One of the more extravagant claims made by tech companies is that they can detect emotions by analyzing photos of our faces with machine learning systems. The premise is sometimes dressed up in claims about "micro-expressions" that are below the threshold of human detection, though some vendors have made billions getting security agencies to let […]
Every now and again, a company will come up with a product "innovation" that seems to deprive people of their free will, driving great masses of internet users to look for Pokemon, or tend virtual farms, or buy now with one-click, or flock to Upworthy-style "You won't believe what happened next" stories, or be stampeded […]
AT&T has come a long way from the supernormative, feel-good messages of its You Will ads; now CEO Randall Stephenson predicts a future where his company will dynamically alter your TV ads based on what it thinks you will buy; and chase you with that ad from your TV to your computer to your phone, […]
We have an Eero system in our house; it does really good and reliable wifi distribution, including to my office in the garage. And it was nice to have a piece of home electronics that was neither from one of the great data-sucking companies like Google, nor from the control-freak companies like Apple — and […]
Whether you love them or hate them, rideshares like Uber and Lyft have become a daily part of life for millions of New Yorkers. These app-based services make it easy to pay for your ride, but while the privacy cost isn't always as clear, it's about to get a lot larger. These apps have tracked […]
Amazon is building out its ad-targeting program to allow for ad-buys like "people near a physiotherapist's office who've bought a knee-brace," and reports that the ads are incredibly successful.
American prisoners are being forced — on pain of losing access to the prison phone system — to provide training data for a voice-print recognition algorithm that private contractors are building for biometric surveillance system that listens in on prisoners' calls.
The "Facebook Research" VPN is an app that circumvents Apple's ban on certain kinds of surveillance by cloaking itself as a beta app and distributing through the Applause, Betabound and Utest services, rather than Apple's App Store: users get up to $20/month, plus referral fees, to run the app, which comes with a man-in-the-middle certificate […]
Facebook provides a suite of turnkey app-building tools for Android that are widely used among the most popular Google Play apps, with billions of combined installs; naturally, these tools create incredibly data-hungry defaults in the apps that incorporate them, so that even before you do anything with an app, it has already snaffled up a […]
Ever since academic Shoshana Zuboff coined the term "Surveillance Capitalism" in 2015, it's become a touchstone for the debate over commercial surveillance (we've cited it hundreds of times). This week, Zuboff published her (very thick) book on the subject, to excellent early notices; I haven't read it yet, but it's next on my list.
Sources "familiar with Ring's practices" have told The Intercept that the company — a division of Amazon that makes streaming cameras designed to be mounted inside and outside your home — stores the video feeds from its customers' homes in unencrypted format and allows staff around the world to have essentially unfettered access to these […]
Bell Canada is the giant, diversified former national monopoly carrier that has been allowed to buy magazines, TV channels, and other users of its infrastructure, violating the cardinal separation of telcoms between services and carriers.
Samsung's sleazy deals with Facebook mean that owners of Samsung phones are not able to uninstall the Facebook apps that come pre-installed with their devices.
Yesterday, we learned that Facebook granted extraordinary user-data access to a handful of blue-chip companies, including Amazon.
The fight against surveillance capitalism and mass state surveillance has reached a tipping point, the peak-indifference moment, when new privacy advocates are self-radicalizing as they witness firsthand the undeniable risks of overcollection, over-retention, and secret manipulation of personal data.
Topping the Electronic Frontier Foundation's don't-buy for Christmas list: Facebook's Portal in-home spycams, followed closely by Alexa/Google Home and other "home hubs"; Verizon's "AppFlash" spyware-equipped phones; and even the Elf on the Shelf gets a look in (normalizes surveillance!).
A friend who works in ad-tech tells me that Verizon's datasets from its Yahoo/AOL assets are "the creepiest" in the industry, but even with every dirty trick and every stupid, harebrained scheme, the companies formerly known as Oath (because everything Verizon did made their users swear uncontrollably) are basically worthless.